Ex JPM exec Staley: don't worry about 'calamitous' default

James E. Staley
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

A former top bank executive doesn't believe Wall Street is being too complacent to the possibility of a U.S. debt default.

"The markets tend to collectively have a pretty good read on these things," said former J.P. Morgan Chase banker James. E "Jes" Staley at The Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street Live event in Manhattan Monday.

"We all…recognize that a default on U.S. debt would so dramatically change the financial landscape it would be calamitous on so many different levels…People recognize that it's a de minimis if any possibility that we would be so reckless as to threaten what is basically the foundation of the global financial markets."

Staley spent more than thirty years at J.P. Morgan and was CEO of its investment banking and asset management units. He joined $15 billion hedge fund firm BlueMountain Capital Management as managing partner in January.