Back in the day, as in pre-financial crisis, it was okay– nay, encouraged– for a bank chief executive officer to conduct himself in a brash, swaggering manner that communicated a general message of “I do what I want and if you don’t like it, suck on this.” Regulators were peons to be told where to go, the pages of the Journal were a place to thump their chests. San Pietro was a place for holding court while knocking back 9 martinis. If you didn’t like what they had to say, too damn bad.
Somewhere in the last couple years, though, things started to change. People no longer wanted to hear executives who helped cause the global financial crisis tell the world why they were right and you were wrong. Responding to calls that enormous bonuses struck an out of touch tone by inviting CNBC into their offices, dropping trau, telling the cameraman “you’re gonna wanna zoom in on this,” and rolling around in a pile of money with abandon was no longer as effective as it once was. Regulators no longer took kindly to receiving FedEx packages that included photographs of CEOs using pages of, for example Dodd-Frank, as toilet paper with a gold star atop that read “You tried.”
Amid the storm, J.P. Morgan continues to prosper in some of its core businesses. The bank increased deposits by 10.1% in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s survey of the 12 months ending in June, nearly double the industry average of 5.4%. Mr. Dimon has told audiences the bank is staying focused on customers, many of whom are concerned most about interest rates and fees. “Wow,” said Dixie Klamfoth, a customer in Circleville, Ohio, on learning J.P. Morgan is on the verge of receiving a historic fine from the Justice Department. She was surprised, she said in a phone interview, because “I feel that they have been a reputable company.” But Ms. Klamfoth said she has been satisfied with her Chase checking account, savings account and credit card. “I will be watching to see if they pass those fines onto me in the way of fees,” she said. “The moment they do, I will no longer do business with them.” [WSJ]
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