A video of Thursday’s Senate Banking Committee hearing has gone viral after a witness applauded Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) for her rebuke of R. Daniel Blanton, who was testifying on behalf of the American Bankers Association.
Applauding during a Senate Banking Committee meeting is a huge departure from custom, especially when the applause comes from a banker, as it did on Thursday.
The applauder cannot be seen in the video, only heard, but the Huffington Post reports it was John H. Buhrmaster, president and CEO of the 1st National Bank of Scotia and Chairman of the Independent Community Bankers of America—a lobbying group for community banks. The applause takes place near the end of the video (below).
Prior to the applause, Warren was commenting on Blanton's testimony over regulations the ABA has proposed that they claim will benefit community banks, reports Blue Nation Review. The proposed regulations, or essentially deregulations as they would overturn part of the Dodd-Frank rules, would actually not apply to mortgages held by community banks because they are already exempt under the current rules.
Warren pointed out those who will actually benefit would be the big banks like Wells Fargo and Citibank, and that the Dodd-Frank rules have helped community banks become more profitable since they were enacted.
Warren called the ABA out for using this common tactic: claiming that the lobbying group is not trying to help huge global banks, but rather is only looking out for the smaller banks' best interests.
“We should be very skeptical of regulatory relief bills that are promoted as helping small banks but are pushed by ABA lobbyists for the big banks," Warren said, referring to Blanton.
Warren suggested that instead of passing bills for big banks, lawmakers may want to take away their subsidies and consider prosecuting them instead.
"If we really want to help the community banks ... let's start by holding big bank executives accountable for committing fraud like we do with small bank executives," Warren said.
It was the above comment that drew the applause from Buhrmaster.