Citi (C) CEO Michael Corbat said in a new interview that the bank “will certainly be prepared” for a possible contested presidential election that might disrupt the stock market, noting internal conversations held at the nation’s third-largest bank about how a prolonged outcome might unfold.
“It's a scenario that people talk about,” he told Yahoo Finance in an interview that aired as part of its annual All Markets Summit. “I would say that it's kind of one of the things that we are and certainly will be keeping an eye on.”
“I think that the markets and Citi will certainly be prepared,” he adds. “This year, we've gone through unprecedented periods of volatility. And I think the markets have stood up very well to that.”
Corbat, who made the comments in an interview taped on Oct. 15, acknowledged the possibility of a contested election but said he hopes a clear result resolves the election.
“Hopefully, the results are clear, whatever they are,” he says. “Hopefully, there's a smooth transition around that.”
In recent weeks, Wall Street has focused on the possibility of election-related unrest as President Donald Trump has raised unfounded concerns about widespread voter fraud and refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses.
Fitch Ratings cautioned earlier this month last that a deviation from "well-understood rules and processes for the transfer of power" could cause the U.S. to lose its AAA rating.
The remarks from Corbat come amid comments from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who sent a memo to employees last week urging patience and calm as the election plays out. In addition, scores of business leaders have signed onto a letter calling for election integrity, among them Linkedin CEO Reid Hoffman and the co-founders of Ben and Jerry’s, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield.
With just over a week until Election Day, President Donald Trump trails Democratic nominee Joe Biden by an average of 9.1 percentage points in national polls, according to FiveThirtyEight. But Biden retains a narrower lead in decisive swing states, which may face delays counting ballots as they process an increase in mail-in votes due to the pandemic.
Corbat, who will step down from his position in February, emphasized that the bank will respect the results of the election, regardless of its winner.
“We are an apolitical institution,” he says. “The people speak; the people vote. We certainly respect that process.”