JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon knows how to make headlines. Like today, when during a conference call about his bank’s second-quarter earnings he said, “it’s almost an embarrassment to be an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid shit we have to deal with in this country.”
In his view, the biggest US bank has been growing since the financial crisis in spite of “stupidity” in Washington, but it would be doing even better if policymakers were more committed to making “intelligent” decisions. (JPMorgan made $7 billion in net profit in the second quarter.)
Dimon, who is a member of president Donald Trump’s business council, may sense that there is a short window during the early days of a new administration to accomplish the reforms he has long lobbied for. Dimon rattled off a series of gripes on the call, from a lack of infrastructure investment, corporate tax reform, improved education, and litigation. “I’m going to be a broken record until this gets done,” he told analysts.
It’s not the first time Dimon has used an earnings call to rail about politics, and he’s not alone among bank chiefs in publicly airing his views. Last month, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Bankfein took a swipe at Trump’s so-called “infrastructure week,” after it was comprehensively overshadowed by the administration’s ongoing Russia scandal.
In Dimon’s view, countries from Ireland to India better understand how policies help ordinary citizens, while the US is mired in bureaucracy and gridlock. Dimon, predictably, is not a fan of post-financial crisis regulations that force banks to hold more capital, and said today if banks were free to deploy capital more freely, there would be a lot more money in the financial system available for businesses, including smaller ones and startups. Despite “this great American free enterprise system,” he said, “we no longer get it.”