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White House invites top Wall Street executives to meet amid economic fallout from coronavirus

President Trump shakes hands with supporters at Orlando Sanford International Airport on Monday. (Alex Brandon/AP)

White House officials have invited top Wall Street executives to meet this week as the coronavirus outbreak creates enormous strains on the U.S. economy, according to two people with knowledge of the meeting.

The gathering comes amid extreme volatility in financial markets. Stocks have fallen sharply in the past two weeks, many investors are seeking safe haven in U.S. government debt, and the oil market has tumbled.

The White House’s agenda for the meeting and its list of invited Wall Street executives could not be learned.

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The White House faces immense pressure to restore confidence in the U.S. economy amid one of the worst days on Wall Street since the Great Recession. President Trump and senior economic advisers have promised a quick economic rebound, but their optimistic forecasts so far have proved wrong.

On Monday, White House aides prepared to present Trump options for responding to the economic fallout as the president returns from Florida. Those ideas include expanding paid sick leave and providing cash to help small businesses affected by the downturn, according to one senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

An official at one of the banks invited said it was widely expected that White House invitations went to the CEOs of what are known as the “Global Systemically Important Financial Institutions,” known as G-SIFIs. These megabanks, among the largest financial institutions in the United States, include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss the private event.

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The stock prices of many of these companies, among others, have been hit hard over the past two weeks. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who recently had heart surgery, is expected to miss the meeting, a company spokesman said.

During downturns, the default rate on credit cards, mortgages and other financial products can rise if consumers lose their jobs or access to income.

During the Great Recession, government officials tried to pressure banks to negotiate with borrowers and rework loans rather than send their debt to collection agencies.

Spokespeople for several major Wall Street banks declined to comment.