NEW YORK — Since President Trump’s election, Jamie Dimon has emerged as one of Wall Street’s most prominent voices in Washington. The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase serves on the White House business advisory council and is chairman of the powerful Business Roundtable.
But in a series of calls on Friday to discuss the big bank’s quarterly profits, Dimon vented his frustration with gridlock in Washington. “It’s almost embarrassing being an American citizen … and listening to the stupid s— we have to deal with in this country,” Dimon said in one conference call. The inability to make headway on significant legislation is “holding us back and it is hurting the average American. It isn’t a Republican issue; it is not a Democratic issue.”
Dimon did not directly criticize Trump, who considered appointing the Bronx native as treasury secretary. “The U.S.A. has to start to focus on policy which is good for all Americans and that is regulation, tax, education, we have to get those things done,” Dimon said.
JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup each reported larger-than-expected quarterly profits on Friday. The industry has received a boost from higher interest rates. JPMorgan’s second-quarter profits rose 13 percent to $7.03 billion compared with the same period last year. Revenue rose 4.7 percent to $26.41 billion.
Wells Fargo’s second-quarter profit rose to $5.81 billion, or $1.07 a share, compared with $5.56 billion, or $1.01 a share, during the same period last year. Citigroup’s second-quarter trading revenue fell 7 percent to $3.906 billion, better than the 12 percent decline company officials had predicted earlier.
But banking stocks declined slightly as investors appeared disappointed that JPMorgan and Citigroup reported declines in trading revenue. U.S. stock and bond markets have been relatively flat in recent months, making it more difficult to profit from market swings. JPMorgan also lowered how much it expects to bring in from net interest income, a key indicator of bank profitability, this year. Each company’s stock was down about 1 percent in early afternoon trading.
Trump has promised to loosen regulation of the banking sector that he says went too far after the 2008 financial crisis. That has raised hopes among big banks that they will have greater flexibility in how they use their money and gain relief from the yearly “stress tests” they must pass to prove they could survive another economic crisis. While the House has passed legislation encompassing many of the industry’s wishes, the Senate has yet to take up the issue, and banking executives now don’t expect significant action until next year.
The issues facing the United States are bigger than the bank’s quarterly profit reports, Dimon said. “Who cares about fixed-income trading in the last two weeks in June? I mean, seriously?”