JP Morgan has finally, finally been brought to account in the congressional hearings yesterday. The alacrity and seeming ease with which $6 billion were spirited away trading in proprietary derivatives by the "London Whale" with seemingly conspiratorial oversight by top management was breathtaking in its full-bore lack of assumed responsibility and mere hand slap accountability by the perpetrators. Senators Levin and McCain could barely contain their disdain and outrage suffering the self-serving and evasive responses to their incisive and deeply prepared questioning. The responders proved, in their demeanor and the tenor of their replies, validation of Senator Levin's (Chair of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations) earlier observation, calling the bank's trading strategy a "runaway train that barreled through every risk warning."
Yet this should not have been a new revelation, and only speaks to how lax our oversight agencies are, given the excesses of proprietary derivative trading by institutions who hold government guaranteed deposits and access to the Fed's Discount Window. Then, all too often betting the farm on prop trading instead of being banks supporting the American economy with loans to businesses, builders and tradesmen.
This space has focused on this very issue for the last five years, not only questioning its impact on the viability of the banks themselves, but on the pumped-up trading prices on such core commodities to our everyday lives as oil and petroleum derivatives from gasoline to heating oil, to the cost of our food from corn, wheat, soybeans, and on. Let me list them below. It's an endless concern with no real solution nor accountability at hand:
Our Next Secretary of the Treasury: A Woman or Jamie Dimon (11/18/12)
Banks In Collusion With The Fed Shamelessly Spike Up Price of Oil/Gasoline (7/18/12)
Jamie Dimon's Malign Influence On The Culture Of American Banking (7/13/12)
The Wall Street Journal's Convoluted Whitewash of Jamie Dimon (5/14/12)
The Volcker Rule and Wall Street's Pliant Media Plant (2/15/12)
Alan Greenspan Tells It Like It Isn't (6/25/11)
Bravo JP Morgan! Just What We Need, Another Wall Street Casino (10/12/10)
"JPMorgan" Shows Us the 'Volcker Rule' Is All Hat and No Cattle While the Administration and Congress Fiddle Away (2/16/10)
Did the Huffington Post Bring J.P. Morgan Chase to Heel? (2/2/10)
JPMorgan Chase Throws Down the Gauntlet at President Obama (1/26/10)
Our Banks Becoming Casinos and Washington Yawns (1/20/10)
Is JPMorgan a Bank or a Government-Funded Casino? (6/9/2009)
Wall Street Banks Blindsided Gambling with Monies Entrusted to Them (1/16/2009)