Citigroup Inc’s Jane Fraser was forced to answer if her bank would pull business from China if its military invaded Taiwan. Jamie Dimon was pressed on whether JPMorgan Chase & Co would cut ties with Russian firms.
Lawmakers seized on recent political tensions and hot-button social issues in a hearing with the CEOs of the US’ largest retail banks on Wednesday.
Representatives on the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee probed them on everything from the escalation of the Ukraine conflict and racial equity to fossil-fuel financing and their role in slavery.
“Of course there are concerns, there are disagreements, but that’s how democracy works,” US Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the committee, said during the six-and-a-half-hour hearing. “We have a lot of work that we must continue as we interact with each other to do the people’s business.”
The breadth of questions served as a reminder of the expansive reach of megabanks, as Waters called them.
They also came as the US economy faces a precarious position, with inflation running at decade-highs, raising the specter of recession. The CEOs were forced to discuss their firms’ approach to helping consumers deal with soaring prices and rising US recession risks.
Dimon, CEO of the biggest US bank, said consumers are in great shape now, but acknowledged there is a chance of a mild recession, which geopolitical events could exacerbate.
Brian Moynihan, Bank of America Corp’s CEO, said consumers have more money in their accounts than ever, but acknowledged that inflation and unemployment are working against them.
The CEOs’ comments came shortly before the Fed raised interest rates by 75 basis points for the third consecutive time on Wednesday afternoon, and forecast they would reach 4.6 percent next year.
The executives faced tough questions about their ambitions in China, with lawmakers asking about reports of human rights abuses there and concerns over its approach to Taiwan.
US Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer asked bank executives if an invasion of the nation would prompt them to withdraw business from China.
Citigroup’s Fraser answered in line with other banks, that she would seek US government guidance before making a move.
However, Luetkemeyer wanted to know what she would do if the government said Citigroup could respond how it wanted.
“It’s a hypothetical question, but it’s highly likely that we would have a materially reduced presence if any at all in the country,” Fraser said.
US Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat, asked for “yes or no” answers when he pressed banks on their ties with Russian companies. Dimon’s answer — he said the bank is following instructions from the US government — drew a rebuke from the lawmaker.
In another exchange, the CEOs were asked by US Representative Al Green, another Democrat, to raise their hands if a person of color would head their respective banks within a decade. Only one hand went up — Truist Financial Corp chief executive officer Bill Rogers Jr.
The CEOs also danced around related questions about lending decisions to industries like energy producers and gun makers.
NXP Semiconductors NV expects its first automotive-grade 5-nanometer chip built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to become available for automakers within one-and-a-half years at the earliest, following demand for better computing performance and energy efficiency for connected vehicles, a company executive said yesterday. That would mean a significant upgrade from the 16-nanometer technology NXP adopted in its existing series of microprocessors. NXP chief technology executive Lars Reger made the remarks during a media briefing yesterday in Taipei. The latest updates came after NXP unveiled its plan to source 5-nanometer capacity from TSMC in 2021. This is Reger’s first trip to
EVADING US CONTROLS? ‘These surveillance chips are relatively easy to manufacture compared to smartphone processors,’ a source said about HiSilicon’s components A Huawei Technologies Co (華為) unit is shipping new Chinese-made chips for surveillance cameras in a fresh sign that the Chinese tech giant is finding ways around four years of US export controls, two sources briefed on the unit’s efforts said. The shipments to surveillance camera manufacturers from the company’s chip design unit, HiSilicon Technologies Co (海思半導體), started this year, said one of the sources and a third source familiar with the industry supply chain. One of the sources briefed on the unit said that at least some of the customers were Chinese. Huawei unveiled new smartphones in the past few weeks that
CENTRAL BANK: The consumer price index would grow while core CPI is set to move forward at a milder rate, the governor said, adding that the GDP forecast is down The central bank yesterday kept its policy rate unchanged for the second straight quarter, saying that a rate pause would help support the economy, as consumer prices have moderated and would return to the 2 percent target next year. “The board gave unanimous support to a policy hold, although some members voiced concern over lingering inflationary pressures and called for close monitoring,” central bank Governor Yang Chin-long (楊金龍) told a media briefing after its quarterly board meeting. The consumer price index (CPI) would grow 1.83 percent next year, while core CPI after stripping out volatile items would advance a milder 1.73 percent,
SLUMP: The electronics, machinery and traditional industries posted the largest decline in the past year; overall, sectors showed gains over the previous month Taiwan’s industrial production index decreased 10.53 percent year-on-year to 91.38 last month, falling for a 15th consecutive month on an annual basis, as weak global economic growth continued to weigh on end-market demand and investment momentum, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Saturday. The industrial production index gauges output in Taiwan’s four main industries: manufacturing, electricity and gas supply, water supply, and mining and quarrying. Last month’s decline was the smallest contraction since March when the index dropped 16.03 percent from a year earlier. On a monthly basis, the index rose 7.28 percent, marking a second straight month of improvement,