Wow - I would never have seen that coming; would you?
Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, apparently feels that "banks are under assault."
According to a Nathaniel Popper article in today's New York Times, Dimon believes that
In the old days, you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue. Now it's five or six. You should all ask the question about how American that is, how fair that is.
I don't know about you, but when someone like Dimon starts wrapping himself in the flag, my antennae go up. Way up.
What had brought about this panic attack? As Popper wrote, it's because of "sluggish earnings and potential new legal costs", which makes Dimon's diatribe seem like a bit of misdirection.
(Meanwhile, in another article, by Jonathan Weisman, one could read that the Republican-controlled House "easily passed legislation to ease some of the banking regulations adopted after the financial crisis...")
Interestingly, some of the fiercest attacks Dimon faced on conference calls with reporters and analysts came from industry analysts who, according to Popper, "questioned whether the costs associated with JPMorgan's heft are outweighing the benefits." Several proposed that the bank be broken up into smaller parts; Dimon rejected that suggestion.... but "acknowledged that there could be a point when the additional costs could force it to spin off some businesses."
That's when he really lit into the regulators, while piously noting that "we can't fight the federal government if that's their intent."
But I wonder whether the size that JPMorgan has already reached doesn't explain some of the huge missteps it has experienced -- from the "London Whale" fiasco to the improper packaging of mortgage-backed securities to foreign currency manipulation to ... oh, you get the picture. If the bank were broken into smaller operations, perhaps Dimon and his fellow senior executives could keep a better eye on what their lieutenants and foot soldiers were up to.
That's assuming that they want to know.
P.S.: I don't usually recommend reading comments... but the ones at the Times are by and large quite entertaining. In response to Dimon's assertion that "banks are under assault", there are hundreds of variations on the theme of "about damn time"....