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Pandemic Response: Perspectives from the Banking Industry

Thu, 1/28/2021 - 11:00AM EST - Thu, 1/28/2021 - 12:15PM EST

The first in a series of virtual panels with banking and financial services experts, this panel included speakers from lenders and financial institutions that administer programs established or expanded through pandemic relief legislation. Panelists represented a variety of views ranging from community banks, minority depository institutions, and large financial institutions.

The PRAC’s Financial Sector Oversight workgroup has organized a series of virtual panels with banking and financial services experts. The goal is to gather input and insights on the operation, efficiency, and effectiveness of CARES Act programs and the pandemic response efforts of the federal government and the Federal Reserve. Workgroup members also want to hear suggestions and ideas for areas that would benefit from enhanced oversight. Members of the PRAC’s Financial Sector Oversight Workgroup are inspectors general (IGs) responsible for the oversight of banking, lending, and housing programs. 

Financial programs of the CARES Act include:

  • $350 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) loan guaranties, subsidies, and loan programs for small businesses
  • Up to $500 billion authorized for loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to support eligible businesses, states, and municipalities, including emergency relief for qualifying medium-size businesses (500 – 10,000 employees)

Watch our other forums and get perspectives on how pandemic relief programs impacted lenders and borrowers through our Events page.

Items covered in the discussion: 

  • Recommendations to improve federal pandemic relief programs
  • Experiences with the Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Impact Payments
  • How the pandemic has further revealed disparities in financial sector participation among minority and immigrant communities
  • Effectiveness of federal regulatory efforts
  • Evolving needs of financial sector clients during the pandemic
  • Fraud, waste, and abuse in pandemic response programs

Event Overview and Summary

Moderators Mark Bialek, Inspector General for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Jay Lerner, Inspector General for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, provided opening remarks. Mark Bialek and Jay Lerner provided closing remarks.

“The pandemic is hitting communities differently, and one of the keys to economic recovery is going to be community trust in both government and financial institutions.”

– Naomi Camper


“There’s a lot of mistrust in minority communities of the banking system. Some of that mistrust in the Black community lingers from the rollout of the Freedman’s Bank after Reconstruction and what essentially was a federally sponsored defrauding of people who were recently out of slavery and losing their savings. A lot of that [mistrust] still runs through black communities…We think that Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) have an important role to play in communicating with those communities about the safety and soundness of the banking system.”

– Robert James II


“The banks would see unemployment benefits coming into the same account from say, five different states. That’s fraud- you don’t have to wonder what’s going on.”

– Karen Thomas

Remote video URL

Get perspectives on pandemic relief legislation directly from lenders and financial institutions.


  • Naomi Gendler Camper, Chief Policy Officer, American Bankers Association
  • Paul Benda, Senior Vice President for Risk Management Policy, American Bankers Association
  • Karen M. Thomas, Senior Executive Vice President, Government Relations and Public Policy, Independent Community Bankers of America  
  • Ron Haynie, Senior Vice President of Mortgage Finance Policy, Independent Community Bankers of America  
  • Robert James II, Chairman, National Bankers Association