The head of the nation's largest bank, reeling after a week in which it disclosed a stunning $2 billion loss in one transaction, acknowledged Sunday that JPMorgan Chase had been stupid, sloppy and shown bad judgment. But Jamie Dimon, Morgan's chairman and chief executive officer, insisted the bank is sound and "is going to earn a lot of money this quarter."
Dimon, known as one of the more blunt and open executives on Wall Street, conceded he should not have dismissed questions about the losing trade as a "tempest in a teapot" when it first came up several weeks ago.
"I was dead wrong when I said that," he said in an interview with David Gregory on Friday that was aired on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday. "I obviously didn't know or never would have said that."
He said it is now clear that "we made a terrible, egregious mistake. There is almost no excuse for it." He said the company ignored what he called an early "red flag." "We made a mistake. We got very defensive. And people started justifying everything we did."
A leading opponent of some aspects of the Dodd-Frank law and a foe of President Obama's effort to institute the Volcker Rule, which would regulate proprietary trading among banks, Dimon acknowledged that this loss gives ammunition to those backing tighter bank regulations.
"Absolutely," he said. "This is a very unfortunate and inopportune time to have this kind of mistake." But he said he remains a supporter of "70 percent" of Dodd-Frank. And he would not say that Morgan broke any laws with the losing trade.
"We know we were sloppy," he said. "We know we were stupid. We know there was bad judgment." He said he expects regulators to look more deeply into the situation. "That is their job." After they report, he said, "We intend to fix it, learn from it and be a better company when it's done." In hindsight, he said the loss came because "we took far too much risk."
In a separate interview with Gregory earlier in the week, Dimon voiced unhappiness with Obama. Long a prominent Democrat on Wall Street, he now describes himself as "barely a Democrat," blaming administration policies that he called "anti-business."
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.