ABA’s Nichols Discusses COVID-19 Response, Economic Outlook in Podcast

American Bankers Association President and CEO Rob Nichols today said the banking sector is “well-positioned” to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic, thanks in part to industry-led, legislative and regulatory reforms that have taken place over the last decade.

“The banking sector is truly helping soften these massive body blows that are taking place right now in our economy. So, I’m not worried about another financial or banking crisis,” Nichols said in an episode of the Promontory Interfinancial Network’s Banking With Interest podcast. In a wide-ranging interview with Promontory’s Rob Blackwell, Nichols highlighted the extraordinary efforts banks made from the earliest days of the pandemic to serve their customers, including the critical role they played in administering government aid through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Turning to the economic outlook, he noted that banks are continuing to prepare for a highly uncertain future. “We have tens of millions of American who are out of jobs and that is a huge issue. What we don’t know is how long will that occur, are these jobs, are they going to return in a quarter or two or are these jobs gone permanently,” he said. “It’s really hard to predict what the next six, nine, twelve months will look like. Banks are certainly being cautious and monitoring everything they can.”

Nichols also discussed the challenges facing specific sectors of the economy, what policymakers can do to aid the nation’s economic recovery and the upcoming elections and their implications for the banking industry.