BUSINESS
01/14/2015 12:29 pm ET Updated Jan 14, 2015

Jamie Dimon Says Banks Are Under Assault As He Announces $4.9 Billion Profit

Bloomberg via Getty Images

We should all do so well while under assault.

JPMorgan Chase earned $4.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014, the company announced on Wednesday, down from a year ago, but capping what CEO Jamie Dimon called a record year for the biggest U.S. bank by assets.

Despite this success, Dimon warned that "banks are under assault," from government regulators.

"In the old days," Dimon said, "you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue, maybe two. “Now it’s five or six. It makes it very difficult and very complicated.

"You all should ask the question about how American that is. And how fair that is," he added. "And how complex that is for companies."

The biggest U.S. bank by assets has had its fair share of trouble with regulators in recent years. In the fourth quarter, JPMorgan paid $1.1 billion to settle charges by U.S. and foreign regulators that its traders had manipulated currency markets. In those settlements, J.P. Morgan did not admit nor deny any wrongdoing.

"Obviously, companies make mistakes," Dimon said on Wednesday. "We try to resolve it, we try to fix it, we admit it."

In the past two years, JPMorgan has paid out $14 billion in settlements and fines related to the London Whale trading losses, manipulating the key interest rate benchmark Libor, and issuing bad mortgages that helped lead to the financial crisis.

The bank earned $39.7 billion in net income over those same two years.

Despite his complaints, Wall Street lobbyists, and Dimon himself, are orchestrating a "continuing assault" on the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-reform law that "has achieved remarkable success," as the New York Times put it on Tuesday.

Dimon personally lobbied for Congress to loosen derivatives rules put in place by Dodd-Frank financial. Late in December, the Federal Reserve gave banks another year to comply with certain aspects of that law's Volcker Rule, which prohibits proprietary trading. And now House Republicans are lining up a vote to extend that grace period until 2019, a full nine years after the bill was put into law.

If record profits and regulatory rollbacks are Dimon's idea of an assault on banks, it's hard to imagine what he thinks victory looks like.

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