BofA CEO Says War on Virus Means Help for Customers, Industries

Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan pledged to help employees and customers affected by the coronavirus. He also endorsed relief for strategic industries, such as airlines, that are being hurt by the outbreak.

“We’re in a war to contain this virus,” Moynihan said in an interview on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company is focused on maintaining its retail and wholesale operations while taking precautions to implement social distance among its employees, he said.

Individuals affected by the virus may be able to negotiate deferred payments with the bank, similar to arrangements made during natural disasters, he said. The lender will also work with businesses that also have cash flow issues.

“Call us, and we’ll make it right,” Moynihan said.

Here are other takeaways from the interview:

  • Airline bailouts: “In a time of war against this virus, if industries are affected in a way that are strategic industries, we ought to help them.”
  • Federal Reserve: Moynihan said the Federal Reserve should provide continuous liquidity to markets because that’s what tends to dry up in crises. It’s done “major things” in Treasury markets but, it could also look to other markets such as money funds and commercial paper. “There’s a lot of things that are on the table.”
  • Economic outlook: The impact of the virus on the U.S. economy is still to come. “You’ll have growth in the first quarter then it’ll go down, maybe flat,” Moynihan said. But if the health care crisis is tackled using social distancing and separation like it was China and more broadly in Asia, it’s possible that many employees can go back to work, he said.

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