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Despite $13 billion fine, JPMorgan Chase chief says he’s ‘so damn proud of this company’

By Dominic Rushe, The Guardian
Monday, October 21, 2013 22:46 EDT
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JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon (AFP)
 
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Jamie Dimon gives interview after tentatively reaching deal with Justice Department over sale of mortgage securities

The embattled JP Morgan chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon, said on Monday the bank was attempting to put its problems behind it, as prosecutors weighed a record $13bn fine.

Dimon reached a tentative deal this weekend with the Justice Department to end a number of civil investigations into its sale of mortgage securities before the 2008 financial crisis. The deal is not thought to end a potentially more serious criminal probe into the US’s largest bank and its executives.

“I am so damn proud of this company. That’s what I think about when I wake up everyday,” Dimon told CNBC in an interview that aired on the Squawk Box show, adding: “260,000 people around the world are doing a great job for our clients. We’re gaining market share. We’re doing great stuff. We’re trying to get our problems behind us.”

The deal with the Justice Department comes amid a series of investigations into the bank in the US, UK and China. The Justice Department deal is thought to include a $4bn payment to settle claims that the bank misled lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about the quality of mortgage-backed securities it sold them before the 2008 crash. Another $4bn would be paid in consumer relief, and $5bn in penalties.

The fine stems from the investigations of a government working group created nearly two years ago to look at misconduct in the residential mortgage-backed securities market. Reuters reported over the weekend that as part of the deal the bank will likely cooperate in criminal inquiries into certain individuals involved in the conduct at issue.

The fine comes as JP Morgan faces continuing investigations over the $6bn plus loss the bank suffered in its London operations after bets made by a trader – known as the London Whale – went wrong.

The bank is also facing a bribery investigation by US officials over allegations that the bank hired the children of powerful Chinese officials in order to further its business interest in the country.

The record fine now being discussed with the Justice Department would not, reportedly, end an investigation by California’s prosecutors into the bank’s alleged role in the sale of shoddy mortgage securities.

Settlement talks have been ongoing for much of the year. A breakthrough in long-running talks came late last week, after Dimon reportedly spoke by phone to the US attorney general, Eric Holder, and agreed to leave criminal liability out of the deal.

Some of the settlement relates to sales made by the securities firm Bear Stearns and savings bank Washington Mutual – two operations JP Morgan bought with the encouragement of US regulators during the financial crisis.

© Guardian News and Media 2013

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

 
 
 
 
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