JP Morgan Chase accepted a “crisis management” award at an event Thursday night that rewarded the bank for the way it handled the London Whale trading crisis that cost the bank at least $6 billion. The trade set the financial world ablaze when the firm’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, announced it, considering JP Morgan had been the strongest megabank throughout the financial crisis and Dimon often bragged of its “fortress balance sheet.”
But the firm handled the crisis with flying colors, at least according to award presenters, the Wall Street Journal reports:
“J.P. Morgan Chase is winning for its handling of the $6.2 billion trading loss by the London Whale last year,” the event’s host, CNN anchor Ali Velshi, said. “I would say that’s what you call making lemonade out of lemons.”
Kathy Hu, an executive director in J.P. Morgan’s investor relations department, accepted the award and quipped: “Can I just say, ‘Crisis? What crisis?’”
The United States Senate took a slightly different view. In a bipartisan report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued last week, senators blasted the bank for misleading regulators and sidestepping regulations that should have banned the type of trades that kept the loss from occurring.
JP Morgan has been among the fiercest lobbyists against regulations like the Volcker Rule, which was meant to keep financial institutions that have the backing of taxpayers from engaging in risky forms of trading that result in large losses that could pose a risk to the overall economy. As U.S. News and World Report’s Pat Garofalo explained, this should have been a lesson in why the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and the rules it contains should be strengthened. Instead, it won JP Morgan an award.