06/11/2012 11:25 am ET

New York Fed Chair Says He's Fine With Having Jamie Dimon On Board

At least 36,000 people say JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon should step down from the board of directors at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Lee Bollinger isn't among them.

Bollinger, chairman of the New York Fed's board of directors and president of Columbia University, said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal that he doesn't believe Dimon needs to cede his position on the board, despite a public outcry in recent weeks after the $2 billion trading loss his bank suffered.

Multiple prominent critics have said it presents a conflict of interest to have Dimon on the board of the New York Fed, a body with regulatory powers over financial institutions like JPMorgan.

Elizabeth Warren, former chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel, and Simon Johnson, a professor of economics at the MIT Sloan School of Management and former IMF chief economist, have both called for Dimon to step down from the Fed board. A petition to that effect, created by Johnson and posted on, has received more than 36,000 signatures to date.

Even Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a former NY Fed president himself, has said that it's "a problem" that bankers sit on the governing body's board because it creates a perception of a conflict of interest, although he did not single out Dimon.

But Bollinger told the WSJ this week that since he, Dimon and the other board members aren't the ones who make decisions about supervisory policy, there's no reason to worry about a conflict of interest.

Johnson, meanwhile, has argued that it's more complicated than that. While directors at the New York Fed can't directly influence decisions about bank supervision, they do have a say in decisions about management and personnel selection. At the least, Johnson has said, Dimon's presence on the board undermines the New York Fed's legitimacy in the public eye.