Wall Street CEO Jamie Dimon Tries To Mansplain Banking To Elizabeth Warren

There are few, if any, members of Congress who have taken on the vested interests of Wall Street more than Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren. But JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon thinks it’s all because the little lady just doesn’t understand banking.

To be clear, Elizabeth Warren is a former Harvard bankruptcy law professor, and architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She also happened to chair the government panel that oversaw the Troubled Asset Relief Program, meaning it was Warren to whom Wall Street came, cap in hand, for a bail out in 2008. She is currently a member of the Senate Banking Committee.

Despite the fact that Jamie Dimon’s entire industry would have collapsed without the interventions of Warren and her program, he believes himself well above taking advice from her now.

I don’t know if she fully understands the global banking system,” he said at a Chicago luncheon on Wednesday, when asked about recent criticisms Warren had levied against the financial services sector.

He went on to state that he’d be happy to meet with her, to explain how banking actually works.

Warren declined to comment.

It’s far from the first time that some Wall Street suit has attempted to mansplain things to Elizabeth Warren, and unlikely the last. As she explained in an April speech for the “Know Your Value” conference:

“I was in Washington in those months after the [financial] crisis, but I wasn’t one of the guys. I hadn’t worked for a Wall Street bank. I didn’t play golf with the CEOs. I hadn’t smoked cigars at the club. Nobody talked about this during my time at the congressional oversight panel. But over the life of that panel, 10 different people served on the panel: nine guys, one woman — me. Not many people thought about it or noticed it because this kind of imbalance is so pervasive across finance.

In 2012, women made up 54 percent of the financial services workforce, but they made up only 16 percent of the senior executives. And how about the corner office? None. Not one of the CEOs was a woman. That’s not an accident, that’s a culture.

The finance guys argue that if you’re never in the club, you can’t understand it. But I think they have it backwards. Not being in the club means not drinking the Kool-Aid. Yeah, most of the finance guys were smart. But no smarter than a lot of other people I knew — men and women — who did a lot of other kinds of work. …

The problem was never that I didn’t understand what the finance guys were doing. The problem was that I understood exactly what the finance guys were doing. I knew it, and they knew it.”

In fact, even this rift with Dimon goes back a long way. In her 2014 book, A Fighting Chance, Warren wrote about a meeting between the two that grew “heated” and served to underscore the lawlessness with which “Too Big To Fail” banks like JPMorgan act:

When the conversation turned to financial regulation and Dimon began complaining about all the burdensome rules his bank had to follow, I finally interrupted. I was polite, but definite. No, I didn’t think the biggest banks were overregulated. In fact, I couldn’t believe he was complaining about regulatory constraints less than a year after his bank had lost billions in the infamous London Whale high-risk trading episode. I said I thought the banks were still taking on too much risk and that they seemed to believe the taxpayers would bail them out — again — if something went wrong.

Our exchange heated up quickly. By the time we got to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we weren’t quite shouting, but we were definitely raising our voices. At this point — early in 2013 — Rich Cordray was still serving as director of the consumer agency under a recess appointment; he hadn’t yet been confirmed by the Senate, which meant that the agency was vulnerable to legal challenges over its work. Dimon told me what he thought it would take to get Congress to confirm a director, terms that included gutting the agency’s power to regulate banks like his. By this point I was furious. Dodd-Frank had created default provisions that would automatically go into effect if there was no confirmed director, and his bank was almost certainly not in compliance with those rules. I told him that if that happened, “I think you guys are breaking the law.”

Suddenly Dimon got quiet. He leaned back and slowly smiled. “So hit me with a fine. We can afford it.”

Without Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, willing to challenge Wall Street head on with scant regard for the consequences, Dimon and his peers will continue to buy their way out of justice. If only there were greater numbers behind them.

Featured Image via Politico