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Maxine Waters Grills Big Bank CEOs About Student Loans — Which Were Nationalized in 2010

House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., listens during a hearing with leaders of major banks.

Rep. Maxine Waters seemed to demonstrate that she is in over her head Wednesday when she queried several bank executives about student loans even though they were nationalized under former president Obama nearly a decade ago.

Waters is the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee -- the committee that regulates the banks.

During a hearing examining the practices of some of the nation's biggest banks, Waters complained to a panel of seven bank CEOs that there are more than 44 million Americans that owe … $1.56 trillion in student loan debt."

She added, “Last year, one million student loan borrowers defaulted, which is on top of the one million borrowers who defaulted the year before.”

She then demanded to know what they intended to do about this massive problem. “What are you guys doing to help us with this student loan debt?" she asked. "Who would like to answer first? Mr. Monahan, big bank.”

Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Monahan replied, “We stopped making student loans in 2007 or so.”

Ms. Waters replied, “Oh, so you don’t do it anymore. Mr. Corbat?”

Said Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat: “We exited student lending in 2009.”

James Dimon, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO, finally spilled the beans: “When the government took over student lending in 2010 or so, we stopped doing all student lending,” he said.

Waters then quickly changed the subject to small businesses.

The Obama administration put the federal government in charge of student lending in 2010, with the intention of saving taxpayer dollars by “cutting out the middleman,” as President Barack Obama put it.

According to the Washington Times, "student loan debt exploded from $154.9 billion in 2009 to $1.1 trillion at the end of 2017"  with current student debt "estimated at more than $1.5 trillion."

Earlier in the hearing, Waters grilled the bank execs about their interactions with Russia.