JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is not happy with the way things are going in America. This summer he used the bank’s earnings conference call to complain about “the stupid shit we have to deal with in this country,” and said he was going to be like a “broken record” until some key issues like infrastructure investment, corporate tax reform, improved education, and litigation get fixed.
Members of the House and Senate as well as Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen have been listening to that broken record of late, according to Reuters, citing unidentified sources. Dimon, arguably the country’s most important banker, has made more than a dozen trips to Washington this year, four times as often as usual, according to the article.
Dimon leads the Business Council, a lobby group, and he was a member of one of president Donald Trump’s advisory groups before they fell apart (paywall), so it’s natural he would jet to Washington more often this year. But it seems clear the 61-year-old executive is using his clout to lobby government officials who may be distracted by the president’s Twitter-centric style of governing. His letter to shareholders contained about 28 pages of suggestions for changes to bank regulations and public policy, such as trade policy with China and Mexico.
Dimon may sense that the window for big accomplishments during the early days of an administration is closing. His meetings in Washington usually focus on issues such as tax reform or financial regulations, according to Reuters.
At least when it comes to rolling back banking regulation, the triangulations for watering down the rules seem to be taking shape. Several agencies are reportedly reviewing restrictions on banks making speculative trading bets, a particularly despised regulation known as the Volcker rule. The Treasury has also recommended concessions on global capital rules for banks.
Regulators and agencies have room to weaken the rules by altering how they’re implemented, and some officials who are sympathetic to that cause are in place. Right now is probably the best opportunity in years for Dimon to make his case.