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Jamie Dimon May Not Have Become Treasury Secretary, But The Treasury Secretary Is Becoming Jamie Dimon

Steve Mnuchin just wrote a 147-page love-letter to his favorite bank CEO.
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The White House has never done much to hide its bulging affection for Jamie Dimon. First off, there was once a nonzero chance that America's most lovable bank CEO would become Treasury Secretary, before he settled for top billing on Donald Trump's corporate boss Justice League. And back in February Trump stopped just short of planting a sloppy smooch on Dimon, ad-libbing to a crowd of reporters: “There’s no body better to tell me about Dodd-Frank than Jamie.”


So it's not a surprise that the long shadow of the JPMorgan chief has loomed large over the administration's efforts to whip the Dodd-Frank into shape and Make America[n financial regulatory standards] Great Again. The influence remains completely unsubtle. After Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin unveiled the administration's regulatory reform wish list, sharp observers immediately noticed a touch of Dimon in the document:

The Trump administration’s proposal to rethink many of the rules governing the U.S. financial sector sounded a lot like bankers’ wish lists. In particular, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chief James Dimon’s vocal suggestions over the past several months had much overlap with the 147-page report released by the Treasury Department on Monday evening.

Dimon hasn't exactly made his desires inconspicuous, either. Most recently they took the form of a sprawling, magisterial treatise on the various ills that have befallen our troubled nation, the cures of which happened to be little regulatory tweaks like like reducing operational risk capital requirements and ditching new mortgage rules. It was a sharp bit of policy propaganda, the audience of which wasn't JPMorgan's putative shareholders but a handful of newly minted D.C. residents.

Now, lo and behold, it turns out Mnuchin has chosen to ride some of the very same hobbyhorses. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the two hammered similar points on stress tests, living wills, and supplementary leverage ratios, among other issues.

Of course, this wish list is hardly unique to JPMorgan – everyone's trudging through the same talking points on Dodd-Frank. But as if to assure us that Treasury was thinking specifically of Dimon – who, recall, hasn't hid his own love away – Mnuchin let this thoroughly unoriginal witticism about the Volcker rules drop during Senate testimony Tuesday:

Our biggest concern is we want to make sure that market makers can provide liquidity in market-making...Trading desks need a lawyer and a psychiatrist to sit there and interpret what a trader was doing to be in compliance.

Mnuchin attributed the quote to some unnamed G7 economist, but we all know who said it first.

Perhaps the real #DraftDimon movement was the one in our hearts.

James Dimon, Treasury’s Mnuchin Sing Same Bank Overhaul Song [WSJ]



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