JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon answered questions from the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday about his firm's $2 billion trading bet gone wrong, and tried to assure lawmakers that the losses were isolated and did not affect taxpayers.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon apologized Wednesday to U.S. senators during a Senate Banking Committee hearing in Washington about his company's $2 billion trading loss in April.
The head of the biggest bank in the country acknowledged that the unit behind the bad bet created a portfolio that became too complex, posing larger risks for the firm.
"We've let a lot of people down and we are very sorry for it," said Dimon.
The CEO admitted he initially downplayed the significant loss.
"When I made that statement I was dead wrong," Dimon said.
He also said he relied on bad intel from other top JPMorgan managers.
"I was assured by them and I have the right to rely on them, that they thought this was an isolated small issue and that it wasn't a big problem," said Dimon.
Dimon also reiterated the loss only affected JPMorgan's shareholders, not its clients or taxpayers.
Lawmakers asked Dimon specifically about clawbacks in salary. To that, he responded they would be certainly possible and would depend on the board.
The senators also asked for assurances that similar bad bets can be avoided in the future. Democrats pointed to the need for more Wall Street reform.
"I think what frightens most people about what happened is not the effect on JPMorgan," said Senator Charles Schumer of New York. "But I think the question that bothers most people is, what's to stop this from happening again?"
During the relatively tame two-hour hearing, several Republicans encouraged Dimon to share his criticism of recent efforts to regulate Wall Street.
"I thought it was unnecessary when it was added on top of all the other stuff," said the CEO.
While the senators gave Dimon a polite reception, there were several present that were not at all pleased with the Wall Street CEO. The start of the hearing was delayed as officers pulled rowdy protestors out of the room and took them into custody.
"These men are predators on the American taxpayers' money," said one protester as he was removed.
"Millions of people are having their homes stolen from them by that man, Jamie Dimon," said another protester as he was led away in handcuffs.
JPMorgan Chase touts that it is New York City’s largest private employer, with more than 28,000 employees across the city.