Dimon to CNBC: 'We're Going to Get Through This'
After getting through a Capitol Hill grilling that turned out to be less hostile than expected, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told CNBC that he's ready to get back to work.
The embattled head of the Wall Street titan had to explain how the company lost at least $2 billion in the so-called London Whale trade, a debacle that has intensified calls for more bank regulations.
Appearing relaxed and relieved, Dimon said his job now is to face shareholders, deal with the rest of the fallout from the loss and to move ahead.
"It's going to be really bad. We really need to put on (our) jerseys, figure it out, and we're going to get through this," Dimon said in an exclusive interview during which he explained what his message was to employees. "We're going to wrestle it down, we're going to confess our sins, we're going to move on and hopefully we're not going to take our eye off the ball, which is (to) run our business."
Questions from senators focused on whether the Dodd-Frankbanking reforms are helping or hindering the industry, as well as a general autopsy of how an institution considered to be perhaps the best-run bank in the country could have let such a mistake happen.
The trade was meant to be hedge against U.S. company weakness but instead turned into a high-risk gamble that went terribly wrong. Dimon was taken to task particularly for telling shareholders on April 13 that news over the trade was a "tempest in a teapot," a remark he has since had to walk back.
"Almost everyone up and down the line thought this was temporary, it was a small thing blown way out of proportion," he said. "I obviously believed it. I obviously was wrong."
Now, he said, the company will intensify its focus on convincing investors that the company is working to correct the mistake.
Dimon refused to give an exact accounting of how much JPMorgan lost on the deal, saying he "probably" will disclose the amount to investors after the second-quarter earnings report comes out next month.
He also offered some defense for Ina Drew, the since-fired executive who ran the firm's London Chief Investment Office.
"When you're playing with fire you have belts and suspenders . She's done an exceptional job for a long time," Dimon said. "This synthetic credit, it needed a different risk metric and different controls...The system didn't do that. Obviously we should have done that."