Bank of America’s CEO said Thursday (Sept. 24) credit card delinquencies are "lower now than they were last year" as more people come off deferrals and consumers are starting to spend more.
However, while the broad-based economy has rebounded with 92 percent of Americans employed, he is concerned about the rest who are not.
“The unemployment rate is still over 8 percent and that’s not healthy for the American economy,” Brian Moynihan told CNBC on Thursday. “If this thing goes on longer, the question is: Will it become more permanent? Economists are concerned that the longer it goes on, your confidence breaks. The sharp snapback has to be prolonged.”
He called on Congress and the White House to provide a new stimulus package, noting the debate should come down to how fast lawmakers want the recovery to take place.
“People are suffering and we need to help them so we believe at BoA that another round of stimulus would be appropriate but much more narrowly defined as in the past,” Moynihan told the network. “It has to be aimed at the people who are still unemployed.”
He also said the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the forgivable loan program for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) should be infused with cash to assist restaurants and performance venues.
“I am here at One Bryant Park [in New York City] and the restaurants downstairs are not back in condition,” he said. “As you head into winter, they can’t have outside dining. If you want to help restaurants to be ready to open when employees come back to this building and around us, you need to think about another round of PPP.”
Moynihan was asked about Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway sale of Wells Fargo shares while buying additional stock in Bank of America.
In July, Buffett upped his stake in Bank of America by more than $800 million with the purchase of 34 million shares, a 4 percent increase of its holding. Berkshire now has about $24.1 billion invested, which equals an 11.3 percent stake.
“Mr. Buffett has been a great supporter of ours and he continues to put his money where his mouth is,” Moynihan said. “This is the best banking franchise in the world ... and he continues to invest heavily in it and we welcome that ... Our stock is a great buy and I’m glad Mr. Buffet recognizes that and has been supporting and continuing at his position.”