CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: JP Morgan CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon Speaks with CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” Today
WHEN: Today, Monday, September 24, 2018
WHERE: CNBC’s “Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer”
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The following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with JPMorgan CEO And Chairman Jamie Dimon and CNBC’s Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer” (M-F 6PM – 7PM) today, Monday, September 24th, as JPMorgan opens its first retail location in Philadelphia. The following is a link to video from the “Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer” interview on CNBC.com:
‘I don’t think I would be good at’ being president: Dimon
Jim Cramer: When President Trump signed the massive tax reform bill into law, company after company told us they were paying workers one time bonuses or boosting their dividends and stepping up their buybacks. Nothing wrong with anything, you know I like that, but it’s not exactly ideal for the economy. However a few companies decided to go in a different direction. Take JPMorgan, the world’s largest bank. Sure, they continued to buy back stock. But you know what else they did with that extra cash? They announced a plan to invest $20 billion over five years in order to raise wages and expand their businesses, including new bank branches and more lending. Today we learned some concrete details when JPMorgan announced a major expansion of its presence in the Greater Philadelphia Metro Area. The bank is opening 50 new branches, committing to more than $3 billion in home and small business loans. As a native Philadelphian, this is the kind of thing I can’t ignore. So earlier today we checked in with Jamie Dimon, the CEO And Chairman Jamie Dimon Chase and the longest serving chief of the major banks. If you were watching "Squawk Alley" this morning you saw part of this conversation, but we had a lot more to talk about, so take a look.
Cramer: Jamie, you’re chasing – you really are – you’re chasing a picture. And I am looking around this area where banks can still make a difference. I’m so used to the Squares and I am used to the fintech and I’m used to thinking bricks and mortar are dead. It’s clearly not dead.
Jamie Dimon: No. A million people visit our branches every day. Even the – even like the average millennial visits three time a quarter. And so – and then we’re -- but the branches change in size, they morph. They get smaller, they’re more dynamic, ATMs do more. And then when you walk in there may be less people, more advisors: financial advisors, small business, mortgage advisors. And we are adding all the digital, P2P, real-time. You Invest. You can buy -- if you are a good client, which you are –
Cramer: Thank you.
Dimon: you can buy and sell stocks for free now. We are going to give you self-directed investing, more financial education around FICO scores and how you can save money. And so, you know, we are doing all of it.
Cramer: But I want to talk about -- look, I have an image of JPMorgan from the history books, okay. I have an image of it that it is the rich person’s bank. You are talking about millennials, you’re talking about neighborhoods like this. You are standing on its head what JPMorgan is.
Dimon: Yeah, yeah. Well “JPMorgan” name is really being used for a global investment banking, private banking. Chase and the old Bank One, those retail branches are nationwide and they do 60 million households across the full spectrum. We do lower-middle income households up to -- we have Chase private client. You may not remember we started that like eight years ago, there was one branch. Chase private client which gives financial advice is in almost 4,000 branches today. And it is going quite well, thank you. Yeah.
Cramer: Okay, so why could Citi not make it here? They spent $50 million throughout this town of Philadelphia and they closed. And the term they used, Jamie, was because it was, “unprofitable.” Why should it be profitable for you?
Dimon: Yep, again, I don’t know their issues. But we are very careful. We opened 50 branches. Obviously they will lose money in the short run but we hope -- not hope, I am pretty sure, the only question is how long, that you know after five, six years they’re making a million dollar a year profit. Okay? It takes a while. It is not like a McDonalds which could be making that kind of profit on day one. But that -- and then when we come to town remember, we have credit cards, mortgages, auto, retail. Those banks will serve local community organizations. They will serve private bank clients, small business clients. In fact, our average branch, something like 25% of the business. Is the local small business guy who needs a branch down the street, to drop off currency, coins and do contracts, sign up merchant processing, and etcetera.
Cramer: Well these are things that I think are integral to the comeback of a town. But at the same time I remember Tony West, Associate Attorney General, saying about your settlement: “…we wanted to make sure that those who were responsible for conduct that contributed to the worst crisis since the Great Depression accounted for their actions. We wanted to be able to secure an acknowledgment of what happened by JPMorgan through a factual statement… For us, that statement of fact is important as money...” And they held you accountable for Bear and for Washington Mutual.
Cramer: Where’s the due process?
Dimon: There wasn’t.
Cramer: Did they ever show you the $13 billion? A billion here, 2 billion there?
Dimon: We had asked -- my board had asked me “Can we show it?” And they didn’t. I really don’t know what happened. So I think the government one day should really look at that and -- you know, at the time people were so angry, legitimately. And we didn’t cause the crisis and we didn’t need the TARP, but they were mad. But I just prefer to look forward now. I mean, we grew right through that. We took care of our clients right through that. I don’t agree with a lot of things Mr. West. But that’s, you know, life – I’ll write my book about that stuff. Okay?
Cramer: You are writing a book?
Dimon: I am going to write one one day. I am.
Cramer: I’m gonna ask you -- I’m trying to figure out who your successor will be, but I don’t see a Jamie Dimon slowing down at all.
Dimon: No I love what I do. And I just got back --
Cramer: You are the longest serving of these – of the major bankers. You’re --
Dimon: I’m going to miss – you know, Lloyd and I are good friends and I am going to miss Lloyd. I’ll still be -- he will still be a friend, and I’ll still see him. But, the board and I announced -- obviously it is up to the board -- that I will stay for five more years. But personally, and I am speaking for the board, we believe that there are several people on the management team who could do my job today. So I think they are going to have a choice that is very good and they can change it at will, that we have a lot of good people in the pipeline who could do this job. They will do it differently. But hopefully we will leave behind a great company and they can take it where they need to take it in the next five to 20 years.
Cramer: There are a number of CEOs who have been thinking – well obviously President Trump is a CEO. Bloomberg, thinking once again, hat in the ring. Howard Schultz, going back and forth. Isn’t it time for a CEO to run, say – I’m not sure what party affiliation you have, maybe it’s none – but a CEO from the banking community to run for President, or is it too soon after what happened?
Dimon: Well, you know, look – I’ve been wrong because I didn’t – I thought a billionaire from New York couldn’t become President and President Trump did. I think it’s probably too soon for a banker. Mike Bloomberg is not a banker. Mike Bloomberg was mayor of a city for twelve years, did a great job. He’s very smart, and he’s very knowledgeable. He’d get the best and the brightest. He has to make his own evaluation, whether it makes sense for him to do it. But – and CEOs might have the skills to do it, but it doesn’t mean they have all the skills to do it. I think political skills are real, and they develop it over time. And, you know, I think good policy, good administration, logic, facts, analysis, cost benefit stuff, that’s not Democrat or Republican. I do think skills from a CEO can be very helpful in Washington. And I think good policy needs to be in Washington.
Cramer: Jamie, it sounds like you really did genuinely evaluate whether you should run, and whether you should – if you wind up your term and then say, “Hey, listen, I’ll explore it.” Have you explored it?
Dimon: I have not explored it.
Cramer: You have not thought about it – with friends, with --, with anyone --
Dimon: Good friends have mentioned it to me. And I thought about it – I haven’t thought about it with any real official investigation --
Cramer: How about an unofficial?
Dimon: No. I mean it was on my mind because people mentioned it. But it’s not what I want to do. I don’t think I would be good at it. I’m not a political person, per say. So— and I love what do I.
Cramer: But you are “tougher and smarter” than some of our politicians.
Dimon: I shouldn’t have said that.
Cramer: You’re -- that’s kind of unequivocal.
Dimon: What I should have said – I was joking around. What I should – I should focus on policy that matters. We have serious policy – we have the greatest country on the planet, but we have serious policy issues around infrastructure. We fixed corporate taxation. Proper regulation. Inner city schools. Development in neighborhoods. Affordable housing. The opioid crisis. Getting people back to work. Income inequality needs to be fixed.
Cramer: Yeah, but the politicians seem to have -- in your view, politicians have let us down – or let these people down. And bankers have to take up the slack because we’re in a new country and a new economy where the capitalists – and this is something our friend Ken Langone would say – that the capitalists have to step up because the politicians failed us.
Dimon: I think business has to step up because business has – remember, 85% of people work for business. If we don’t have the strongest economy on the planet, we won’t have the strongest military on the planet. If we don’t have the strongest economy, we won’t have jobs, wages or any of that, or innovation. That we need. Then you’ve got to figure out how to solve the problems.
Dimon: So some of the things you have to do in government are just – set the highway sidelines so that it works well. And then you still may have problems that have to be fixed after that, like – like, income inequality. So I do think we need to work more on earned income taxed credits. Maybe a negative income tax to help lower paid have a living wage. So those are policy issues that eventually Washington will have to face. And that’s why CEOs are popular today, too – because people are saying, “Well – it worked for the big companies, but it didn’t work for us.” And there’s some truth to that. There are segments it didn’t work for. And I think business, working with government, and civic society because you need people on the ground – local not-for-profits, can fix these issues that government can’t alone do and business alone can’t do.
Cramer: Alright. Last question. The City Of Brotherly Love welcomes you. What do you think is going to be right – just in these, just say 50 blocks, what will it look like, or what do you want it to look like, when you come back five years from now?
Dimon: So we’ll – you’ll – hopefully more affordable housing. Hopefully a Chase branch or two down here. More small businesses. A couple of schools graduating kids who are going to be getting jobs. That’s what we want. And, gentrification is always a possibility. But if you do affordable housing right and jobs right, you can avoid some of the gentrification.
Cramer: Well, thank you so much, Jamie Dimon. Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan.