Published February 28, 2013
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) chief executive Jamie Dimon defended the bank, the nation’s largest by assets, and urged lawmakers to pursue a large fiscal plan in an exclusive interview with FOX Business on Thursday.
Dimon, who is on a bus tour of Texas this week, sat down for an interview with FBN's Melissa Francis and called attention to what he said the bank has done to help the country.
“We kept cities, schools, philanthropies alive during the recession,” Dimon said.
In response to criticism of large banks by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts, Dimon rejected the notion lower interest rates boost profits.
“Low rates actually hurt our profits,” he said, adding that JP Morgan sends significant payments to the FDIC to help smaller banks. “I want her to see what we do to help the country.”
On sequestration, Dimon questioned the appropriateness of the across-the-board spending cuts but also downplayed the overall impact them. He said Congress should pursue a larger plan that addresses tax reform instead.
“It’s not the way to do something, but I’ll leave that to the politicians,” he said. “I don’t think people are paying as much attention as the media. If you’re in Montana, they’re not talking about sequester. We need a big plan.”
As for a shareholder effort to split the chairman and CEO positions—both of which belong to Dimon—he pointed to a study indicating companies that split the two positions fared worse. However, Dimon said he “would probably take” JPMorgan shareholders’ advice if the issue arises.
“I don’t think it’s that significant an issue,” Dimon said. “I’m not going to spend any time thinking about it.”
Dimon added JP Morgan has a “common interest” in eliminating the notion of “too big to fail.” He said the bank and regulators are “working toward that purpose.”
“We need the American people and politicians to believe that,” he added.
Ryan McInerney, the CEO of Consumer Banking at JPMorgan, was also present for the interview. He said the bank is focused on having enough branches to make banking convenient for customers. He also noted that JPMorgan has been the leading Small Business Association lender three consecutive years.