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March 10, 2020

President Trump and Wall Street CEOs Should Suspend All Capital Distributions and Financial Deregulation Until the Coronavirus Crisis is Over

March 10, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Dennis M. Kelleher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Markets, issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s meeting tomorrow with the CEOs of Wall Street’s biggest banks and their lobbyists trade groups:

“In light of the risks posed by the coronavirus crisis, President Trump and the Wall Street CEOs he is meeting with should announce that they are suspending all capital distributions via dividends, share buybacks or otherwise. Additionally, the financial regulators should announce that they are suspending all rulemaking that is deregulatory, including those pending that would lower capital and margin, allow more proprietary trading, weaken stress tests, make living wills less robust, and move derivatives back into the shadows.

“The coronavirus pandemic is a demand-shock of unknown size, scope and impact, which could easily and quickly spillover from gut-wrenching stock market volatility to a crippling recession, a financial crisis and social chaos. Given what has happened in China, Italy and elsewhere, a realistic worse case could be untold Americans quarantined, tens of millions out of work, and an economy grinding to a halt. This risk arises at exactly the wrong time with corporate and household debt at historic levels, most Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, and at the tail end of the country’s longest economic boom.

“Compounding those risks, the banking and financial systems are vulnerable and unprepared after three years of the Trump administration capitulating to Wall Street’s wish list of deregulations. Rather than trying to exploit the crisis and use it as a pretext for yet more deregulation, as was Wall Street’s first move, the country needs financial statesman to do the right thing and get prepared to manage a deep shock-induced recession with unexpectedly high loan, credit and related capital-depleting losses. That means taking concrete action now to preserve capital, liquidity and credibility.” 


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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