It's always nice when CEOs are willing to speak their minds. So it's refreshing to hear JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon tell us how he really feels about the new regulatory measures meant to combat future financial crises. In fact, back when the debate for new finance rules was going on, he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post in support of a new non-bank resolution authority. He says that his institution is generally not concerned about the new capital rules proposed earlier this week through the Basel III Accord. But he has little love for the new derivatives and credit card regulations.
Francesco Guerrera reports on his comments for the Financial Times. Of the so-called derivative spin-off provision, he said:
"It is a real pain. It is an operational nightmare," he told investors at the Barclays financial services conference in New York.
"It is highly ill-conceived, doesn't reduce risk at all. As a matter of fact, it probably complicates it for some [customers]".
The strangeness of the rule forcing banks to spin off certain derivatives into a separately capitalized subsidiary has been explained here, here, and here. So really, Dimon is just stating what's obvious to anyone who understands the industry -- he's just doing so a little more bluntly and publicly than other high profile bank execs care to these days. The new rule creates a needless headache, and really accomplishes nothing in terms of reducing risk.
As for the credit card rules, FT notes:
The JPMorgan chief said new US rules on credit card fees were the result of a misguided government intervention in the industry. Mr Dimon said JPMorgan would raise other fees to compensate and would stop providing credit to around 5 per cent of its customers.
Of course, we're already beginning to see higher interest rates and new fees begin to manifest themselves in response to the legislation. What we haven't as clearly seen is the decline in credit for consumers on the margins. This was also predicted -- just not as easily observed. But Dimon essentially admits that his bank will (or already has) cut credit to 5% of its customers because it will no longer be able to make business profitable with them.
It's probably also worth noting that Dimon was a big supporter of President Obama in 2008, helping him gather around $89 million in campaign funding from Wall Street. So this isn't a case of a partisan Republican business leader railing against Democrat-led legislation.
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