JPMorgan CEO Dimon Says Overlapping Regulators Assault Banks

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., has criticized the government for penalizing JPMorgan for those firms’ actions. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Jamie Dimon, grappling with multibillion-dollar legal costs and rising capital requirements at JPMorgan Chase & Co., said overlapping efforts by U.S. regulators place banks “under assault.”

“We have five or six regulators or people coming after us on every different issue,” Dimon, 58, said today on a call with reporters after New York-based JPMorgan reported fourth-quarter results. “It’s a hard thing to deal with.”

JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, posted a drop in fourth-quarter profit amid $990 million of legal expenses, about double what some analysts predicted. The legal costs, mostly tied to probes into currency rate-rigging, follow even bigger payments in 2013 related to mortgage bonds sold before the 2008 crisis by JPMorgan and firms it acquired.

Dimon, who previously blamed regulators for stifling economic growth, struck a more conciliatory tone last year. The bank had a “tin ear” when dealing with overseers before settling probes into mortgage lapses and trading losses, he said in an April letter to shareholders.

“Our response generally was, ‘We know what we’re doing,’” Dimon wrote. “Well, we should have done more self-examination. We need to be better listeners.”

New Federal Reserve rules that exceed the global standard also could mean JPMorgan needs more than $20 billion in additional capital by 2019.

“The regulators clearly want even more capital,” Dimon said today. “We’ll meet those requirements. But those measures aren’t a measure of risk at all. It is simply a measure of size. This company is as sound as it gets.”

Bear, WaMu

Dimon, who was lauded during the crisis for JPMorgan’s role in buying Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual Inc.’s banking operations, has criticized the government for penalizing JPMorgan for those firms’ actions.

In 2013, Dimon settled a litany of disputes, including government probes of mortgage-bond sales, energy trading, oversight of a trader known as the London Whale, and scrutiny of services provided to Ponzi-scheme operator Bernard Madoff.

The bank settled foreign-exchange investigations with three regulators in November, paying about $1 billion, and still faces a Justice Department probe.

“In the old days, you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue, maybe two,” said Dimon, 58. “Now it’s five or six. It makes it very difficult and very complicated. You all should ask the question about how American that is. And how fair that is. And how complex that is for companies.”

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