The New Republic: The Crumbling Cult of Jamie Dimon

The New Republic, May 26, 2020: The Crumbling Cult of Jamie Dimon

Under the most extraordinary circumstances imaginable, Jamie Dimon, the chairman, CEO, and president of JPMorgan Chase, has noticed an incredibly obvious thing: Everything might not be going great; perhaps the economy is not working as intended.

In a shareholder memo released last week, Dimon wrote, “The last few months have laid bare the reality that, even before the pandemic hit, far too many people were living on the edge.” Clarifying that he didn’t mean “living on the edge” in some sort of cool or badass way, Dimon called on “business and government” to “confront the structural obstacles that have inhibited inclusive economic growth for years.”

The memo—unsurprisingly—did not conclude with an announcement that JPMorgan Chase would voluntarily close up shop and hand off whatever actually productive and useful business it engages in to community banks or credit unions or the United States Postal Service. It contained an account of the many people the bank had helped by delaying mortgage payments or extending credit but was silent on whether and how the bank’s normal way of doing business might have to change to confront those obstacles to more equitable growth. Dimon is a serial Noticer That Things Could Be Better, but he has always remained quite vague on why those things could be better or what might be required to improve them.

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