A Bank of America official helped organize a March meeting of top U.S. bank executives seeking to counteract anti-Wall Street rhetoric that is already part of the 2016 campaign trail, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Senior executives from seven of the biggest U.S. banks gathered or dialed into the March 31 meeting on the 51st floor of the Bank of America Tower in New York, the Journal reported Monday.
The purpose of the meeting was to “discuss the upcoming election cycle and how the firms can counteract what they view as false and damaging statements about large banks,” the paper reported, citing emails and people familiar with the meeting.
John Rogers, an executive vice president at Goldman Sachs Group, and James Mahoney, Bank of America’s head of corporate communications and public policy, organized the meeting, according to the Journal story.
The move “underscores the degree to which Wall Street remains a political punching bag and a source of anger among lawmakers and the public nearly seven years after the financial crisis,” the Journal reported.
“Already, several presidential candidates have lobbed criticism at Wall Street and directly attacked big banks and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass) continues to exert pressure, warning about big banks’ efforts to roll back financial regulations.”
According to the story, participants included officials from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and State Street Corp. A Wells Fargo official who was invited was on vacation.
A Bank of America spokesman declined to comment when I reached out to him about the story.
Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, offered a defense of the banking industry during the lender’s annual shareholders meeting in Charlotte last week.
“There are always discussions that go on about the industry,” Moynihan told shareholders gathered at the Charlotte Marriott SouthPark. “Are we more risky than we were before the crisis? Have we gotten bigger? Are we trying to repeal the legislation that changed the terms under which we operate?”
“Believe me, this isn’t the case.”