Since President Trump’s election, Jamie Dimon has emerged as one of Wall Street’s most prominent voices in Washington. The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase serves on the White House business advisory council and is chairman of the powerful Business Roundtable.
But in a series of calls on Friday to discuss the big bank’s quarterly profits, Dimon vented his frustration with gridlock in Washington. “It’s almost embarrassing being an American citizen … and listening to the stupid s— we have to deal with in this country,” Dimon said in one conference call. The inability to make headway on significant legislation is “holding us back and it is hurting the average American. It isn’t a Republican issue; it is not a Democratic issue.”
Dimon has resisted calls from shareholders to step down from Trump’s business council and fell short of criticizing the Republican on Friday. “We have become one of the most bureaucratic, confusing, litigious societies on the planet,” he said. ” … And at one point we all have to get our act together or we won’t do what we’re supposed to do for the average Americans.”
Since the Great Recession, the nation’s economy has been growing at a rate of 1.5 percent to 2 percent despite “stupidity and political gridlock because the American business sector is powerful and strong,” Dimon said. “What I am saying is it will be much stronger growth had we made intelligent decisions and we were not gridlocked.”
The usually affable Dimon leads the largest bank in the country with more than $2 trillion in assets and what Dimon has described as a “fortress” balance sheet. That has made Dimon one of Wall Street’s most influential forces in Washington. That clout appears to be growing. In February, when Trump announced a broad effort to ease regulations on Wall Street, particularly the Dodd Frank financial reform measures adopted in 2010, he singled out Dimon’s potential contribution. “There is nobody better to tell me about Dodd-Frank than Jamie,” Trump said, motioning toward the 61-year-old executive from across a table.
Dimon’s criticisms of the ways of Washington came as some of the largest banks in the country — JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup — reported larger-than-expected quarterly profits on Friday. The banks said they had received a boost from a slight increase in interest rates.
JPMorgan’s second-quarter profits rose 13 percent to $7 billion compared with the same period last year. Revenue rose about 5 percent to $26 billion. Wells Fargo’s second-quarter profit rose to $5.8 billion compared with $5.56 billion in 2016. At Citigroup net income fell about 3 percent to $3.87 billion during the second quarter but still beat analysts expectations.
Source: The Washington Post