We've learned a lot about Elizabeth Warren in the past week or so, with profiles of the Massachusetts Senator and anti-Wall Street crusader seemingly bubbling up from all corners of the media ether.
The Tale of Lizzie Warren is a well-trod one at this point; Oklahoma-born legal academic rises to become powerful regulator and US Senator that makes the financial services industry tremble with her every whim... yadda yadda. But a piece in today's Bloomberg Markets takes pains to detail just how piss-their-pants scared of Warren bankers really are.
Let’s assume that when he woke up on the morning of Dec. 12, Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, was feeling pretty good. The day before, the House of Representatives had passed a bill that would save his bank and others lots of money and headaches.
The trouble was, Elizabeth Warren, the senior senator from Massachusetts, was getting ready to speak on the Senate floor. She had his bank on her mind.
In January, Warren’s protests effectively blocked Obama from appointing Antonio Weiss, a banker at Lazard, to the No. 3 position at the Treasury Department. In February, she took on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, calling out the central banker for the conduct of Scott Alvarez, the Fed’s top lawyer, who criticized the swaps push-out rule in a speech.
Executives at Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and other financial institutions declined to be interviewed for this story. Even the head of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, or SIFMA, a lobbying group for the securities industry, wouldn’t discuss Warren publicly. “It would be foolish for financial institutions to get into a head-to-head with Senator Warren,” says Tony Fratto, a former Treasury official who is now a partner at the public-affairs consulting firm Hamilton Place Strategies. “It’s exactly what she wants, and it’s a debate you can’t win.”
The litany of terrified bankers is long in the story. Tales of Warren bullying and bending abound, but one particular exchange stands out.
In 2013, [Warren] writes, she had a meeting with Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan. They argued over the powers of the CFPB, she says, and at one point she told him that if JPMorgan wasn’t careful, it could end up in violation of the law. He replied, according to her: “So hit me with a fine. We can afford it.”
Looks like Warren brings out the Queens in Jamie.
And that, kids, is why you best learn that if you come at the Khaleesi of Wall Street, you'd best not miss.