Richard Hunt, President and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the latest polling numbers out of the presidential and Senate election and what a Biden administration may look like with a Republican Senate majority.
SEANA SMITH: We want to bring in Richard Hunt. He's the president and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association. And Richard, it's great to have you on the program. It looks like the GOP is going to hold the Senate. We don't know about the White House.
It sounds like from what we just heard from Jess, we're not going to know what happens here for it could be a couple of days at this point. I'm just curious just to get your initial thoughts on what this means for the market, and specifically, for the banking sector.
RICHARD HUNT: Yeah, very interesting night last night. Yeah, we're not as confident right now as you are that the GOP does hold the Senate. I think you may have two races down in Georgia, possibly on January 5th.
What I think it brings in is that the Biden administration-- and I'm going to underscore if it is a Biden administration-- cannot be an administration of extremes. It has to be more practical than maybe they once thought. They have to be very careful on the appointments they make to the regulatory agencies.
If Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader, he will not have final say so necessarily with Biden. There's going to have to be a lot of handshakes going on between Mr. McConnell and Mr. Biden. I don't think that anybody that Biden puts forward to the Senate will automatically pass. But any agency or any cabinet position that is extremist I don't think will see the light of day.
ADAM SHAPIRO: So Richard, let's look at that, though, if there is a Biden presidency and a McConnell-controlled Senate. You've pointed out that those two have-- they've shaken hands several times in the past. They have a relationship already. So what does the banking industry looking specifically if there aren't going to be Elizabeth Warren type extremists trying to pass legislation?
RICHARD HUNT: Well, I think what happens is the Senate will once again be a backstop to all the provisions coming out of the House of Representatives that, you know, just a couple hours ago, we thought might see the light of day in the Senate passed by Maxine Waters and the House of Representatives. It'll be a graveyard once again in the Senate.
So in Congress, I think we'll see a stalemate, which means no tax increases on corporation bank companies or on individuals, no filibuster rule that I can tell. Because even in the best case scenario, the Democrats will only get 51, and there are several moderates in the Senate that would block filibuster reform.
So, in Congress, I think you'll see stalemate. In the administration, I think you'll see some appointments that are much more balanced, much more pro-business than what people once thought, say, a week or two ago.
SEANA SMITH: Hey, Richard, what do you think this means just for stimulus, then, just going down that road? Because in the odds that we will get enough fiscal support and what we need, just in terms of the small businesses out there, and the PPP loans that will be needed and will be needed in a relatively, I guess, timely fashion at this point.
RICHARD HUNT: So I thought that was fantastic news by Mitch McConnell this morning, saying the Senate should pass a stimulus bill by the end of this year. One provision we're looking for is PPP forgiveness for all loans under $150,000, which is 86% of all loans. Look, you all know how many small businesses are on the precipice of going under.
And they need help today. Not next year and not when a new administration comes in, not when the new Congress is sworn in, but now. These are very popular bipartisan agreements that have been held hostage for a $2 or $3 trillion bill. That's just not going to happen.
So it's time for Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell come together, pass a specific, targeted relief bill to help out small businesses. So very encouraged by that news today.
ADAM SHAPIRO: And do you think Congress would pass that with some kind of guarantee that the small banks that you might represent don't get passed over for that kind of loan forgiveness and assistance to help small business by the ginormous banks? Because we saw what happened the first time around.
RICHARD HUNT: Well, I'm a big fan of the big banks. We represent big banks, small banks, large community banks as well. We did the lion's share of all PPP loans, all underwritten carefully. So we're hoping every bank, small-- even credit unions. Small and medium and large banks can once again help out the small business person.
I'm very proud of what the banking industry did those first couple of months during the PPP program. That's a program that would have taken years temperament. And they did it virtually overnight, working from home, to help 5 million small businesses get back on their feet. Now Congress has to finish the job and get small businesses out from the burden of paperwork.
SEANA SMITH: All right, Richard Hunt, president and CEO of the Consumer Bankers Association, great to have you on the program. Thanks so much for taking the time.