Jamie Dimon, the embattled CEO of JP MorganChase, defends the banking industry and capitalism in general with some salty language in a New York Magazine article out today.
“I’m an outspoken defender of the truth,” Dimon told reporter Jessica Pressler. “Everyone is afraid of retaliation and retribution. We recently had an event with a hundred small bankers here, and 85 percent of them said they can’t challenge the regulation because of the potential retribution. That’s a terrible thing. Okay? This is not the Soviet Union. This is the United States of America. That’s what I remember. Guess what? It’s a free. F***ing. Country.”
Dimon, who testified before the House Financial Services Committee in June, after a more than $5.8 billion trading loss by his bank, went on the defensive in the interview, one of the few he has given since the trading scandal broke.
“There are huge benefits to size,” Dimon told New York Magazine. “We bank Caterpillar in like 40 countries. We can do a $20 billion bridge loan overnight for a company that’s about to do a major acquisition. Size lets us build a $500 million data center that speeds up transactions and invest billions of dollars in products like ATMs and apps that allow your iPhone to deposit checks. We move $2 trillion a day, and you can see it by account, by company. These aren’t, like, little things. And they accrue to the customer. That’s what capitalism is.”
Dimon said businesses are under attack. “The whole world has become crazy. Businesses get attacked every time they do something,” Dimon continued.
The CEO, who received a $23 million compensation package from Chase, discussed how “honorable” bankers are.
“Everyone is talking about the culture, the culture, and all that, and it’s just not true,” Dimon said. “Most bankers are decent, honorable people. We’re wrapped up in all this crap right now. We made a mistake. We’re sorry. It doesn’t detract from all the good things we’ve done. I am not responsible for the financial crisis. I hate to tell you. We were a port of safety in the storm. I find it unbelievable that that is the general theme—that you have to walk in a room and act like you are responsible for things you are not responsible for.”