London is more lovable than New York. "I always thought you loved New York," Maloney said to Dimon. "Why all these jobs and all this activity taking place in London?"
The financial markets are sounder. But not quite sound enough. Mary Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the system was sounder than it was before the financial crisis. What did CFTC's Gensler think? "The American public still isn't safe on these roads."
Oaths are for criminals, not CEOs. Spencer Bachus III, chairman of the financial services committee, was taking some flack from his colleagues because Dimon had not been sworn in. "This is not a criminal proceeding or even a civil proceeding," he said, adding that Dimon had volunteered to testify.
A balance sheet can be a fortress. Or a picket fence. Dimon today and in the past has boasted of his firm's "fortress balance sheet," but what about banks that are scrawny? "Not every institution has a fortress balance sheet," said Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank. Some have a "picket-fence balance sheet," he said. Or even a "chain link balance sheet." Whatever that means.
America is "a business machine." That's how Dimon describes it, anyway, crowing that the U.S. has "the best capital markets in the world." His idea about regulations is that we need to get regulations "right" so they work for America. Let's hope we don't trash our standards so much that some other country figures out that higher standards can nurture a competitive business machine.
Bankers have rights, too. Dimon was getting some grief that he and his firm had lobbied for exemptions from the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act, but he shot back at Rep. Maxine Waters of California. "Lobbying is a Constitutional right," he said. "We have our right to have our voice heard." And goodness knows that whatever may go wrong for banks and taxpayers, we certainly don't want any of our financial institutions to be giving up any privileges.