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Where the 2020 Democrats stand on banking issues

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WASHINGTON — It is still too early in the Democratic presidential primaries to gauge how much attention the candidates will give to financial services issues. But critical comments toward Wall Street by some of the candidates in the first series of debates last month point to an unfriendly political environment for banks in the nominating process.

The debates highlighted the candidates’ general support for consumers over corporate interests in multiple industries.

“That was the message over and over,” Jaret Seiberg, a policy analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group, said in a note last week. “Candidates argued against big pharma, big tech, Wall Street, and other corporate interests. It seemed like each candidate has a plan on how he or she will tilt Washington away from business and to the average person.”

Isaac Boltansky, director of policy research at Compass Point Research & Trading, added in a note that banks may not be a specific target for the candidates, but will likely play a role in the discussions about economic inequality in general.

“We continue to believe that financial services is a secondary issue in the Democratic presidential race at this point, which suggests that topics of consequence for that segment of the market will be referenced primarily through the broader lens of economic inequality,” Boltansky said.

Here is a sampling of the leading candidates’ financial services policy views so far.

Former Vice President Joe Biden

On the second night of the Democratic primary debate, former Vice President Joe Biden opened his criticism of President Trump by invoking Wall Street.

“Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America,” Biden said. “Ordinary middle-class Americans built America.”

Biden is forever linked to the Dodd-Frank Act, the signature financial services legislation of the Obama administration that the banking industry decried as overly burdensome.

But he has also been criticized for his close ties to the credit card industry.

When he was a senator from Delaware, Biden’s single largest contributor was the credit card issuer MBNA Corp., which was later folded into Bank of America. His son, Hunter, was also employed by the firm as a lobbyist.

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