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Jamie Dimon mentions shutdown in JP Morgan earnings release, urges leaders to change tone

Key Points
  • J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon implores political leaders to "strike a collaborative, constructive tone" and work together as the new year begins.
  • "Businesses, government and communities need to work together to solve problems and help strengthen the economy," he added.
  • The bank chief's comments came amid the longest funding lapse in U.S. history, stemming from disagreement over appropriations for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan Chase. 
Brian Snyder | Reuters

J.P. Morgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon urged U.S. political leaders on Tuesday to work together in order to sustain business and consumer confidence as the new year begins.

"As we head into 2019, we urge our country's leaders to strike a collaborative, constructive tone, which would reinforce already-strong consumer and business sentiment," Dimon told J.P. Morgan shareholders in a press release detailing the company's fourth-quarter financial results.

"Businesses, government and communities need to work together to solve problems and help strengthen the economy for the benefit of everyone," he added.

The bank chief's comments came amid the longest funding lapse in U.S. history, which has left parts of the government shut down and hundreds of thousands of federal workers without pay. The government shutdown stems largely from disagreement between Republicans and Democrats over appropriations for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, one of President Donald Trump's chief campaign promises.

About 800,000 U.S. employees missed their first paycheck Friday, with airport security lines clogging and economic growth taking a modest hit. The extended government closure has sparked anger across the political spectrum, with a majority of Americans believing that Trump bears more blame for the shutdown than congressional Democrats, according to three polls released Monday and Sunday.

Dimon, 62, has not shied away from voicing his own frustrations with the Oval Office in the past. He took a swipe at Trump in September, claiming that he could defeat the president in a head-to-head election.

I think I could beat Trump, " Dimon said at the time. "Because I'm as tough as he is, I'm smarter than he is. I would be fine. He could punch me all he wants, it wouldn't work with me. I'd fight right back."

Shortly after, Dimon addressed the uproar caused by his comments: "I should not have said it. I'm not running for president," the CEO said about an hour after the original exchange.

But Dimon, who has been CEO of J.P. Morgan since 2005, has also expressed optimism when talking about the strength of the U.S. economy. Last June, he said the current uptrend in the business cycle could last years.

"The way I look at it, there is nothing that is a real pothole," he said. "Business sentiment is almost at the highest level it's ever been, consumer sentiment is at its highest levels, markets are wide open, housing's in short supply and my guess is mortgage credit will expand a little bit."

Still, the nation's largest bank on Tuesday posted quarterly profit below analysts' expectations for the first time in 15 quarters on weaker-than-expected bond-trading revenue.

—CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed reporting.

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