Bank of America CEO says China is ‘one of the great risks’ to the economy

Brian Moynihan talks handling geopolitical banking risks, state of US economy

In an exclusive interview on "Mornings with Maria" Thursday, Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan revealed what he considers to be one of the biggest threats to the U.S. economy.

"One of the great risks for the American economy is: will the Chinese-American relationship be constructive or will it go in a different direction?" Moynihan told host Maria Bartiromo. "And that's something we look at all the time."

"Chinese banks are big. It's a big economy, it's a growing economy," the CEO continued. "They're owned by the government. They're already big. They're already competing against us around the world."

Moynihan’s comments come as the People’s Republic of China recently rolled out the red carpet in recent months for many top American business leaders, including Elon Musk, JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan, and Starbucks founder and chairman emeritus Howard Schultz.


Policy experts have argued that the CEO visits fit a narrative in China’s favor, showing solidarity as other American businesses and politicians push for financial decoupling from China.

Brian Moynihan on Mornings with Maria

Chairman and CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, warned of America and China's relationship going "in a different direction" in an exclusive interview on "Mornings with Maria." (Getty Images)

Bank of America’s head reiterated China’s economic competitiveness, noting that’s why "the level-playing-field question becomes important."

"We have a great company. We'll beat anybody. We have talent, people are terrific, they're going to win," Moynihan said. "But at the end of day, it's better for this country if the rules are more consistent because, end of the day, the talent and ingenuity and capabilities of our companies, with our banks helping them, can win in the world."

The chairman and CEO indicated the top bank would be prepared for further U.S. banking regulations or tariffs on China.

"We had a little bit of a dress rehearsal on what happened with Russia, Ukraine and how we had to change with sanctions changing. So we're always worried about that," Moynihan explained.

Regarding the state of the American economy – and recent Federal Reserve rate decision – Moynihan hinted at a "very lucky" outcome for inflation and a potential recession.

"That recession prediction keeps moving out, which means the power of the consumer, the power of the American economy, good businesses doing good things," the CEO said, "that's keeping the economy going."


But what may tip the U.S. into a recession, Moynihan cautioned, is a shift in the labor market.

"When people are working, they can spend money, they can pay their debt, etcetera, and that's what's going on now," he pointed out. "We've got to be careful because we're going to see the change come in, and this is where the slowdown in the economy, in our view, is. It's a slight recession, but we know it will slow down."


FOX Business staff contributed to this report.