JPMorgan chief: Head of small bank lobby a 'jerk'

JPMorgan chief: Head of small bank lobby a 'jerk'

Banks big and small sparred Wednesday after the head of JPMorgan Chase called the chief of the nation’s small bank lobby “a jerk.”

The long-simmering feud between the nation’s biggest financial institutions and some of its smallest erupted Wednesday, as name-calling and pointed fingers flew fast across the industry.

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In an interview with CNBC, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of the nation’s largest bank, had blunt words for Cam Fine, the head of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).

Dimon was asked about Fine dismissing Dimon’s earlier call for banks of all sizes to get on the same page. Dimon made that argument in a Wall Street Journal editorial published in early April.

In response, Fine told Bloomberg that community banks are in no rush to line up at Dimon’s request. He went on to contend that big banks like Dimon’s want to use small banks as political cover while presidential candidates rail against Wall Street.

The back-and-forth reached CNBC Wednesday, where Dimon lobbed an insult.

“I think the guy who wrote that is a jerk, OK?” said Dimon when read Fine’s response.

Dimon went on to rattle off the business his bank does for smaller banks, while expressing sympathy for smaller institutions struggling to comply with the slew of new regulations put in place after the financial crisis.

“We have been there for our clients through thick and thin. ... We were there for them when they had nowhere else to go,” he said.

Those words apparently didn’t buy much cover from ICBA. The group responded to Dimon’s interview with a statement of its own, issuing another broadside against the biggest names in finance.

“Jamie Dimon’s remarks reflect Wall Street’s inability to take responsibility for the economic crisis it caused and the taxpayer-funded guarantee against failure it continues to enjoy,” said Fine in a statement.

Big and small banks have been feuding ever since the 2008 financial crisis as they jockey over not just banking business, but over who should bear the brunt of the influx of new regulations. ICBA has pushed hard to crack down on “too big to fail” institutions, while Wall Street giants have resisted any efforts by policymakers to impose stricter rules on the biggest banks.