JP Morgan Chase kicked off its annual meeting in New York Tuesday, with CEO Jamie Dimon telling shareholders he expects TARP re-payments to begin in a couple of weeks. But Dimon said he has no details on when JP Morgan can actually start paying back the money.
Dimon said JP Morgan is willing and able to pay back the TARP funds it received last fall. The bank got $25 billion in government money.
Dimon said the major event of 2008 for the bank was the "TARP experience."
He said that while the government acted boldly and bravely to help banks, the TARP program "morphed into something of a painful and different experience" than he expected.
Dimon also said that even with earnings down in 2008, it may have been the bank's "finest year." Dimon said the bank grew in every single business area in 2008.
Looking ahead, Dimon pointed to the first quarter of 2009, when JP Morgan posted a return on equity of 20 percent and a net margin of 19 percent on record revenue of $8.3 billion and record earnings of $1.6 billion.
Dimon said the bank will look at the raising the dividend at the end of the year, when he said the bank might be "out of the woods." JP Morgan's dividend was cut to 5 cents a share in February for the bank to save some $5 billion a year.
As for the overall economy, Dimon said that we are possibly seeing a bottom, but said we don't know for sure yet.
Dimon also said he agrees with the idea of a systemic regulator for the banking system. And while he said executive compensation aggravated the financial crisis, it didn't cause it.
At last year's meeting, shareholders were questioning JP Morgan's purchase of Bear Sterns and Washington Mutual, but that concern seems to have abated. Dimon has said recently that government regulators may still look to JP Morgan to "do something in terms of more acquisitions."