JPMorgan Is ‘Lending Aggressively’ to Businesses, Dimon Says

The idea that banks slowed lending during the U.S. recession is a “huge misconception,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said.

Any lending slowdown was a result of reduced demand for capital from businesses and consumers, Dimon said in a Jan. 27 interview broadcast today on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” Dimon said his bank loaned $1.4 trillion to corporations and individuals worldwide in 2010, “up pretty substantially” from 2009.

“We are lending aggressively to corporate, to middle market,” he said. “If you talk to most economists, there is a demand issue. A lot of people don’t need the money.”

Dimon said the banking industry in the U.S. is “far less concentrated” than in Europe or Asia, and that JPMorgan could fail without putting the nation’s financial system at risk. The nation should create a process Dimon called “minimally damaging bankruptcy for big, dumb banks” to unwind troubled institutions such as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Dimon defended his bank’s lobbying against President Barack Obama’s financial regulation overhaul.

“We fought the parts of the reform we thought were irrational,” he said. JPMorgan supports “oversight committees” for the financial system, clearing houses for trading in derivatives, and “better consumer protection,” he said.

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