JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the biggest and most profitable U.S. bank, expanded last year amid “hostility” toward the industry and as economic growth stagnated, according to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon.

“2011 was another year of challenges, both for JPMorgan Chase and for countries around the world,” Dimon wrote in a year-end e-mail to staff. “There is a lot of frustration out there and more than a little hostility toward our industry.”

Dimon, 55, respects the right of people to “speak their mind” and acknowledged their frustrations, he wrote in the Dec. 20 e-mail. Everyone has an interest in spurring the economy and creating jobs, he wrote.

JPMorgan hired 16,000 people in the U.S. in 2011, Dimon said in the letter, expanding its total workforce to more than 260,000 in a year when financial companies announced more than 200,000 job cuts and protests against Wall Street firms spread worldwide. The New York-based lender is adding about 175 branches a year in the U.S., he said.

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