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Intelligence Report: Jamie Dimon's Chicago Days

May 15, 2012 4:24:53 PM PDT
Banking giant JPMorgan Chase is the subject of a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. The federal case was opened following questions about the firm's recent $2 billion trading loss.

In this Intelligence Report: A look at the one-time Chicago banker who sits atop the bank.

The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase is Jamie Dimon, whose rough day at the firm's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday actually finished on a smooth note--at least for Dimon personally. The politically-connected banker, who was based in Chicago until a few years ago, was handed a lucrative vote of confidence despite Morgan Chase's recent 12 percent stock plunge, $2 billion loss, and the company being under several Washington investigations.

Despite the protesters outside JPMorgan's annual meeting in Tampa, Florida, and shareholder questions on the inside about the bank's recently admitted $2 billion loss, Tuesday's vote allows top executive Jamie Dimon to keep both of his titles--CEO and chairman of the board--and his pay package of $23 million.

On ABC's "The View" Tuesdsay morning, President Barack Obama defended Dimon.

"JPMorgan is one of the best banks there is," said Obama. "Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got, and they still lost $2 billion and counting."

Dimon is one of President Obama's most ardent supporters in the banking business and a financial backer of Obama. In 2009, The New York Times called Dimon obAma's "favorite banker."

In an industry where most executives are Republicans, federal election records show that from 2008 to 2012 Dimon donated at least $152,000 mostly to Democrats, and in the last election cycle JPMorgan Chase itself was 28th on the top 100 list of political spenders.

While Jamie Dimon has apologized for the $2 billion loss, saying "this should never have happened. I can't justify it. Unfortunately these mistakes were self inflicted," his reputation for well-reasoned risk management could be damaged.

During Dimon's Chicago days there was less turmoil, even though he engineered a merger and eventual departure of a Chicago landmark and took a huge personal hit on his Gold Coast home, listing it in 2007 for $13.5 million, lowering the price twice before selling for about half of what he wanted. Chase, however, paid Dimon $422,000 in moving costs.

Dimon has accepted the resignation of the bank executive directly responsible for the derivative loss. But, in addition to the Justice Department opening an investigation Tuesday, the Senate banking committee is going to look at this.


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