Transcript: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on “Face the Nation,” Dec. 11, 2022

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The following is a transcript of an interview with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon that aired Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”


MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m so glad, first of all, that we’re finally doing this.

JAMIE DIMON: I’m thrilled too, I know it’s been a while.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So let’s start off with why we’re here. Why is America’s best known banker in an inner city, low income neighborhood in Baltimore?

DIMON: I think it’s a- it’s a kind of a microcosm of banks do, which is to lift up society. So most people think of us as an investment bank and a private bank and commercial bank, and we do all those things. But we also bank you know, at 25%, of our branches are in lower income neighborhoods, and we want to lift them up too. And so this is branch here is a uni-, we’re brand- we’re new to Maryland. So we’re now in 48 states. 30% of the branches here in lower income neighborhoods. They’re in communities. We work with local government folks, local not for profits, then you show the mayor, governor-elect, what do they need and we call it a community branch, means the community manager gets to know all of the local folks – the churches, the schools, the businesses, and we invite people in for education about mortgages, wealth, starting a business, etc. We use local vendors for food to build the place. We hire locally, so their paychecks going out in the local neighborhood. And you can see the spirit of the people. I mean, it’s very uplifting. And so it’s just part of what we do. And then we come into town. We bring everything else to government for not for profit banking, we bank cities, schools, states hospitals. So it’s just a wonderful way to help lift up communities. And it’s extremely critical for America to focus on helping the underprivileged. I think it’s a mistake to just drive by and say that’s not our problem. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mhmm.

DIMON: And so you see a lot of companies doing it. I’m proud of all the people to do it. And it’s good for business. I mean, if you lift up society, it hurts- it helps everybody. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, that’s what I want to ask you. Because you’ve done this now in Detroit, you’ve done this here, you’ve done it in parts of Dallas. You’re not a charity, you’re doing this for profit.

DIMON: Yeah. So people look at that there’s a little piece of charitable money, which sometimes I call an accelerator. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mhm.

DIMON: So if you can put that little piece of charity and on top that you can build $100 million of loans. But , but it’s not done for charities, it’s got to be sustainable. Things which aren’t sustainable don’t work very well. And so- But once we’ve got collaboration with local government, we’re here, we- we intend to make a profit here and open accounts here and do things like that. Like I said, if you lift up Baltimore, it lifts up every business here. It lifts up all the people. you have more jobs, more wages, better social outcomes, better real estate value, so it’s critical we do it and it is very good for business in the long run. And if everyone did it, you know, it’d be very good for all of America. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: If everybody did this?

DIMON: If everyone – and a lot companies- (crosstalk)

BRENNAN: Bank of America’s across the street over there, is that where- where you’re talking about?

DIMON: Well I’m not going to mention any competitors, but this is a much nicer looking branch.

(Both laugh)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, when you – I mean, just fundamentally – when you, when you lend money, both parties are at risk. So in coming in here, JP Morgan has to change some of the parameters because you’re reaching people who are unbanked. 

DIMON: Yes

MARGARET BRENNAN: How do you know if someone is credit worthy If they’ve never owned a home, they’ve never had a bank account? How do you know you’re making a good bet? 

DIMON: It’s a great question. So when you try, when you’re here and you ask and you know the neighborhoods and you work with government, you do multiple things, So we do special things. We have- we call special credit, I won’t go through legal parameters, but you can do  – use other facts that are not used in traditional underwriting, like do you- have you paid rent for 10 years? So you and I would both say, if there is a mother or father or family paying rent for 10 years, that’s a good credit sign, so we take a little bit of a stretch on that. 

And so we live and learn, and so you can use a lot of data to do that. The government here, realize when it comes to lifting up neighborhoods, you can’t do- you can’t have a block where 50 homes, you know, 50 townhouses are bad or destroyed, and 50 are occupied. You have to lift all of them up. 

So the government here came up with a very special program, to put in the seed money to rehab-fit the whole block. Once they rehab the whole block, we can step in and start making mortgages. So people can buy the homes and live there. And so there are- there are multiple paths to do it. On the entrepreneur of color fund that we do with small businesses, you know, we get- we give them an advisor too.That gives us great comfort that they’re doing the right things.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’ve been critical in the past, though of government-backed lenders like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for their role in the last crisis and, and loosening up the ability to take loans. This was all at that time well intended – 

DIMON: Yes

MARGARET BRENNAN: -to boost homeownership

DIMON: Yes (crosstalk)

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you can have a good intention and fix it wrong (crosstalk)

DIMON: You’re absolutely correct. You know, things done badly are bad. And so there are a lot of examples where lenders did the wrong thing and the case banks and stuff like that, but we test, we learn, we test, we learn. And so this –  these are not government programs, these are programs that we do that we’re pretty comfortable doing a good thing. Do we take extra risk. Yes, but that’s part of our job. We’ve banked venture capital companies, we bank startups, we bank a lot of people. We’re adults, we’re big boys, we know that their credit cycles thing go up or down. 

So we’re not taking so much risk that it’s going to sink a company. Remember, Fannie and Freddie went bankrupt. The government paid, you know, hundreds of billions of dollars in that. And the other thing there by the way is some of the underwriting was hidden. People didn’t actually know what other people – with people were doing in the underwriting which is not the case you here.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the overall intent of boosting homeownership you believe is really important? 

DIMON: Yes. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But in this moment we’re in right now – you have mortgage rates -what? About 7%? 

DIMON: 6 1/2 % yeah

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah, right around there. It’s hard to get access, but the Fed’s also trying to cool off a housing market bubble. 

DIMON: Yeah

MARGARET BRENNAN: So why try – 

DIMON: Another good question. We look right through that – so this isn’t we’re not doing this and pulling in or pulling out our horns because the markets are good or bad. This is, you get to a community, you start doing it. 

So obviously, we’re probably making less mortgages now because of higher rates, but we’re in the community, we’re gonna have loan officers in the community, we’re gonna learn more about the community. And we will look past the actual rates. And remember the important thing about mortgages – and this is why I do criticize some public policy sometimes – mortgages are how most Americans got their their net worth. And if you can’t get a smaller mortgage to buy a house, it’s hard to build your net worth. Mortgages are also, by the way, how often people funded their small business startup. So it is absolutely critical. 

And you know one of the things we’ve been trying to change a little bit is because of all excessive rules now, and I’m not talking about things would make risk worse about origination, servicing, securitization, the cost of a small mortgage is probably 50 basis points higher than it should be. So that $150,000 mortgage or $200,000 mortgage is less affordable by a lot of people. And that’s because of regulatory policy. That’s not because of bank policy. And so, you know, I think there are things that could be done that can make mortgages far more affordable.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, if but you’re saying not at this moment, you’re not necessarily expecting- (crosstalk)

DIMON: No they should change that right now.  Yeah.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So bigger picture on this effort right now, you said it’s important to be trying to do things to address and build up communities. So if you’re trying to combat discrimination, boost racial equity, that’s admirable. But the other side of the coin is a critic would say a big bad Wall Street bank is loading debt onto poor people. How do you respond to that? Because-

DIMON: That’s a fairly ignorant person 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well-

DIMON: We- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You just spent a lot of time in Washington, I’m sure you have heard a lot of criticism of Big Bad banks (crosstalk)

DIMON: But that’s a different issue. We’re not trying to load debt on anyone. And yes, I hear about big bank banks, but we’re here, we’re doing jobs. We want to make good mortgages, we want to do good small business loans, you want to educate people how to open an account, how to save money, we’ve got products that are special for lower income communities- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right 

DIMON: We are going to do that. It is good for this community. If this community does better, it’s good for this community. It doesn’t hurt any other community. In fact, it helps them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But how do you reassure folks who say the lender shouldn’t be the educator?

DIMON: Well we’re educating them about how to save money

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s what those classes are about? (crosstalk)

DIMON: Yeah, how to save money, how to buy a home, how to manage a business, if you start a business, how to get a- how to sign a lease, how to negotiate a government contract, so a lot of its education, it’s not lending money. So you know, there’s a specific account we have is an account where you know, you get a debit card, checking account, all the services, ATM services, branch services, can’t overdraft. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You can’t overdraft?

DIMON: No, if you buy this account, it does not allow an overdraft. So we have a lot of products and services. we live and learn. And I don’t worry about naysayers all the time. You know, we go- we we have a TrueNorth. We know what we’re doing. We lift up societies around the world. We do it from low income to high income, we do- we bank governments, we bank the IMF, we bank the World Bank, we bank middle market companies, we make small businesses, we’re in lower income neighborhoods. And we want to help- we want to do it all well, and we’ve done it all well. We’re quite comfortable with all the things we do and and that they’re also good for shareholders in the long run.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you’ve been doing this particular program since roughly 2020. Put about $18 billion into it. 

DIMON: Yup

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you want to expand it?

DIMON: Yeah, so we’ve been doing programs like this for a long time. The biggest lesson to us, and we did this huge effort in Detroit. So Detroit is one of the major American cities that had not had a renaissance. They ended up with a fabulous mayor, Mayor Duggan, we worked with him, we did an extended ten- almost in the 10th year anniversary – $250 million. I won’t repeat all the same things, a lot of the similar things here. But working with local nonprofits, local institutions, local government, and it works you know, you can turn a city, you can make it work better, you can- have you go- go to the- go into downtown Detroit and look at it today versus what it was 15 years ago, then you can see the powerful effort. That kind of informed us, you know what, we could do this in other places, in different ways. And so we’re always learning, but we now-  we have now of doing something like this in 15 cities

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do those states, do those governors and mayors come to you or are you still-

DIMON: They- sometimes. But you know, we we talk we obviously talk to a lot of them, but I think you’ve heard you know, Peter Scher talk about that the collaboration is what makes it. We’re not asking for gifts from cities or states or anything like that. But we also need their help. Like I gave you that very specific example about affordable housing here. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes. 

DIMON: So that the rules laws are different in Michigan and are different in other places. So if you’ve got people working together works, if you know if the local government doesn’t like business and you know turns the scans and doesn’t, you know, thinks we’re bad. So no, it’s hard to want to do business there and they’re making a mistake. What they should do is go to Detroit. Come here. Visit a branch, see what policy works and what policy doesn’t work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So in cities across the country right now, there’s a homelessness problem. 

DIMON: Yeah. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And it’s some of it is linked to many issues, but one of them is just accessible, and affordable housing. What incentive do you see for a developer right now to go in and try to take a loan and build up that kind of housing, like what is preventing that?

DIMON: we are one of the biggest affordable lending in the in the country and a lot other banks do a lot of great job with that too. It is- first of all it’s very local. It could be zoning laws, it could be requirements, it could be building requirements. It could be logo construct- it could be a million different things. But we often provide either the equity or the debt or the mezzanine, to build affordable housing, we do it everywhere. So I can give you- I’d have to send you a big position papers- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right

DIMON: different by every state. It is a big deal. It can be done, but you really need to have competent, affordable housing policies. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that comes down as you’re saying to these community relationships- (crosstalk) 

DIMON: It’s community-

MARGARET BRENNAN: that you have to try to solve

DIMON: And community laws, there are community laws, there are city laws, there are federal laws, there- A lot is legal stuff.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I mean, you’ve been in Washington for a few days, have you talked about this with lawmakers? I mean at the national level (crosstalk)

DIMON: I’ve talked about the mortgage thing. Oh I’ve talked a lot of these things all the time. I go to Washington all the time, you know-

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the acute homelessnes-

DIMON: No. That’s hard for us to do, we do affordable housing. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yup

DIMON: And, all these other issues are so local, you got to really get into the local level. So our people get involved in that. And, and we get involved in federal policies. But I think one really important thing, this is a microcosm of what a bank does. And you know, and then other businesses, you heard about other businesses coming to lower income neighborhoods and what they’re doing. But it’s- but the most important thing is also government federal policy, around infrastructure, education, taxation, regulation, health care. So we, you know, we got to tackle these problems from both sides, good public policy at the federal level, good public policy at the state level. And then people like us doing our job, you know, that we’re- that we we’re meant to do. Finance, grow, develop people’s dreams, help them accomplish their goals.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So big picture, because you’ve lived through a lot of crisis in this country. And just looking back, you were at the helm during the financial crisis and the Great Recession, sovereign debt crisis, the pandemic. This moment we are in feels like a transition point and inflection point. And I wonder how you think about where America is at this moment.

DIMON: Yeah. I think- I mean, I think it’s very important people understand, America is the most prosperous nation the world’s ever seen. Our basic principles of freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, are unbelievable. The innovation is unparalleled anywhere around the world. So start with that. It’s an amazing position of strength. The economy is going through a bunch of things, and you just mentioned them COVID, and stuff like that. And we don’t, we don’t always really know whether you have a mild recession or hard recession. And if it happens, we’re going to be fine. I feel bad, terrible, for people who lose jobs. We want to keep it as short as possible. I do think you’re right about a turning point. But that turning point is about geopolitics. That’s about Ukraine, oil, Russia, war, migration, food, national security, China trade, that whole bucket of things. And I’d put in that category, quantitative tightening, which is basically reducing the liquidity in the banking system in the world. That that is actually  – forget us for a second – that it could  be very difficult – high dollar, the dollar going up – higher rates and quantitative tightening on smaller countries around the world

MARGARET BRENNAN: The World Bank and the IMF have been warning about this for a while.

DIMON: Yes.  And some say you got to put that whole mix in -what’s happening in geopolitics, I would say that that’s critical. And Ukraine is a turning point. You know, Ukraine is a turning point where, you know, maybe all this sort of self- illusion that we had that some how the world’s at peace, and everything would be fine, that should have been shattered. And therefore we should be thinking about how can America do great in the next 100 years? What policies should we have? Obviously, it’s a change. And you know, I hold our military in the highest regard. But what they accomplish around the world is extraordinary. But what do we need, and part is just having a very strong economy, which helps pay for all this, and it has to be done with our allies, otherwise, you’re not going to end up with the world that we really want.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When I looked at your last shareholder letter, which I know you take a direct role in writing

DIMON: Word -I write every word. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, that was April so-  

DIMON: I get help, but I write every word.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You, everyone, everyone goes through a process and thinking through these things, and when you ranked some of the things worrying you, Ukraine was right up there-

DIMON: Yeah

MARGARET BRENNAN: with all the domestic issues. That was right after the war started. 

DIMON: Yeah

MARGARET BRENNAN: And now we’re at a point where some would look and say, okay, it wasn’t the worst case scenario in Europe in terms of severe recession. They’re finding ways to get oil and gas elsewhere. Do you think in the same way now, as you did-

DIMON: Absolutely 

MARGARET BRENNAN: -then in terms of risk?

DIMON: I think even more so. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Really?

DIMON: That’s a false sense of security that you’ve had this war going on, you know, for nine months or whatever, and that somehow it’s okay. Oil prices went way up. Europe’s going through a recession. Migration has been extraordinary. You haven’t seen the full effect of food prices around the world. If you go to Europe, they- they would – they’re taking this much more seriously than Americans are. They’re on the front line, you had those missiles going to Poland. You have, basically nuclear blackmail. I mean, it is as serious as you can get. So we should all hope it goes away, that there’s some kind of armistice or settlement. You know, that’s good for Ukraine, by the way.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. 

DIMON: But this is, this is the Western world under attack. I mean, this is to take it – anything like that. And wars, if you read the history of wars, they don’t start, they don’t end the way people think they would when they started.

MARGARET BRENNAN: No

DIMON: So that’s like every war. And so the danger of this war is extraordinary. And it can go on for years. But this oil and gas thing, it looks like they’re, you know, the Europeans will get through it this winter. But this oil and gas problem is going to go on for years. So I, you know, if I was, you know, in the government or anywhere else, I’d say, I have to prepare for getting much worse. I hope it doesn’t. But I would definitely be preparing for it to get much worse.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What does that look like to you in terms of what should be prepared for on the energy front? 

DIMON: Well I-  I was – so it’s multiple things. On the energy front, we need secure, reliable, cheap oil and gas. The problem, you know, a lot of people think that oil and gas prices being high is good for CO2. It’s not.  So cheap, reliable – you’re looking to Germany, I mean, the Europeans are terrified. Their – their energy prices are 2, 3, 4, 5 times ours, which is hurting consumers, which the governments have to do something about, and it’s hurting businesses. You know, and, and, and it’s just started. And so the pain and suffering could get a lot worse. So, and it has the benefit, lower prices have the benefit of having more production. Okay. They have the benefit of helping poor nations, lower income individuals, our allies who are desperate for more secure energy, and CO2, because quite predictably-

MARGARET BRENNAN: Carbon emissions. 

DIMON: Carbon emissions  – because quite predictably carbon emissions are going up, because nations rich and poor around the world are turning on -back on their coal plants. They cannot afford expensive energy, and they can’t afford no energy. So you know to me – to solve climate, we kind of need all the above, permitting, plants, gas is the best and cleanest way to reduce coal, which is the best way to reduce CO2. So we are really thoughtful policy, confident the policy would get us there. But it also is military policy, economic policy, including trade. So when I say economic, I’m talking about you know trade is one thing, but economic is investment rights. So anything that relates to national security will have to be changed –  like you know about semiconductor, rare earths – 

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m going to ask you all about that. Yeah. 

JAMIE DIMON: And OK so that’ll if you ask me later, I’ll wait. But those are all things that have to be fixed.

MARGARET BRENNAN:  Let’s button up on economy –  on energy, though, because, you know, President Biden has called it Putin – Putin’s price spike. But he’s also blamed price inflation on corporate profits. And I know this irritates you. 

DIMON: Yeah

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve argued energy costs are not high because of price gouging, but because of the dramatic decline in investments in energy, which results in reduced supply when demand goes up. So if that’s true, what is it going to take to increase lending to companies so they can make those investments? 

DIMON: Yeah 

MARGARET BRENNAN: is that the choke point?

DIMON: Yeah, this is it’s a little more complicated now because part of it is that companies don’t want to do it. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why?

DIMON: Well, part, part of that, but when people talk about excise profit tax. That’s one, they can’t get permits done, they can’t get leasing and stuff like that. And part of is their investors are putting a lot of pressure on them, you know, that –

MARGARET BRENNAN: To go green?

DIMON: To go green, but not to invest too much capital, where you’re not making a profit with oil at a high price. You know, it’s not enough. Like that. And so, so it is that so there are think of- It’s a global problem, America produces 10 million barrels a day, the world consumes 100 million. And so, and the other thing we have to remember about oil, which is really important, that it goes up and down for a million different reasons. And people tend to look at one reason and say that’s it. But right now, it’s come down considerably, mostly because China’s slowdown, and Europe’s going into recession. And then people think there might be a world recession. So the future price of oil is going down. Those things will reverse. And this underinvestment in oil and gas it will hurt you two or three years out. It’s quite predictable, but it’s not today. And so we have time, you know, I’m hoping the administration, you know, they’re looking at all these issues. I’ve spoken to John Podesta who now runs the the IRA act about what we can do to accelerate, reduce CO2, but have better, cheaper, more secure energy, not just for us, but for particular allies around the world. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So America set for record oil production in 2023. But it’s like the refinery capacity turning into something usable, where that’s kind of a choke point. So is the administration making it difficult for that specific kind of investment?

DIMON: I think you’d have to talk to the oil, the oil folks about that. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay.

DIMON: Look, this world is really complex. I mean, if you don’t have the pipelines, you can’t have the refinery. If you can’t do this, you can’t do that. If you don’t have the charging stations, you can’t do this. If you build EV cars, but it’s still coal, coal powered electricity, you’re not accomplishing CO2. So I think I just think, We need to really look at this in detail. And hopefully a lot of smart people working on it. I think it’s important. We are spending a lot of time on it, because of how critical energy is to the world. And remember, it’s 40% of food prices, too. So, so this is not a simple matter. And it’s, you know, for food prices, the question is starvation. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right

DIMON: So this isn’t a question of how far you can drive your car, how much your gas costs? So I put this whole, I think we need to call a Marshall Plan for energy, you know, and that’s got to be all the above, and all the people involved.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the IRA, you refer to the Inflation Reduction Act, that’s just a sliver of what you’re imagining for a Marshall Plan of Energy.

DIMON: And that is, that is a huge I mean, we’re still studying every piece of it for renewables and EVs and a lot of different things. But it’s not just that. It’s the infrastructure we’re building. It’s- it’s competition around the world, it’s access to rare earths. I mean, when you dig into it as a really complex thing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Those are the ingredients needed for electric vehicles-

DIMON: Exactly

MARGARET BRENNAN: that China has a monopoly on right now,

DIMON: They have a monopoly in production, not on where it is. So we have rare earths in America

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right

DIMON: whether we can produce them here or not, because of certain laws and requirements, that’s a different issue. We need to build grids, you know, we don’t get permissions to- permits to build- build grids. So, you know, one of the deals that was done between the president and Joe Manchin was the permitting bill, that permitting bill is for pipelines, we need to get gas to Louisiana, to get that get Louisiana gas to Europe to help our allies and reduce the costs there. That also reduces their coal usage. So it’s very green, if you look at on the margin. And so it gets- it gets very complicated, and we just need to do the work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: How would you- I mean, I remember covering financial crisis and all this and the frustration between Wall Street and Washington that they just kind of spoke past each other all the time. Where do you put that conversation now? Are people here hearing what you’re trying to explain in terms of market dynamics and investment?

DIMON: So I think it’s sometimes justifiable when people talk across each other because damage was done, there was damage done in the financial crisis, not all the big banks would have failed. And not everyone is equally guilty and all that, but, and then, of course, things, people have simple political slogans-

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right

DIMON: that you know, get elected or something. But I think there’s a lot of talk, we talk all the time to the Biden administration and multiple levels. And we should, you know, I’m going to help any president to try to do the best job for America. And those conversations are pretty intense. So Peter talks to them, I talked to them, they come to the BRT, which you saw a part of. And so it’s very important, we do it. And you will be you’re not always going to get your way. And there’s going to be disagreements, but that’s okay, too.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. And I know you speak, you speak plainly, which you are known for doing. I want to ask you about China. It looks like they are loosening some of their COVID restrictions, maybe moving away from COVID Zero. How do you see this impacting in the long and short term?

DIMON: So my own view, and again, they they kind of have to do that. You see the political unrest, and you also see the damage doing to their economy. So they may – they announced like yesterday – ten different things. It sounds good- I just read them quick this morning. They sound good to me. I think they want to get their economy going. Again, that’s a function of capital, COVID, laws, trade and things like that. And they’ve just started to have real conversations, or they said they’re going to with the Biden administration. The most important thing about China in America, we actually talk that we actually get engaged at a detailed level of what we agree where we disagree, and try to resolve these things and also work on some of the things we got to do together climate, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, bioterrorism, and it’s in all our interests to fix those problems. And you can’t do without America in China.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because it’s not just the second largest economy in the world. Our countries are incredibly intertwined.

DIMON: They’re incredibly intertwined. But you, what you really need is American leadership to do this. And to bring our allies in. If we do adjust bilaterally, it will not work, if we- because the Chinese will go negotiate separate better deals with you know, God knows how many different countries so we need to do it kind of in combination with allies.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the US and China are in direct competition and the chances of conflict are arising on the national security front. The former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. I know you know him, has warned the two economies are just too intertwined to separate at this point. How do you think about that, and the increased conversation about trying to find separate supply chains and weaning ourselves off of, of cheap Chinese manufacturing.

DIMON: So number one, I’m a patriot. And national security is paramount, absolutely national security, American national security, I’m going to leave Taiwan aside, I’ll leave that to the experts and that kind of thing. And then most importantly, for the American public, we have the most prosperous kind of the world’s ever seen. If we open our doors to people, millions, billions of people come here, we have the best innovation, we’ve got food, water and energy, we’re in extraordinary good shape. And we shouldn’t be shy about that or afraid or panicked or anything like that.

DIMON: What we need is tough negotiations. And you’ve already missed on national security, that’s going to be about semiconductors, rare earth, penicillins. You know, that’s, that’s a unilateral. The Chinese do that, we do it. Most businesses support it, that gets very complicated into an export controls and investment controls. But basically, the government’s working with people like us, a lot of other companies- but how do you implement something like that, that’s that that is good for national security, but doesn’t diminish American business doing well overseas.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly.  

DIMON: Because it could do that. And again, it gets very specific. The other two trade things are not as important okay. One is, you know, every company wants to have a reliable, secure line, you know, supply chain, some people already moving their stuff, you can move some stuff to Mexico, you can move it to India, etc. So that’s already taking place. And then the third one is called is how we all look at competition, unfair competition, state controlled competition. And again, that also needs to be done with allies. Because, you know, if I was just all around Latin America, and they say to me, Hey, you know, we actually love America. But China’s here with money, technology, they’re making a cheaper, and what’s my alternative, Americans got to have alternatives. Some of that will turn out to be that we need better development, finance, better diplomacy, we need better rules around how banks or companies could go down and invest in foreign countries to do things that make sense. So it’s comprehensive, the government’s fully aware of it, it’s doable, it’s going to take work and take time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But, you’re  just saying the State Department and those other sort of softer bits of diplomacy need to be beefed up.

DIMON: Immediately. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Immediately. 

DIMON: Immediately, and diplomacy, I say development finance–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

DIMON: Because, you know, if the Chinese are gonna go there and build a bridge or build a plant or buy the lithium mine. And you’re gonna have American companies who would, could but don’t for a whole bunch of different reasons, you should ask the question why. And I don’t want to go through all the different reasons. But there are reasons American companies don’t go to certain countries. And so we- It could all be done. And I think, you know, we’re rolling up our sleeves. It should never have gotten this far, it did. I don’t want to cry over spilled milk. But, and the other thing too, remember is, America could do a lot of things unilaterally. You know–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Like what?

DIMON: Well, if we don’t- if we don’t think they’re being fair on X, you know, we- think of it as trade. If I can’t sell there, you can sell here, if I can’t invest in 100% [unintelligible] you can’t invest in 100% there. There’s a reciprocal behavior– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So does tariffs stay on? 

DIMON: You know, I look, I think, I think it was the right thing to focus on China years ago. I think that was the wrong way to go about it. But they’re not going to come down until it’s negotiated as part of something else. Don’t (crosstalk), maybe areas which should come down right away, just to help certain producers and certain consumers. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You referenced some of the domestic–

DIMON: We like we have to go back to like TPP, we have to stop thinking about trade–

MARGARET BRENNAN: free trade within Asia–

DIMON: Negotiated trade. I mean, obviously, we shouldn’t sign the deal that’s not in the interest United States of America. But think of it–

MARGARET BRENNAN: But no one is going back to TPP. 

DIMON: No, but we’re making a mistake– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: –it was politically toxic. 

DIMON: I know. But I don’t know what that means. Because we have a trade policy with Asia, it’s functioning today, make it better. The notion that says we’re not gonna have a trade deal is a mistake, because we have one today, that one would have been better. And we just got to change how we- and there’s also strategic- in this case it’s also geopolitically strategic. Think of real politic here, this would have been better, an American and Asia trading system that is set up the right way that we think has the right rules, requirements, laws, governance, etc. And then China could be invited in. It’s not against China.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, when you talk about and you reference their investment in semiconductors, here, electric vehicles, that kind of thing, that’s part of the Biden administration’s domestic economic revitalization, but it is national security policy as well.

DIMON: Yeah, it’s a little both, we kind of mixed them up, mix-and-match them a little bit.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Exactly. But there are some critics who say that that’s causing a little bit of market distortion there.

DIMON: It does, I think, look, you know, this stuff gets complicated and remember it gets written by Congress and–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

DIMON: –so the body is pretty good. But it has really irritated the Europeans, because it’s buy America build America, it’s a huge disadvantage for you know, a part of the world we need really very good relations with. When when people complain, the first thing you always do is to say, ‘were they right?’ And they’re right about some of it, not all of it. And you know, the President did say we can tweak and modify it and–

MARGARET BRENNAN: The electric vehicles and things like that– 

DIMON: –and I think that can be done. But here’s the really important part of this. It’s not just that. If Europe goes its own way and trade and they said they’re gonna do their own IRA bill. Either their own trade bloc buy America- buy Europe build Europe, that is very bad for the global negotiates of trade. That is very bad for national security. That is very bad for the next century of America. And that’s why I think this – is a it doesn’t sound like it is. But it’s absolutely critical for national security, we get this one, right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m not at all disagreeing with you. I want to ask you, though about like, the way foreign policy is exercised right now. With Russia, for example, it was financial warfare at first. Yeah, that’s the direct hit the United States is taking on Russia. And I wonder how you think that was handled?

DIMON: I thought it was handled extremely well, actually, I think there have been occasions where we overdid our financial sanctions and using it because you don’t want to say I don’t want to do business with American banks, or American entities or stuff like that. It has been a little misuse, but there are times it’s properly used. So here’s both the Europeans and the American authorities, you know, the Treasury Department here, who said, this is a way to part of our big geopolitical war, helping Ukraine. And they were right. And it was both sanctions and export controls and things like that. And I think they did it the right way. There’s constant communication. I mean, if I say commun- like every day about how you effectuate these things, and which ones work and which ones don’t work, and how Swift was going to work, and all these various things, but But it’s been quite good. I think they were very much right to do it in this case.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you couldn’t do this with China, could you because the economies are too intertwined.

DIMON: You couldn’t well, you if you had to you could, but that would, that’s a whole, the economic effect in China and the world would be dramatically worse, no one would benefit from that. And by whatever it is, it’d probably be worse for China than for us. Because like I said, we have all the food, water and energy we need. We have peace in North America here. China, the American public may not know, China imports 11 million barrels of oil a day. They’re not sitting there saying how comfortable they are. They’re sitting there saying how vulnerable they might be. So you got to, if you’re going to look at China, look at the whole thing. Take a deep breath, and figure out what’s in our interests and then go negotiate. And like I said, a lot of it can be done unilaterally, it has to be done multilaterally, like with our allies.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You had said in this country, you were happy about the midterm results. I mean, the old adage was like gridlock is good for Wall Street. But when you’re talking about very large challenges to the country, that are left unaddressed, that seems to be a risk.

DIMON: I didn’t. I didn’t say anything about gridlock. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: No, I’m saying that. 

DIMON: (Crosstalk) I thought it– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn’t that what we’re going to get with a split Congress–

JAMIE DIMON: –I thought the election was good. Because on both parties the kind of the- the wing nuts didn’t get elected. And there, so the rational thing, when I was just in Congress, I was gratified by their thought they want to make progress. And I think they can make progress. There are a lot of examples in history, under George W. Bush, Obama, Clinton, where when he had divided Congress actually got a lot of good things done– 

(Crosstalk) 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you’ve got really thin margins–

JAMIE DIMON: –and I would prefer to see collaboration and getting good stuff done. And so I think–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re staying optimistic about that.

DIMON: Yeah, I think there’s a good chance they will get some good things done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So so we’re days away from this government funding deadline. And Congress is gonna have to pass the bill to avoid a shutdown. As a risk manager, where do you put the risk level here?

DIMON: Well funding is different than debt ceiling.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I know. 

DIMON: Okay. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the risk is once power shifts come January that it could become a bigger problem.

DIMON: (Crosstalk) Yeah, I would say government funding is not the way to–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Could be used as leverage. 

DIMON: It’s not the way to run a railroad. I mean, basically you end up spending much more money too because the American public may not know, you pay people and the you pay them more to come back to work. It costs us much more money. So even if you want to be fiscally responsible is not a good idea. The debt ceiling is, you talk about, June of next year, and we’ll deal with that later.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. Well, there’s some debate about whether it should be done now in these last few weeks while Democrats still have control to avoid that kind of showdown.

DIMON: As they should because the catastrophic effects of an- of an actual default, not the debates I understand both sides why we want it, how they want to use it is, that’s catastrophic, or potentially catastrophic. I would never take that risk. So for me, yes, I’d get it done now. Take- take it off the table.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you said back in 2019, on CNBC, my heart is Democratic, but my brain is kind of Republican. The world’s changed a lot since 2019. I wonder what what you are thinking right now.

DIMON: I’m kind of in the same place. And I look, I think we are our brother’s keeper, we take care of ourselves. We do community branches, and I want my employees to feel great, and I want customers to be happy. And I just think we need rational policy, you know, really rational policy and that a lot of that policy is not Democrat or Republican. Getting proper infrastructure built is not Democrat or Republican. We should all acknowledge that inner city schools don’t work particularly well, in a lot of areas. Half the kids don’t graduate. That’s not Democrat or Republican. That’s acknowledging the problem. And then talking about solutions. Health care, we have the best in the world. Hell, I’m a beneficiary of it. But we also have some of the worst. Trust- almost 20% of GDP, 50 million people uninsured, huge obesity, high blood pressure, things- a lot of things which are fixable, and I can go on and on and we need good policy. You know, good. And no policy is sometimes bad policy.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You referenced, you’re the beneficiary of the health system. You had this near death experience. 

DIMON: Yep. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: How has that changed how you view your work right now? And I wonder if it’s changed whether you have any desire to enter government.

DIMON: Now I’m- I don’t play golf. You know, it’s I basically, I still love what I do. I love helping people. I love the people here. I have, I’m so proud of them sometimes. And so that hasn’t changed my view, I’m I want to do things. I’m always going to do something. I’m not going to go smell the flowers and stuff like that. I’m not sure sure. I’m suited for government. I want to help my country. I’ll do anything I can help my country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And it sounds like you’ve got a lot of ideas to do that. 

DIMON: And we have a lot of ideas. 



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