Bank CEO Says Trump Should Focus on Virus Fight

Brian Moynihan doesn't want to bring workers back until conditions are stable
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2020 4:00 PM CDT
Bank of America CEO: Don't Reopen US Too Early
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America Rebeca Romero Rainey listen as President Trump speaks during a meeting with banking industry executives about the coronavirus, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

As a CEO on President Trump's new advisory committee on reopening the economy, Bank of America chief Brian Moynihan might have been expected to push for looser restrictions as soon as possible. Instead, on a call with investors Wednesday, Moynihan urged caution, advising the administration to focus on fighting the virus first, Politico reports. Moynihan said the biggest priorities should be protecting the medical workers "fighting the war" and helping those who have lost their jobs. "We're trying to give them the advice, the more you can keep people stabilized in their ability to meet their obligations and keep their family fed and housed and things like that, that is what you should be focused on until you can reopen the economy," he said.

Moynihan said more than 150,000 Bank of America employees are now working from home and "serving customers at volumes that are pretty remarkable." He said the bank will bring people back when it is allowed to, "but we'll also bring people back on a view that we don't want to change course of action until we know it's going to be stable," the CEO said. He said the bank's first-quarter profit was down 45% after it put $3.6 billion in loan-loss reserves, per CNBC, but added that its ability to post a $4 billion profit was testimony to "the strength of our balance sheet, the diversity of our earnings, and the resilience of our teammates to serve clients around the world." (More Brian Moynihan stories.)

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