JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon appeared before the Senate Banking Committee today to discuss the bungled trade that has cost his bank billions and reignited interest in the Volcker Rule, which is meant to rein in risky bank trading. During the course of the questioning, Dimon denied that he had called new bank capital requirements “anti-American,” which he had, and explained that he would be happy to get an apartment in Washington, D.C., so that Congress could consult him on financial regulations.
For the most part, the questions Dimon faced were not of the tough variety. In fact, Republicans on the committee were more interested in asking Dimon how Congress could make regulation more accommodating to the banks. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) even asked “what should the function of our regulators be?” Here are several other examples of Republican senators asking Dimon how he’d like his bank to be regulated:
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN): We’re here quizzing you. If you were sitting on this side of the dais, what would you do to make our system safer than it is and still meet the needs of a global economy like we have?
SEN. MIKE CRAPO (R-ID): Many people say our primary focus from our perspective in terms of policy should be to make sure the banks are properly capitalized. Should that be our primary focus and what other areas of oversight would be the most effective for us in terms of our regulatory structure?
SEN. JIM DEMINT (R-SC): I would like to come away from the hearing today with some ideas on what you think we need to do, what we maybe need to take apart that we’ve already done, to allow the industry to operate better.
SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): And you said something else that really sort caught me by surprise, and that was this testimony that nobody got all the parties in a room with people in your industry — Democrats, Republicans, and folks affected — and talked about what was needed and what really needed to be fixed. Did I hear you correctly there? Did you volunteer to be part of that conversation?
Just a few senators, including Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), took the opportunity to press Dimon on what went wrong at JP Morgan. If nothing else, the bank’s trading disaster makes the case for strengthening the Volcker Rule so that banks can’t gamble with taxpayer-backed money.