“JPMorgan is one of the best managed banks there is,” Obama said in an interview with The View, scheduled to air on Tuesday. “Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got and they still lost $2 billion and counting. We don’t know all the details. It’s going to be investigated but this is why we passed Wall Street reform.”
A top JPMorgan Chase executive resigned on Monday and the Securities Exchange Commission has opened a preliminary investigation into the trade that some have speculated could cost the firm up to $5 billion.
Some Democrats have pounced on the trade as evidence that nothing has changed on Wall Street. Obama said that had JPMorgan not been so sturdy, the trading losses may have required government intervention.
“This is one of the best managed banks,” Obama continued. “You could have a bank that isn’t as strong, isn’t as profitable managing those same bets and we might have had to step in. That’s why Wall Street reform is so important.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, Obama’s first choice to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, called on Dimon to step down from his role as director of the New York Federal Reserve, saying it was a conflict of interest.
“This is about accountability. Banks have been loading up on risk and they don’t want to be accountable,” Warren said on CNN’s Starting Point. “Jamie Dimon is CEO not only of JPMorgan Chase, but he holds this position of public trust advising the New York Fed on how to regulate risk for these large financial institutions, like his own financial institution.”
Dimon has pushed to water down the so-called Volcker rule, a part of the Obama administration’s Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.