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Ohio Senator Brown Grills American Bank Heads Over Their Practices

 Senator Sherrod Brown speaks at the virtual bank hearing.
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WYSO
Senator Sherrod Brown speaks at the virtual bank hearing.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and other legislators grilled the CEOs of five major American banks at a virtual meeting of the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.

Brown says the financial institutions support practices that exploit the public.

"The more you pay your employees, the worse you’re gonna do on Wall Street. The less power you give workers, the better you’ll do," said Brown, "This view that American workers are a cost to cut instead of a valuable asset to invest in is what’s wrong with this system.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren agreed with Brown. She called out the banks for continuing to charge overdraft fees during the pandemic. Warren says these fees disproportionately impact marginalized people.

“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,” said Warren.

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Kristin Stratman
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at bank hearing

However, Republican Senator Pat Toomey said at the committee meeting that he believes the banks shouldn’t risk shareholder profits to support social justice initiatives.

“I worry that continuing down this path could lead to distorted credit allocation, activists seeking to make political change through the financial system instead of through the democratic process, and ultimately diminished prosperity for Americans,” said Toomey.

A report released Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation shows banks made almost seventy seven billion dollars in profit in the first quarter of 2021. It was their most profitable quarter since the great recession.