If we’re being totally honest, while it had its moments, last week’s Jamie Dimon Congressional hearing to discuss Whale Boy was a bit of a letdown, theatrically-speaking. This was probably due in large part to the fact that it was conducted by the Senate Banking Committee, and the Senate typically comes off intelligent and reasonable compared to the House,* and proceeded accordingly. As we surely don’t have to tell you, this is not the kind of hearing we are interested in.
We are interested in hearings that involve Congressmen and women screaming “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAVEN’T BEEN PROSECUTED YET!!!” at financial services employees and accusing them of dressing up as Girl Scouts in order to deceive the public. We are interested in hearings that involve the use of the term “smart-alecks.” We are interested in hearings that involve subjects being told to be more like Magic Johnson. We are interested in hearings that involve subjects who’ve never worked for Goldman Sachs being grilled until they break about working at Goldman Sachs. We are interested in hearings that involve bath salts, or the suggestion that the people conducting it have taken a bunch of them and at any moment might leap across the dais to eat the witness’s face off. Fortunately, we might get the chance for all that and more tomorrow, when Dimon makes another trip down to D.C. to appear before the House Financial Services Committee to talk whales.
In House Testimony, Dimon Sticks To Script [Dealbook]
*Make no mistake, most of them fell short of becoming Rhodes Scholar Quarterfinalist
s, but we’re speaking in relative terms here.
“He didn’t win. He’s a loser. How? You lose when you go in front of Congress and you lose when you go out. Anyone that declares him a winner is wrong…He walked in a loser. Testified. Walked out a loser. And by the way, he agrees with me. He knows he’s a loser with no control and doesn’t even know what happened in his own bank…A loser. Crisis PR is psychiatry. You go in there as a guy who is stupid, you don’t come out being smarter. You don’t. You come out just as stupid…He’s a loser…This is not Michael Corleone with Frank Pentangeli in the back of the room. This is not Nevada gaming licenses…He’s a loser. It’s okay, man. He’s a loser. Maybe next year he’ll be a winner but he is a loser. Okay.”
“It is be the best in the world.” We should give thanks and “stop shooting […]
As you may have noticed, Jamie Dimon has had some unwanted attention thrown his way over the last several weeks, on account of one of his employees losing a few billion dollars. Though the JPMorgan CEO has been dealing with public displays of hate previously reserved for Lloyd Blankfein and Goldman Sachs, and will certainly be on the receiving end of a lot more tomorrow when he testifies on Capitol Hill, he has had a few people come to his (and his bank’s) defense. Yesterday Stephen Schwarzman told Bloomberg to lay off JD and JPM, noting that “occasional losses are inevitable” and “publicly excoriating JPMorgan serves no purpose except to reduce people’s confidence in the financial system,” while former Goldman exec Bill Archer said the whale fail makes him just “kind of shrug.” Lee Bollinger, who is President of Columbia and chairman of the Federal Bank of New York’s board of directors told the Journal that Dimon shouldn’t step down from his post as a director, as some have requested, and that those who cite conflicts of interest have a “false understanding of how [the Fed] works.” Some individuals from the Columbia community read Bollinger’s comment and, spoiler alert, are not happy. Enter, a strongly worded letter.
Mr. Lee Bollinger
President of Columbia University
Office of the President
202 Low Library
535 West 116th Street, Mail Code 4309
New York, NY 10027
Dear President Bollinger,
As faculty, alumni and students of Columbia University, we are writing to express our deep disappointment in your recent decision to support JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon’s continued membership on the Board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank.
As the Chairman of the Board of the New York Fed, your unambiguous duty – as stated by the Guide to Conduct – is to maintain “the integrity, dignity, and reputation of the Federal Reserve System . . . and to avoid actions that might impair the effectiveness of System operations or in any way tend to discredit the System.”
By supporting Mr. Dimon’s tenure you abdicated this basic responsibility. By echoing Mr. Ben Bernanke’s remarks that it is up to Congress to address this problem, you denied your duty to ensure the integrity of the Fed. By stating that Congress has more pressing issues to address than this one, you, in essence, urged inaction by all parties capable of affecting this important change. Surely you understand that a functioning financial system is a pre-requisite of our country’s economic recovery. By characterizing those who wish to see Mr. Dimon resign as “foolish” and in possession of a “false understanding” of how the Fed works, you have added insult – and inaccuracy – to the injury of encouraging this institution to continue in its current form.
It is worth reminding you that JPMorgan Chase is currently under investigation for its recent $3 billion trading loss – a loss Mr. Dimon initially denied and then characterized as a ‘tempest in a teapot.’ It may also bear repeating that Mr. Dimon has long campaigned aggressively against important regulatory reforms designed to prevent excessive risk taking by Too Big To Fail institutions – institutions the Federal Reserve saved with $3 trillion dollars in special lending facilities and which Congress bailed out with $700 billion of taxpayers’ money. Certainly Mr. Dimon has no place as a leader of this institution.
We urge you to reverse your support for Mr. Dimon and call for his immediate resignation. By way of reminder, there is precedent for this kind of action. In April 2011, Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO of General Electric, stepped down from the NY Fed after it was clear that GE Capital would be regulated by the Fed as a ‘systematically important’ financial institution. As one of the largest banks in the world, JP Morgan is similarly – if not more ‘systemically important.’
As an educator, you have a special responsibility to demonstrate moral and intellectual credibility, something you have failed to do in this situation. As the president of a university, you have a responsibility to ensure that students have the best possible opportunities upon graduation. Surely you understand the connection between the unemployment crisis facing young people in America and the 2008 financial collapse. That collapse not only threatened the employment potential of millions of American students, but also risked the fiscal health of the parents and grandparents who co-signed their educational loans. That you would choose to uphold the interests of major financial institutions over students and their families is unimaginable. We certainly hope that the contributions made to Columbia by JPMorgan – sums north of $500,000 – had nothing to do with your decision.
Three years after the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, the country is struggling to rebuild its economy. A stable and appropriately governed financial system is a critical pre-requisite of our recovery. As the Chairman of the NY Fed, we urge you to take the obvious step of demanding Mr. Dimon’s resignation.
Current Students, Alumni and Faculty of Columbia University
Graduate Student and Alumnus
Professor of Economics
President of the National Housing Institute Charles H. Revson Fellow, 2004
Asst. Clinical Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry
Alumnus and Adjunct Faculty
CC Class of ’09
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Class of 2012
Alumnae -GS of Arch & HP
William D. Hartung
Center for International Policy
Columbia College Class of 1978
Faculty, Medical School
Columbia College, ‘95
Adjunct Faculty and Alumni
Union Theological Seminary
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry,
Alumnus College ’76, GSAS ’78, P&S ’82
School of the Arts Alumni
Professor of Philosophy
Columbia College Class of 1991
Class of 2016
National Domestic Workers Alliance
Columbia College 1980
Alumnus Class of 2012 & SIPA student Class of 2014
BC Alumnus, Class of 2011
Eric J. Schoenberg
Adjunct Associate Professor
Columbia Business School
The Honorable David Segal
Former RI state representative
Founder and Principal, ASO Communications, Columbia College ’99
Current student of Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Class of 2013
Denise J. Tartaglia
Co-Founder, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Columbia University alumni, SOA ’07
Thomas J. Yager
Associate Research Scientist, Mailman School of Public Health
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He’s got this.
JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has the experience needed to manage the fallout from trading losses, and market disruptions haven’t been serious, Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan said today. Trading didn’t freeze and markets behaved “reasonably well” given the circumstances after Dimon disclosed at least $2 billion in trading losses at JPMorgan’s chief investment office, Moynihan said today at a Manhattan investor conference. Dimon has shown he’s got the skills to handle the affair, said Moynihan, whose Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank ranks second by assets behind New York-based JPMorgan.
The past couple of weeks, some might argue, have been the worst of Jamie Dimon’s professional career. Although being fired by Sandy Weill in 1998 was obviously a distressing time in Dimon’s life, a JPMorgan trader’s multi-billion dollar (and counting) loss appears to be even more painful for the CEO, who now has a reputation (and a title: “America’s Least Hated Banker”) to defend. While it’s unlikely that the blunder will cost him his job, every article written questioning Dimon’s judgment, suggesting that he is in fact fallible, and wondering aloud if he is simply a pretty face (that is about to get the regulation it has vociferously argued against rammed down its throat) clearly hurts. So far, Dimon has chosen to frame the situation, at least publicly, as a group fuck-up, one for which the responsibility is shared among himself, The Whale, The Whale’s bosses, and The Whale’s bosses’ bosses. Over the weekend, though, a heretofore unmentioned character, whose actions set in motion the events that served to tarnish JD’s halo, was added to story. And now, Dimon has a place to channel his anger: on a bloodsucking vermin whose days are numbered.
Ever since JPMorgan Chase disclosed a multibillion-dollar trading loss this month, the central mystery has been how a bank known for its skill at risk management could err so badly. As early as 2010, the senior banker who has been blamed for the debacle, Ina Drew, began to lose her grip on the bank’s chief investment office, according to current and former traders. She had guided the bank through some of the most rugged moments of the 2008 financial crisis, earning the trust of Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive, in the process. But after contracting Lyme disease in 2010, she was frequently out of the office for a critical period, when her unit was making riskier bets, and her absences allowed long-simmering internal divisions and clashing egos to come to the fore, the traders said. The morning conference calls Ms. Drew had presided over devolved into shouting matches between her deputies in New York and London, the traders said. That discord in 2010 and 2011 contributed to the chief investment office’s losing trades in 2012, the current and former bankers said.
“When Ina was there, things ran smoothly,” one former trader there said. But Ms. Drew’s firm hand began to weaken after she contracted Lyme disease. Her absences opened the door for tensions among her deputies to flare into the open…Most significant, her deputy in New York was increasingly at loggerheads with her deputy in London who spearheaded the strategy behind the losing bet, Achilles Macris, the current and former traders said. But there was only so much she could do when she was away.
So, first off, the tick that bit Drew is a dead man (though probably a woman, as “the female adult is usually the one causing the most bites as males usually die after mating”). If people thought Dimon was mad after being informed of the losses, just wait. He’s going to find that bitch tick and shoot her with a cannon. Next, it’s time to put some safeguards in place to protect his bank from anymore “surprises.” Effective immediately, JPMorgan employees are banned from venturing into the forest, for any reason whatsoever. Same goes for grasslands, marshes, and anywhere tall grass grows. Anyone planning on prancing through the meadows in slow motion to meet up with and embrace a loved one in some kind of romantic gesture can forget it. The JMPorgan Outdoor Club is officially disband. Contact with children who are cub scouts is forbidden. Any girl scouts who attempt to set foot on the premises in order to sell cookies will be shot on sight. (These people are breeding grounds for ticks, what with their expeditions into the woods for merit badges and whatnot. He’s going first derivative here, while at the same time trying to not enact mandates that make him look ridiculous.)
“We maintain a fortress balance sheet to manage surprises and setbacks like this,” Dimon said […]
Time was, Jamie Dimon was the most popular CEO on Wall Street and America’s “Least Hated Banker,” for reasons that included the fact that the man has soulful blue eyes, charisma out the ass, and was in charge of one of the banks that a) didn’t go out of business during the financial crisis, like Lehman and Bear and b) supposedly didn’t actually need the bailout money the government made it take (as JD has said previously), like Bank of America and Citigroup. The man, in the hearts of many and especially the adoring press, could do no wrong. Which is why it probably stung a lot that Lloyd Blankfein, a Wall Street CEO who also possesses more charm than a person would know what do do with, who was also in charge of a bank that neither went out of business during the financial crisis nor required the bailout money it was forced to take (according to GS), and who is also the owner of a pair of baby blues, though in his case ones that sparkle, could only do wrong. And while LB is not one to gloat at another’s misfortune, especially that of a friend, he’s obviously feeling pretty good about being living proof of the old saying, “only one Wall Street CEO’s balls can be in a vise at a time,” and right now it’s JD’s turn.
Dimon did not attend the annual Robin Hood Foundation party [last night], but Blankfein was there, enjoying a rare night out of the spotlight. He shook hands, introduced his wife and, grinning broadly, posed for pictures. For months, Goldman Sachs has been portrayed as the callous Wall Street behemoth whose executives collected giant bonuses while America’s housing crisis worsened and unemployment rose. But Monday night was different. “No one cares about Lloyd tonight. It is Jamie against the world, and that’s got to feel good for Lloyd,” another hedge fund manager said.
And this is just the beginning. First, they stop calling you Satan and claiming you poisoned their food, next glowing profiles and cover stories devoting major column inches to your rippling biceps and the throngs of women you beat off with a stick.
Dimon was approached by reporters after the [shareholder] meeting and was asked about whether executive […]
“Manageable” but “raises questions.”
Fitch Ratings has downgraded JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘A+’ from ‘AA-‘ and its Short-term IDR to ‘F1′ from ‘F1+’. Fitch has placed all parent and subsidiary long-term ratings on Rating Watch Negative. Fitch has also downgraded JPM’s viability rating (VR) to ‘a+’ from ‘aa-‘ and placed it on Rating Watch Negative. In addition, Fitch affirmed JPM’s ‘1’ support rating and ‘A’ support rating floor. The rating actions follow JPM’s disclosure yesterday of a $2 billion trading loss on its synthetic credit positions in its Chief Investment Office (CIO). The positions were intended to hedge JPM’s overall credit exposure, particularly during periods of credit stress.
Fitch views the size of loss as manageable. That said, the magnitude of the loss and ongoing nature of these positions implies a lack of liquidity. It also raises questions regarding JPM’s risk appetite, risk management framework, practices and oversight; all key credit factors. Fitch believes the potential reputational risk and risk governance issues raised at JPM are no longer consistent with an ‘AA-‘ rating.
Fitch Cuts JPMorgan Ratings [Reuters]
In case that was unclear. Also, no more “surprises” like you know what again, please.
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There are a lot of things Jamie Dimon is very, very good at: building a fortress balance sheet, chatting up reporters in elevators, doing sake bombs, and being appreciably better looking than his peers, to name just a few. In other areas, the JPMorgan CEO has left room for improvement. For example, his dancing skills, about which Dimon’s own wife and mother are unsparing in their directness at this point.
JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon “is a terrible dancer,” his wife, Judy Dimon, said last night at a gala for Ballet Hispanico, of which JPMorgan was the lead sponsor. She then moved her shoulders straight up and down to demonstrate what the 56 year-old leader of the biggest US bank, with $2.27 trillion of assets at year-end, does on the dance floor. Jame Dimon’s mom, Themis Dimon, was no more encouraging. Is he a good dancer? “No,” she said, shaking her head. Jamie Dimon wasn’t present to prove otherwise. “Unfortunately he couldn’t be here tonight because he had another commitment,” said his wife, a Ballet Hispanico board member and the event’s honorary chairman. Too bad. Jamie Dimon missed a good party. His wife, in a slim-fitting coral gown, danced a salsa with New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, reminiscent of his moves in the end zone after scoring a touchdown.
Speaking of people who can hold their own on the dance floor? “We like to dance,” Jamie Dimon’s father Theodore Dimon, there with his wife and Jamie’s twin brother, told Bloomberg. “We dance the fox trot — it’s nice and easy.”
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