Ask anyone to name a banking executive and odds are, you’ll hear the name Jamie Dimon before any others. It could be because the JPMorgan Chase president and CEO hits the headline on a fairly regular basis – and often, not in a pleasant way.
Still, he leads his bank through difficult financial times and love him or hate him, there’s no denying he’s his guidance has helped keep the banking conglomerate at the top, even through a brutal recession and constant political backlash.
It was May 19, 2009 in a massive, roomy conference room somewhere in Manhattan. James Dimon, Harvard graduate, JPMorgan Chase CEO and brilliant financial mind, was showing just how well he can manage in a hostile environment. Even when it appeared his contradictions – sometimes moments apart – were beginning to show the crack in his otherwise “tough as nails” exterior, he always rallied.
Of course, that day – May 19, 2009 – was the day the 2009 CARD Act officially went into effect; a tough day for any bank executive. One moment, he was singing the praises of his bank’s “finest year ever” and bragging that he saw several of the conglomerate’s biggest competition either fall to the wayside or be overwhelmed by JPMorgan Chase.
Moments later, he was eating crow and being forced to admit 2008 was a year that brought low profits – and certainly lower than he’d anticipated. The heat was on, though. Soon, Dimon would find himself in plenty of embarrassing situations, sometimes at the expense of his bank. Still, Dimon perseveres and carries on, even through incredibly difficult economic times not seen since the Great Depression.
According the JPMorgan Chase website, the banking conglomerate has a presence in more than sixty countries. It also employs more than 240,000 around the world. With 12 members on its Board, including James A. Bell, Corporate President & CFO of The Boeing Company; Stephen Burke, CEO for NBCUniversal, LLC; Ellen V. Further, President and Trustee for American Museum of Natural History; and, of course, James Dimon. Dimon, the group oversees several internal functions, including the JPMorgan Chase Executive Committee.
Most recently, the bank, and Dimon specifically, was mentioned by name in a speech by President Obama, who praised his “pretty good job managing an enormous portfolio”. Here’s what many might not know about Jamie Dimon: President Obama, at one time, was rumored to be first choice for Secretary of Treasury; however, President Obama selected Timothy Geithner instead.
Chase Credit Cards
It’s the credit card division that continues to thrive, even in a world of uncertainty we refer to as the “banking industry”. Some of its products include the co-branded United Mileage ExplorerPlus Visa, which expands the popular Select Visa with bigger and better rewards, Chase Ink Business card, which is a consistent favorite among business owners and the Southwest Airlines co-branded card that offers rewards that the competition can’t match. It’s known for other solid credit cards such as Chase Freedom and of course, the classic Chase Slate no balance transfer fee offer.
Dimon either oversees or is part of several bank boards. While some of his comments and behaviors might be questionable, such as the brouhaha with a Canadian banking executive in early 2012, there’s no denying his strong financial foundation and his commitment to Chase.
Under his watch, and feeling brutal pressure during the recent economic downturn, Dimon has found his comfort zone within the sector. Despite controversies, including temper tantrums and statements that are difficult to take back, Dimon’s presence has put his beloved company at the top of the extremely profitable credit card sector. In 2011, he came under fire when he announced the bank would be raising debit card fees to its middle income consumers.
Controversial Product Decisions
One of the most profitable products JPMorgan Chase offers is its mortgage packages. It, like all other major banks in the U.S., took a brutal hit in 2008 and 2009. Chase also offers a wide range of credit cards, investment opportunities, commercial and personal loans and, of course, CDs, savings and checking accounts as well as other traditional bank products. In April, 2012, the bank announced it would no longer offer student loans to non-customers. The banking entity also donates millions every year to causes such as Turnaround for Children, Inc. and the American Red Cross.
It was announced in April, 2012, that Dimon is now enjoying a whopping 11 percent increase in pay. He now earns $23.1 million annually and last year, he was rewarded with $4.5 million bonus, $17 million in stock options. According to Reuters, Chase is the only major bank that actually gave its CEO a double-digit raise. In fact, it’s reported that Citigroup, Inc CEO Vikram Pandit received a one dollar raise. The man has led the bank through quite a few difficult times and regardless of what happens, there is no one who knows Jamie Dimon who would encourage counting him out. It’s just not part of his nature.