WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) – ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs – took to the Senate Floor today to call on banks to suspend stock buybacks that pad the pockets of Wall Street CEOs and instead invest in American families, communities and small businesses in light of economic concerns due to Coronavirus.
Brown pointed to efforts by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans to roll back financial protections – efforts that make our economy more vulnerable -- and called on banks to use their capital to lend to communities and families and help the economy weather this downturn instead of spending billions on stock buybacks.
Brown’s Floor remarks on stock buybacks, as prepared for delivery, are below.
We also need to make sure we don’t end up with a financial crisis on top of a public health crisis.
For some of us this feels like déjà vu – we have been in moments like this before, where we’ve seen the markets drop, we’re worried about our financial system.
Right now, we have a chance to stop this from spiraling out of control.
We don’t have another 2008 on our hands – yet.
But we have to act now, to make sure we can focus all our efforts on preventing this virus from spreading, and don’t have one crisis stacked on top of another.
We know that job is harder because of all the ways President Trump and Leader McConnell have undone many protections we put in place after the last crisis.
They have hacked away at the Wall Street reform safeguards we established. The president had a chance to get ahead of the virus, and he failed. He had a chance to get ahead of the financial risks, and he failed.
But luckily, he and Leader McConnell haven’t succeeded in getting rid of all of our Wall Street reform protections. They haven’t succeeded in repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Because of that – because of the work we did in 2009 and 2010, with President Obama – we’re in a better position now than we were in 2008.
Now, we need to all come together and rise to this challenge. Corporate America included.
One way we can do that is to suspend bank stock buybacks.
Banks need to be investing in their communities right now, not investing in their CEOs’ stock portfolios.
Right now, JP Morgan is in the middle of an ongoing $30 billion in stock buybacks.
Wells Fargo is in the midst of a $23 billion buyback plan.
That money would be better spent investing in small businesses and medical research and relief for people who need help.
The reason big banks are supposed to have that money is so they can keep lending and keep communities afloat when we have crises like this one.
It’s time for us to all come together – in the Senate, in the White House, in communities across the country, and yes, on Wall Street, to meet this moment.