Dimon: Republicans’ Regulatory Ally

Photograph by Jonathan Ernst/Bloomberg

Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., testifies at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on June 13, 2012.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon may have spent more time at today’s Senate Banking Committee hearing bolstering the case against the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul than defending his bank.

While Dimon acknowledged and apologized for the failures that led to his firm’s $2 billion loss, he also served as an ally to many of the panel’s Republicans in their opposition to the Dodd-Frank Act.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker gave his takeaway in an interview: it was becoming clear that Dodd-Frank was not the correct response to the 2008 financial crisis and “with the hearing today, that thought has gained momentum.”

Lawmaker after lawmaker on the Republican side of the dais voiced concern over the law, which they opposed, and the new rules and regulatory powers it created. Dimon, who did support some aspects of Dodd-Frank, generally echoed and validated their concern.

Asked about the Volcker rule, the provision in Dodd-Frank that bars banks from proprietary trading, Dimon said it was “unnecessary” and that lawmakers drafted it “so vaguely that it’s going to be hard for the regulators” to put it properly into the place. At one point he noted that he speaks to “a lot of business people and I do hear a lot of people saying it’s easier to be overseas.” When asked by Corker about whether the law achieved its core purpose, making the financial system safer, Dimon responded: “I don’t know.”

Senator Mike Johanns, a Nebraska Republican, even found a way to pitch Dimon for business in a line of questioning about the impact of the regulations on smaller banks in his state.

“What I worry about, though, you’re not located in my state and I doubt that you’re probably considering locating in my state, although it’d be a great place for you to do business,” Johanns said to laughs in the hearing room audience.

“We hope to be there one day,” Dimon responded.

 

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