What Is the Financial Services Forum?
The Financial Services Forum is an economic policy organization that brings together the chief executive officers (CEOs) of the eight largest and most diversified U.S. banks. The nonpartisan group of business leaders advocates for policies that promote a stable and productive financial system. The forum engages with issues related to saving and investing, market liquidity, global competitivity, and financial inclusion.
- The Financial Services Forum is an organization representing the CEOs of the eight largest U.S. banks.
- The Financial Services Forum advocates on issues that are central to the success of the banking industry, including regulations, sustainability, and inclusion.
- The forum aims to leverage banks’ influence to expand economic opportunities for U.S. households and businesses.
The members of the Financial Services Forum are the top executives of Bank of America (BAC), BNY Mellon (BK), Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), State Street (STT), and Wells Fargo (WFC). These companies play a key role in the U.S. economy, providing nearly half of all consumer loans and underwriting almost three-quarters of debt and equity transactions, according to the forum’s website.
In fact, the banks represented by the Financial Services Forum are so economically significant that they are the same eight financial institutions considered “too big to fail” under the Federal Reserve’s Large Institution Supervision Coordinating Committee Program. The CEOs at the helm of such consequential companies have powerful voices, and the forum says it seeks to use their influence to foster economic growth that benefits households and businesses across the United States.
Financial Services Forum Mission
The Financial Services Forum advocates for policies that enhance the strength, inclusivity, and sustainability of the U.S. economy. The organization concentrates on the following issues that are essential to the resilience of the country’s biggest banks, as well as the health of the overall financial system.
Capital and Financial Stability
The largest banks in the U.S. operate under set regulations designed by the regulators. For instance, the institutions represented by the Financial Services Forum must meet certain required standards for capital reserves and liquidity, and they are subject to stress tests to ensure that they are capable of withstanding potential downturns and financial shocks.
The Financial Services Forum supports regulations that help large banks remain stable while driving economic progress, but it argues against U.S. banks being subjected to more stringent requirements than foreign competitors.
The forum endorses collaboration between the financial services industry and governments to address the significant risks that climate change poses to the global economy. The organization stresses that climate action requires a joint effort and that climate-related financial regulations should be based on legitimate scientific methodologies and accurate risk assessments.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The members of the Financial Services Forum support the position that fostering diversity can help build a more sustainable and inclusive economy, benefit communities, and bring together the different perspectives required to solve complex problems. The organization backs proposed requirements for public companies to disclose the gender, race, ethnicity, and veteran status of board members, nominees, and senior executives.
The forum says it aims to support policies that bring economic benefits to businesses and households across the U.S. For example, it advocated for an extension of the Paycheck Protection Plan to bolster small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. It also has promoted policies to enhance market liquidity while protecting consumers and ensuring that large banks have the resources to drive the economy, even during difficult periods.
Financial Services Forum Accomplishments
The financial institutions represented by the members of the forum are essential in the U.S. economy, as the largest U.S. banks and their more than 720,000 employees across the country are key players when it comes to investing in people and communities, creating jobs, and supporting businesses.
Members of the Financial Services Forum hold $4.55 trillion in loans, which comes to 38% of the total that banks lend to businesses and households, including nearly half of all consumer loans, according to the forum’s report.
The banks that make up the forum also underwrite nearly three-quarters of debt and equity transactions, such as initial public offerings (IPOs), making it possible for companies to raise the capital they need.
The Financial Services Forum works to ensure that financial markets are conducive to government and private-company financing of spending and investment. The organization highlights the following ways in which it has had an impact.
The members of the Financial Services Forum met the unprecedented economic challenges of the pandemic by supporting communities, small businesses, and individuals. The large banks assisted organizations working to address the pandemic’s impact on healthcare, education, and food security.
Forum members provided loans to nearly 1.25 million small businesses through the government Paycheck Protection Program, according to the organization’s website. The banks also helped individual customers by waiving certain fees and allowing them to defer payments without affecting their credit scores. During the pandemic, U.S. homeowners benefited from up to 18 months of forbearance periods on their mortgages.
Support to Underserved Communities
The forum provides resources to communities that have historically been underserved by the financial services industry and is taking actions to reduce the racial wealth gap. This includes charitable giving, volunteering, and partnering with local organizations, as well as supporting programs to revitalize neighborhoods and expand economic opportunities. In 2021, for example, members of the forum helped create or preserve 150,000 affordable housing units, its website says.
Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The banks that are members of the forum have a goal of boosting diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizations. The companies have established diversity and inclusion leadership roles, employee resource groups, and commitments to diversifying their workforces, according to the forum’s website.
Managing Climate Change
The Financial Services Forum states that it is dedicated to assessing and mitigating the economic risks of climate change. The member banks are focused on carbon neutrality in their own operations and on participating in the transition of the overall economy toward more renewable energy sources.
The forum says it encourages the incorporation of sustainability priorities into corporate governance and supports environmentally conscious investments, with member banks accounting for commitments of more than $1.5 trillion toward sustainable financing.
The Financial Services Forum Summit
The first Financial Services Summit took place on July 18, 2022, in Washington, D.C., bringing together financial industry leaders, policy experts, and government officials. The event included panels on pressing economic issues, banking regulations, climate change, and digital innovations.
Some of the highlights of this first summit included panels on the takeaways from the pandemic regarding large banks and their relationship to the economy, the potential changes to financial regulations and the impact of Federal Reserve policy in a shifting economic landscape, policy responses to climate-related risks, and the financial system’s adaptation to digital assets and technologies.
What Type of Activities Comprise Financial Services?
Companies in the financial services sector engage in a wide range of activities related to money, including banking, mortgages, credit cards, accounting, and investing. In addition to banks, all sorts of companies offer financial services to individual and corporate clients. Brokerage firms providing investment accounts, insurance companies selling life and auto policies, and payment providers processing transactions are just a few examples of financial services activities.
Who Is the CEO of the Financial Services Forum?
Kevin Fromer is the president and CEO of the Financial Services Forum. He previously served as executive vice president and head of public affairs for HSBC North America Holdings. Fromer also worked for more than 20 years in the U.S. federal government, including as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Legislative Affairs from 2005 to 2009.
When and Where Is the 2023 Financial Services Forum Summit?
The Financial Services Forum, which represents the CEOs of the eight largest U.S. banks, hosted its inaugural Financial Services Forum Summit on July 18, 2022, discussing key issues facing the economy and the banking sector. There is no information listed on the Financial Services Forum’s website about a 2023 edition of the summit as of early May 2023.
The Bottom Line
The Financial Services Forum is a group representing the CEOs of the eight largest U.S. banks. The organization advocates for economic policies that are favorable to banks while contributing to a stable and productive financial system.