It's hard to believe from looking at him, but occasionally harsh words and rough language spill forth from the soft and sensual lips of J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. It happens in the office, and it happened last week at the bank’s annual Investor Day conference in New York, where Dimon lashed out at the federal government's treatment of large financial institutions.
“I think we are getting into the capricious, arbitrary and punitive behavior. ... The mistake was we let the government and the politicians not differentiate between irresponsible companies and prudent companies, from irresponsible, imprudent, and everybody got lumped together in the same boat. Yes, a lot of those companies needed TARP to survive, and yes, a lot did not.”
We think we just heard vein popping in Tim Geithner's forehead. Seriously? Are we really still talking about how "some companies" needed TARP and "some companies" didn't? We guess that Dimon is thinking that, since he's been anointed the One Good CEO on Wall Street, he should use his celebrity and be a voice for the Little (Big) Guy. But such an impassioned protest sounds a little absurd when you remember that there have really been no punitive measures at all, no meaningful regulation has been passed, and thanks to the trading opportunities afforded by the financial crisis and yes, the TARP, J.P. Morgan had an insanely profitable year. We're total Wall Street apologists but at this point, even we wish the White House was at least "capricious" enough to cancel a lunch date with this guy.
Dimon Decries Washington’s Treatment of Banks [DealBook/NYT]