Simmer Down, Jamie Dimon

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JUNE 13, 2012

Simmer Down, Jamie Dimon

I didn't watch Jamie Dimon's Senate testimony today, but from the Times live blog it looked like this was the most dramatic moment:

Mr. Dimon gets testy for the first time in the hearing. "I think you are misinformed," he told Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, who said JPMorgan was saved by government bailouts in 2008.

"You're factually wrong," Mr. Dimon said.

The senator responds, "Let's agree to disagree."

No one who's followed Dimon over the years would have been shocked by this response--Dimon is chronically prickly at suggestions that JP Morgan resembled some of its deadbeat rivals during the crisis. And with some justification. But, then again, it's not as though Merkley was so out of line. For one thing, had the government not saved AIG, Citigroup, and Bank of America, there would have been a run on the entire financial system, JP Morgan included. For another, there's stuff like this

JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon told shareholders in a March 26, 2010, letter that his bank used the Fed’s Term Auction Facility “at the request of the Federal Reserve to help motivate others to use the system.” He didn’t say that the New York-based bank’s total TAF borrowings were almost twice its cash holdings or that its peak borrowing of $48 billion on Feb. 26, 2009, came more than a year after the program’s creation.

So let's not pretend that tapping Uncle Sam for a little handout is considered declasse in Jamie's corner of Park Avenue.

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posted in: noam scheiber, finance, jpmorgan chase & co., the times, jamie dimon, jeff merkley, oregon, senate, the plank

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