With the threat of banking-industry reform looming, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s push-back against the “vilification” of Wall Street has gone from edgy-jokey (“Dear Timmy, we are happy to be able to pay back the $25 billion you lent us. We hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did”) to grumpy to full-on strident. His bank has spent $6.2 million on lobbying against reform — more than any other bank — and the CEO himself has been writing passionate op-eds and spouting off about the unfairness of the administration’s attempt to rein in financial chicanery at every opportunity. At a recent White House lunch, he even griped to the president himself, telling him his anti-bank rhetoric “isn’t helpful,” The Wall Street Journal tells us today. (They did not mention whether the president responded, “I think we have helped the banking industry enough, thanks, and would you like a punch in the face for dessert?”)
Why is JD so worked up?
Because of justice, of course. Because he is a calm, reasonable sort of person who believes in looking at things from all angles, not blaming a whole group of people for the sins of the few, and treating people with respect. (Unless we’re talking about the teenage daughters of people who refuse to allow their cars to be repossessed, in which case, you have to do what you have to do.) Because there is a right and a wrong way to do things, and Jamie is standing up for what is right, he tells the Journal:
“The incessant broad-based vilification of the banking industry isn’t fair and it is damaging,” Mr. Dimon said. “Punishing whole industries, whether you were reckless or not, just isn’t the way to do things.”
But really, if he is being honest, it’s personal:
Addressing a room full of J.P. Morgan investors recently, he said of the bankers’ taint: “It hurts your feelings a little bit.”