Elizabeth Warren didn’t become our 46th president, but maybe that’s okay: as a senator, she arguably has more time to feud with CEOs. On Wednesday, the chamber held a hearing in which they spoke to the CEOs of the nation’s biggest banks, among them the heads of Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, CitiBank, and more. But it was a testy tête-à-tête between Warren and JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon that got the most attention.
The purpose of the two-day hearing is to see how banks handled customers during the pandemic. Warren didn’t think they did a good job. She focused on overdraft fees, asking those present how many automatically granted overdraft protection to patrons during a public health crisis that saw an alarming spike in unemployment. Warren said she wasn’t surprised when nearly no one raised their hand.
Warren singled out Dimon for scorn, dubbing him “the star of the overdraft show,” pointing out that his bank collects “more than seven times as much money overdraft fees per account than your competitors.” She asked him, point blank, how much money they made in overdraft fees during the pandemic. Dimon claimed he didn’t have the number at hand.
But Warren did: JP Morgan Chase made $1.46 billion in overdraft fees alone. She then asked him if they “would have been in financial trouble” had they automatically waived those fees. He responded by claiming they “waived the fees for customers upon request if they were under stress because of COVID.”
Warren wasn’t having that. “I appreciate that you want to duck this question,” she shot back, then informed him that his profits would have “only” been $27.6 billion, adding, “I did the math for you.”
She then accused all of them of profiting off of customers during a once-in-a-century calamity. “You and your colleagues come in today to talk about how you stepped up and took care of customers during the pandemic, and it’s a bunch of baloney,” she said. “In fact, it’s about $4 billion worth of baloney.”
Warren then offered Dimon a chance to make things right, asking him, “Will you commit right now to refund $1.5 billion you took from consumers during the pandemic?” Dimon quickly said no. So she twisted the knife. “No matter how you try to spin it, this past year has shown that corporate profits are more important to your bank than offering just a little help to struggling families, even when we are in the middle of a worldwide crisis.”
Will Dimon and those like him suffer any pangs of guilt? Will they try to do the right thing, if not now then next time? Probably not! But for now, people enjoyed watching her publicly shame the powerful.
I would watch Elizabeth Warren pummel Jamie Dimon all day. pic.twitter.com/S1XPzMriZf
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) May 26, 2021
Once again, Sen. Elizabeth Warren absolutely killing it. pic.twitter.com/RCMQ528gKR
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) May 26, 2021
When you wake up and see Elizabeth Warren cooking Wall Street CEO Jamie Dimon.
Of course she trained Katie Porter on how to stir fry corrupt ass. 🔥
— Jason Overstreet (@JasonOverstreet) May 26, 2021
Watching Elizabeth Warren utterly OBLITERATE Jamie Dimon today by calling out the fact that Chase made billions in overdraft fees during a pandemic, is all the proof we need to know that she & Katie Porter must be best friends 🤗
— Jake Lobin (@JakeLobin) May 26, 2021
Elizabeth Warren vs Jamie Dimon. It’s like his hate is giving her more energy. pic.twitter.com/S8tjfGaTPV
— blackness everdeen 🐺🏞 (@traceyecorder) May 26, 2021
You can watch Warren take on Dimon in the video above.