The flood of megafines and regulations being inflicted on banks amounts to an “assault” by a multitude of authorities, JP Morgan’s boss Jamie Dimon claimed yesterday.
Such a sustained attack threatens the competitiveness of the US as a whole, the chairman and chief executive said in an unusually outspoken defence of the industry.
“Banks are under assault. We have five or six regulators coming at us on every issue,” Dimon said.
“I want to deal with those, acknowledge our mistakes, try to have a fortress controlled balance sheet, try to stop stepping in dog s*** which we do every now and then.”
His bank was hit by a $13bn settlement in late 2013 over sales of bad mortgages, and a $6bn loss from a rogue trader in 2012, the so-called London Whale.
US politicians have indicated they could attempt to break up JP Morgan, fearing its size makes it a risk to the US or even world economy.
“I don’t think we should make shareholder decisions based on the views of people who don’t necessarily really know,” Dimon told analysts, arguing that the bank was a “port in a storm” in the crisis and has become even safer since then.
“If the regulators at the end of the day want JP Morgan to be split up, that is what is going to happen. We can’t fight the federal government.”
But he did have a warning for any politicians who might try.
“America has been the leader in global capital markets for the last 50, 100 years. That is part of the reason the country is so strong,” Dimon said.
“As a matter of public policy, I wouldn’t want to see the next JP Morgan Chase be a Chinese company.”
Dimon was speaking as he unveiled a fall in revenues and profits at the giant bank in the fourth quarter.
JP Morgan’s revenues fell three per cent on the year to $22.5bn (£14.8bn) for the fourth quarter, while net income for the period was also down seven per cent to $4.9bn.
Profits rose in the corporate and investment banking arm, but slid in consumer and community banking, commercial banking, asset management and in the corporate and private equity unit.
Over 2014 as a whole, the bank paid out $30.1bn in compensation, averaging $124,959 per employee – up $2,300 on the year. In corporate and investment banking the average payout fell from $207, 368 to $204,365.
JP Morgan’s shares fell 3.45 per cent to $56.81 at the end of trade yesterday.