Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, made it clear that his bank will not stop financing fossil fuel production.
“Absolutely not, and that would be the road to hell for America,” Dimon said Wednesday in a clash with Michigan Democrat and Squad member Rashida Tlaib.
Tlaib asked bank executives to answer “yes” or “no” to whether or not they have a policy “against the financing of new oil and gas products” — to fulfill their collective pledge to work towards net-zero emissions by 2050 .
In response to Dimon’s resounding no, Tlaib advised citizens to remove their accounts with the banking giant.
“Sir, you know what, everyone who has been relieved of student loans [that] has a bank with your bank, should probably take their account out and close their account,” she said, citing President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt.
“The fact that you’re not even there to help relieve a lot of the people who are in debt, extreme debt because of student debt, and you’re out there criticizing it.”
The congresswoman then returned to her original questioning, saying Dimon “obviously doesn’t care about working-class people in frontline communities like ours who face high rates of asthma and respiratory problems and so much more.”
Dimon later added that the US had the greenhouse gas emissions narrative all wrong. He insisted the nation needs to invest more in industry to reduce emissions over the long term and achieve economic success.
“We’re not doing this right,” Dimon said. “The investment in the oil and gas company is good for CO2 reduction.
Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, has said halting new oil and gas sales is the “road to hell for America”.
Dimon’s response comes after Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib asked the CEOs of the nations largest banks if they have policies against financing new oil and gas products
Bank executives gathered before Congress on Wednesday and gave a somber view of the US economy. Dimon (third from left) said JP Morgan Chase would “absolutely not” divest from fossil fuels, while others gave measured responses about how they would help customers transition to renewable energy sectors
Tlaib quickly moved on to the other executives to get their investment responses.
“We will continue to invest in and support customers who are investing in fossil fuels and helping them make the transition to cleaner energy,” said Jane Fraser, Citigroup CEO.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan agreed with Fraser, saying they help customers go down a greener path.
“We’re helping our clients make the transition, and that means lending to both oil and gas companies and new energy companies, and helping to oversee their course toward the standards you’ve raised,” Moynihan said.
Dimon added that officials need to be more clear on defining environmental, social and governance, and their assessments. ESG is measured by how much a company invests in these three categories.
The CEOs of the country’s largest banks gathered before Congress on Wednesday and painted a bleak picture of the US economy, reflecting the financial and economic hardship many Americans are facing.
Some executives didn’t say “yes” or “no” but simply suggested that they would continue to invest in fossil fuels while helping customers achieve a “greener” approach
Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, said, “We will continue to invest in and support customers who are investing in fossil fuels and help them make the transition to cleaner energy.”
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan (right) agreed with Fraser’s approach
Dimon, Faser and other bank executives also warned that US consumers are in good shape but at risk of high inflation and rising interest rates.
The hearing came on the same day that the Federal Reserve announced it would raise its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a point to curb inflation.
When asked by lawmakers, bank CEOs have expressed increasing skepticism that the Fed can achieve its goal of a “soft landing” of bringing inflation back down without causing widespread damage to the economy.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” Dimon said.
Fraser said in remarks prepared for the hearing that “while COVID is behind us, the economic challenges we now face are no less daunting”.
Despite the bleak outlook, CEOs generally said US consumers are currently in good financial shape thanks to the savings they’ve accumulated during the pandemic.
Brian Moynihan said the amount of money in customers’ accounts has remained stable. Dimon said wages have risen while debt burdens have come down and Fraser said consumers are spending at elevated levels.
The CEOs will appear again before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday.