Feisty earnings call from JPMorgan after strong earnings, with surprisingly good performance in fixed income trading and underwriting businesses and a lot of confidence from Jamie Dimon and Doug Braunstein around the appropriateness of mortgage/litigation reserves (especially now that they've had a chance to go through R. Kelly's house and are getting their heads around the awesome parties they can throw there). But some mixed messages on Dimon's campaign for Treasury Secretary:
Get your hands off his bank
Ed Najarian of ISI asks if they would consider going back to the Fed to request approval for additional capital return. Dimon:
The board is responsible for this company, not just the regulators. It’s still America. Capitalism is still alive. If regulators start making all capital decisions then they should be the board.
So ... that's a yes then.
What's good for America is ... well, we want what's good for America, anyway
In response to a suggestion that JPMorgan's business might actually benefit from the agencies downgrading the U.S. to AA+, with increased volatility and flows, he agrees, but adds:
But it's a bad way to win. We want to see the United States happy and growing and adding jobs.
For JPM, though, he's not too worried about a AA+ downgrade, though it would cause some operational issues as some counterparties need AAA collateral. On the other hand an actual default, not so great - and “not the kind of thing that I think people should play with.”
Turns out, being too big to fail is not as bad as it sounded (did it sound bad?)
Glen Schorr at Nomura tells Jamie and Doug that he's almost as frustrated as they are about the $11bn capital surcharge that they'll face for being a global systemically important financial institution. Dimon tells him "you couldn't possibly be as frustrated as me," but then goes on to add that the status could actually help him, as smaller institutions will feel pressure to increase capital to compete with overcapitalized and implicitly guaranteed G-SIFIs for certain kinds of businesses.
JPMorgan is just people helping people, not going to worry about a little interest margin among friends
Paul Miller of FBR asks if JPMorgan will look to roll down its balance sheet if net interest margin remains compressed. Dimon: "We don’t look at NIM. We have profits and we have clients." He's not about to turn down client deposits just because some nerds with spreadsheets tell him he's not making any money on them. Remember: America. Still there.
Stock up 3+% so far this morning.