Treasury was not concerned about liquidity when Mnuchin called banks: Senior official to CNBC

Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, speaks during an interview in Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2018.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury secretary, speaks during an interview in Washington, D.C., Dec. 18, 2018.

The U.S. Treasury Department had no concerns about liquidity whatsoever, a senior Treasury official told CNBC’s Sara Eisen on Monday.

The calls Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had on Sunday with the heads of the six largest U.S. banks were intended to be a check-in with the executives on Federal Reserve Chairman Powell, the government shutdown, trade and the markets, the official said.

There is no reason to believe that the call was about anything relating to lending and liquidity, the official said. The message really should have been about the economy, which the bank CEOs said is looking quite strong, the senior official told CNBC.

Mnuchin spoke with J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Bank of America‘s Brian Moynihan, Goldman Sachs‘ David Solomon, Morgan Stanley‘s James Gorman, Tim Sloan of Wells Fargo and Michael Corbat of Citigroup.

“We continue to see strong economic growth in the U.S. economy with robust activity from consumers and business,” said Mnuchin in a statement after the calls.

The calls came after last week’s steep sell-off in the stock market that pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its worst one-week drop in 10 years, on track for its worst December performances since the Great Depression in 1931.

The official also said the Treasury Department sees disconnect between market moves and economy.

Mnuchin is dealing with the heating conflict between the President Trump and the Fed. The president has also reportedly discussed firing Fed Chair Jerome Powell because of his frustration with Fed rate hikes and stock market losses in recent months, In a tweet on Saturday, however, Mnuchin quoted Trump as saying “I never suggested firing Chairman Jay Powell, nor do I believe I have the right to do so.”

CNBC’s Sara Eisen contributed reporting.

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