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Warren Probes Biggest Banks on Coronavirus Exposure

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Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is probing the nation’s top banks — including Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase — on how they’re mitigating economic risks due to the coronavirus.

In a letter sent Friday to the CEOs of Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, Warren asked how the U.S.-based banks with the largest foreign exposures “are monitoring and preparing to mitigate the economic risks of the outbreak of the coronavirus.”

As globally systemic important banks, “your institution and the customers it serves could be impacted either directly through exposures to areas where the virus has spread or indirectly through a change in market conditions caused by disruptions in supply chains, a drop in tourism or travel, or numerous other factors that could cause a slowdown in economic growth,” wrote Warren, D-Mass., who’s a member of the Senate Banking Committee.

She asked the bank CEOs to answer by March 13 a slew of questions on how the banks are evaluating and preparing for the risks to their institutions and customers associated with coronavirus.

Warren also probed the bank CEOs on the extent to which they are exposed to the outbreak, and how they are monitoring ongoing developments related to the outbreak.

“In an interconnected global economy, coronavirus could have an impact on a giant international bank’s operations either directly if their customers are located in a region hard-hit by the virus, indirectly if the their customers’ supply chains are interrupted, or through other risks associated with the coronavirus outbreak — stock market declines, interest rate changes, increases in sovereign credit risk, and even the potential for civil unrest in countries hard-hit by the threat,” Warren said.

On Thursday, Warren introduced legislation requiring all funds that have been appropriated to build a border wall — including funds directly appropriated by Congress and funds diverted by the executive branch from other accounts — to be immediately transferred to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for the purpose of combating the novel coronavirus.

Warren also joined Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., and 24 other senators in pressing the Trump administration to request emergency funding for the coronavirus response. Their letter to Health and Human Services and the Office of Management and Budget also expressed their concerns about the administration’s failure to outline what additional resources it needs to respond to the rapidly developing coronavirus outbreak.

— Check out 3 Ways Coronavirus Could Derail Trump’s Reelection: Andy Friedman on ThinkAdvisor.


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