Profits Fall at JPMorgan Chase

May 7, 2014 by

Profits Fall at JPMorgan Chase

In 1952, President Eisenhower nominated the former CEO of General Motors (at the time a major defense contractor), Charles Wilson, to be Secretary of Defense.  In Senate confirmation hearings, Wilson was asked in a closed hearing if his significant investment in GM stock would affect his ability to make a decision that was against GM’s interest if he were confirmed as Secretary of Defense. He was inaccurately quoted as responding “what’s good for General Motors is good for the country” – a quote that he was widely
criticized for.  The transcript of the hearing showed that what Wilson said was: “I cannot conceive of one, because for years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa.  The difference did not exist.  Our company is too big.  It goes with the welfare of the country.” The emphasis here, really, was on protecting the welfare of the country.

The days when CEOs of big corporations and big banks even thought about “the welfare of the country” in the context of the operation of their companies – are long gone.  Now, these CEOs constantly complain about being over-regulated.  For example, in April, Jamie Dimon – JPMorgan Chase CEO – whined like a spoiled child about the $20 billion in settlements with various state and federal government entities (for violating previous settlements and mishandling mortgages) which he agreed to this last year.  $20 billion sounds like a lot of money.  However, JPMorgan Chase’s annual profit was about $20 billion on revenue of about $100 billion for the last several years.  So, this settlement was offset by the profit of just a single year.


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