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Major U.S. Banks Criticized by Workers’ Group for Virus Response

Bloomberg News:

There are “major shortcomings” in how some big U.S. banks are providing financial relief for customers and instituting safety measures for front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a coalition of labor unions, employees and advocacy groups.

Lenders should do more to protect the physical health and economic stability of both clients and workers, the Committee for Better Banks said in a statement Wednesday. The group graded 12 banks on their Main Street lending policies, employee and consumer protections, and charitable contributions amid the pandemic, giving all but three of them grades of “D” or “F.”

The group included metrics that involve both employees and consumers because how banks treat their workers has a direct impact on the customer experience, said Nick Weiner, lead organizer at the committee.

“We wanted to set a high bar of what banks can and ought to do” in loan forbearance, worker protections and small-business lending, he said in an interview.

The committee also published a list of demands for U.S. banks, including the formation of a crisis committee and the addition of hazard pay for front-line employees.

Four banks, including Wells Fargo & Co. and U.S. Bancorp, received an “F” grade, and five, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp., got a “D.” Only one firm, Fifth Third Bancorp, was given a “B,” and none scored an “A.”