Washington JPMorgan Probe Finding Banks Too-Big-To-Manage?

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Daniel Tarullo, governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve, right, with Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, before a Senate Banking hearing.

Sherrod Brown said it last week — and when JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon comes back to Washington today, Congress is going to try to pinpoint whether the Democratic Senator is right.

Flash back a few days to Dimon, who has a reputation in DC as being one of the smartest bankers on Wall Street, testifying before a Senate committee. He blamed a poor investing strategy and management failures for JPMorgan’s now-infamous $2 billion trading loss.

“It appears executives and regulators simply can’t understand what is happening in all these offices at once,” Brown said at the hearing. “It demonstrates to me that too-big-to-fail banks are, frankly, too-big-to-manage and too-big-to-regulate.”

As Bloomberg’s Robert Schmidt and Phil Mattingly report today, while the main concern of lobbyists is still that regulators will write tougher rules against proprietary trading, they are also closely monitoring the emerging chatter about too-big-to-manage.

The talk of the town these days is whether some banks are too big and too complicated even for their own executives to handle. Brown has a bill that would cap the size of “mega-banks.” Thomas Hoenig from the FDIC wants a modern Glass-Steagall Act to separate riskier operations from units handling deposits.

“There seems to be growing interest in some type of breakup proposal,” said Sheila Bair, a former FDIC chairman.

 

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