Friday, June 12, 2015

James Dimon, Elizabeth Warren and international banking

The word on the internet is that James Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase, want's to "mansplain" international banking to Elizabeth Warren. I find that ironic for a number of reasons. But first, let's look at who we're talking about in some detail.

Here is the opening paragraph for the Wikipedia entry on Elizabeth Warren:
"Elizabeth Ann Warren (née Herring; born June 22, 1949[3]) is an American academic and politician, who is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. She was previously a Harvard Law School professor specializing in bankruptcy law. A prominent legal scholar, Warren is among the most cited in the field of commercial law. She is an active consumer protection advocate whose scholarship led to the conception and establishment of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Warren has written a number of academic and popular works, and is a frequent subject of media interviews regarding the American economy and personal finance."
She's essentially a law professor in the field of commercial law, specializing in bankruptcy and serves as a member of the United States Senate. Given her broad experience in finance, she might be right when she says this:

Now let's have a look at Jamie Dimon:
"James 'Jamie' Dimon (/ˈdaɪmən/; born March 13, 1956) is an American business executive. He is chairman, president and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase, one of the Big Four banks of the United States, and previously served as a Class A director of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Dimon was named to Time magazine's 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011 lists of the world's 100 most influential people. He was also named to Institutional Investor‍ '​s Best CEOs list in the All-America Executive Team Survey from 2008 through 2011."
Mr. Achievement, right? He is also one of the highest paid CEOs in America and still managed a $20 million compensation package after his company was fined $20 billion for certain wrongdoing. His company stock was essentially worthless on September 30, 2008 when assets were compared with liabilities. But he thinks he still knows more about banking than Elizabeth Warren. Maybe he does. Maybe not.

It would seem to me that Dimon knows more about where is friends are in government than about running a bank. If the free market had it's way with JPMorganChase, and their peers, the banking landscape would have been transformed. The biggest banks would have declared bankruptcy and in a normal capitalist economy, other people would buy what's left over and run a new business with it.

That's what happened in Iceland. They let their banks fail, put criminals in jail and let the economy recover. That's not what happened here. We constipated our economy by saving the banks and hosing consumers.

Had we taken the Iceland route, we'd be in a boom right about now. Sure there would be pain at first, but it's only temporary. That's because the market learns more from failure than success. Perhaps Mr. Dimon didn't realize that lesson upon receipt of the bailout from the government. The bailout he received from the government might not disqualify him to be an expert on international banking, but it doesn't help him, either.
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