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Citi’s Corbat says ‘this is not a financial crisis’ in Trump meeting

Michael Corbat, CEO, Citigroup, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020.

Adam Galica | CNBC

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said Wednesday that the current turmoil caused by the coronavirus isn’t stemming from the financial system. 

“This is not a financial crisis,” Corbat said during a White House meeting. “The banks and the financial system are in strong shape and we are here to help.”

Leaders of the biggest U.S. banks were summoned to Washington by President Donald Trump to discuss ways to support small businesses and markets. Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, Charles Scharf of Wells Fargo, David Solomon of Goldman Sachs and Stephen Schwarzman of alternative investments giant Blackstone were among the CEOs present at the meeting. 

The executives were quick to point out that, unlike during the last recession more than a decade ago, the banking industry is well capitalized and has undergone several years worth of Federal Reserve-mandated stress tests. The 2008 financial crisis was caused in part by excessive bank leverage and irresponsible mortgage lending.

Gordon Smith, co-president of JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. bank, attended in place of CEO Jamie Dimon, who is recovering from heart surgery. Smith said Wednesday that Dimon was “doing well” and added that JPMorgan customers were still shopping and spending money at restaurants. 

Moynihan added that the industry intended to help small businesses and consumers weather the impacts of the coronavirus. 

Trump added that he “will be making a statement tonight” at around 8 p.m. about actions to support Americans as the impact of the virus spreads.

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