Perhaps the most frustrating thing about arrogant people is they are almost always blind to their own arrogance. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is a case in point. Indubitably a very smart guy, but success and greed have gone to his head so much he thinks he’s always right. His dismissive comment on Wednesday that Sen. Elizabeth Warren doesn’t “fully understand the global banking system” puts his arrogance on display for all to see.
For the record, Warren is a distinguished Harvard Law School professor who specialized in bankruptcy law who has a great deal of experience in both finance and economics.
Dimon was speaking at a conference in Chicago on Wednesday. Following his remarks, Dimon also said he would meet with Warren any time she wants.
A spokesperson for Warren had no comment.
Warren has chided “finance guys”
In Jamie Dimon’s defense, Elizabeth Warren has been highly critical of Wall Street and the leadership of the financial industry for some time. In a speech a few weeks ago, Warren took “finance guys” who assert she and others can’t understand their business to task.
“The finance guys argue that if you’re never in the club, you can’t understand it, but I think they have it backward,” she commented. “Not being in the club means not drinking the Kool-Aid.”
Most bankers are smart, but no smarter than people in many other professions, Warren said. Moreover, when their mistakes resulted in the financial crisis, they “took care of themselves and their bonuses while millions of people lost everything.”
Warren was the chair of the congressional oversight panel for the Treasury’s 2008 bailout of the financial sector. She was a major force behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that protects Americans from predatory financial products that was created after the crisis.
“The problem was never that I didn’t understand what the finance guys were doing,” she noted in her comments in April. “The problem was that I understood exactly what the finance guys were doing. I knew it, and they knew it.”
Jamie Dimon and Elizabeth Warren have a history
Dimon and Warren have exchanged words on at least a couple of occasions in the past. In a recent afterword for her book, “A Fighting Chance,” Warren mentioned a visit by Jamie Dimon to her office just after she was sworn in. She claimed their conversation became heated when Dimon complained of increasing regulation, and then she told him new CFPB rules could mean problems for the bank.
Warren said Dimon “leaned back and slowly smiled,” and then said, “So hit me with a fine. We can afford it.”
A JPM spokesman denied that Jamie Dimon said that when the story first surfaced a couple of months ago.
Dimon recalled meeting with Warren as the CFPB was being established to discuss credit cards. He quoted her as highly complimentary of one of the bank’s products: “By the way I have your credit card, and I love it.”