[WATCH] Elizabeth Warren Blisters Bank CEO For Charging Overdraft Fees During Pandemic

As millions of Americans struggled financially throughout 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. financial regulators urged banks to give the little guy a break and not charge account overdraft fees. Thankfully, some did. J.P. Morgan Chase was not one of them.

On Tuesday Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pointedly asked its chief executive officer, Jamie Dimon, why the behemoth financial institution couldn’t cut customers a break and not charge the overdraft fees. Dimon had claimed in his opening remarks during the Senate Banking Committee hearing that J.P. Morgan had helped customers last year during the pandemic. Warren called that assertion “a bunch of baloney.”

“No matter how you try to spin it,” Warren declared, “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’re in the middle of a worldwide crisis.”

Back in December, CNBC reported that, for the year of 2020, banks would rake in $30 billion total in overdraft fees.

During the Tuesday hearing, Warren took specific aim at how much money J.P. Morgan collected in these fees. She asked Dimon to provide her with an exact figure. “Do you know the number?” she asked.

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“I don’t have the number in front of me…,” Dimon responded as Warren cut him off.

“Well I actually have the number in front me,” Warren said. “It’s $1.463 billion. Now do you know how much J.P. Morgan would have been in 2020 if you had followed the recommendation of the regulators and waived overdraft fees to help struggling consumers?”

Dimon claimed that the bank waived fees if customers said they were under Covid-related financial stress, neglecting the fact that the bank still made money on collecting them.

“I appreciate that you want to duck this question,” Warren jabbed, then asking him how much the bank’s profits would have been if it waived the fees. “The answer is your profits would have been $27.6 billion,” she answered.

“So here’s the thing. You and your colleagues come in today to talk about how you stepped up and took care of customers during the pandemic,” Warren said. “And it’s a bunch of baloney. In fact, it’s about $4 billion worth of baloney, but you could fix that right now.”

You can watch the entire exchange below, courtesy of Bloomberg TV.

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