Big banks have saved $32 billion from Trump’s tax cuts, report says

President Donald Trump hailed his signature tax overhaul as a “middle-class miracle.” And while studies show many Americans did pay less to the government because of that law, top banks appear to have emerged as some of the biggest winners.

The nation’s six top banks saved $18 billion in 2019 as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, according to an analysis by Bloomberg News. The banks – Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo – have saved $32 billion since the legislation took effect in 2018.

The average effective tax rate for the top banks fell to 18% last year, compared with 20% a year earlier and 30% before the $1.5 trillion package was put in place. Bloomberg calculated what was paid under the new tax law and compared that with averages between 2013 and 2017.

At a signing ceremony for a partial trade deal with China on Wednesday, Trump called on several bank executives directly as he touted his economic policies including tax cuts.

He asked Mary Erdoes, the head of JPMorgan Chase’s asset management unit, to thank him for “incredible”‘ earnings in the fourth quarter.

“They were very substantial,” Trump said at the ceremony in the East Room of the White House, referring to the earnings. “Will you say, ‘Thank you, Mr. President,’ at least? Huh? I made a lot of bankers look very good.”

Combined profits at the six banks have jumped in recent years, coming in at more than $120 billion in 2018. Advocates of TCJA said large tax breaks enjoyed by corporations would trickle down to the middle class through pickups in hiring, investment and wages. But the package delivered benefits even more generous than expected to the ultra wealthy.

The Trump administration has since shifted its approach, emphasizing a focus on the middle class in a proposed second round of tax cuts. While any such legislation would be unlikely to get through Congress before the November election, it gives Trump a fresh message for his base.