Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan Defends Jamie Dimon, Dodd-Frank

Here’s Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, defending Jamie Dimon.

Asked about JPMorgan’s trading loss and trading risks in the market Moynihan said, “Jamie has the skill to get out of it. The loss concerned the market but did not disrupt it.”

Moynihan is the CEO of a major competitor to JP Morgan Chase, but when it comes to regulations and the government, they are as brothers.

And then there’s this.

This afternoon Moynihan was asked to defend the universal banking model which marries retail banking with investment banking. The CEO of the nation’s second largest bank said the model is the “most important” model there is because it gives consumers access to global information, capital markets, investment advice and basic banking all in one place.

“We can’t be competitive if we can’t provide all those services to our consumers,” he says.

Moynihan argued that the dialogue on banking has gone from concerns about “too big to fail to too big to manage.” He noted that regulations brought forth by Dodd-Frank have addressed the former and added that BofA has dramatically narrowed down the scope of its business to address the later.

“Three years ago when we merged [with Merrill Lynch] our balance sheet was $2.7 billion. Now we are down to a $2.18 billion balance sheet, and we’ve doubled liquidity and capital,” he says.

He pointed out that the bank no longer has a private equity business and that it wound down its prop trading business in the second quarter of last year.

Pretty much everyone, even its proponents, admits that Dodd-Frank has not yet fixed our banking system.  Everyone, that is, except Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.  For him, Dodd-Frank is just fine.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

About Matt Stoller

From 2011-2012, Matt was a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He contributed to Politico, Alternet, Salon, The Nation and Reuters, focusing on the intersection of foreclosures, the financial system, and political corruption. In 2012, he starred in “Brand X with Russell Brand” on the FX network, and was a writer and consultant for the show. He has also produced for MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show. From 2009-2010, he worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Congressman Alan Grayson. You can follow him on Twitter at @matthewstoller.


  1. Conscience of a Conservative

    The big banks sort of have to defend each other. Too much inspection might reveal similar practices at their institution now or in the future, or preclude them from a similar strategy in the future.
    And actually there would be nothing wrong with what JP Morgan did, if it were not for their too big to fail status and the not so implied tax payer back-stop.

    1. scraping_by

      If JPM were doing it with their own money, with their stockholders money, with bondholders money, and the money of other wealthy hedgies, they could trade double down dare derivatives until their eyes bled.

      However, they’re now casino gambling with public money, both through the Treasury, through the Fed, through deposits, and through pension funds. With OPM they’re going to have to show clean hands and faces and say a respective ‘Sir’ at the Church door.

      It’s wrong to lie and say it wasn’t gambling, it’s wrong to lie and say it has social utility, it’s wrong to lie and say they were hedging, it’s wrong to expect uninvolved third parties to pay for their failures.

      So, true, doing stupid things with private money isn’t wrong, it’s just stupid. Doing stupid things with public money should be asking for a vacation at the iron bar hotel. If only.

    2. Guy Fawkes

      I am really getting sick of people claiming this “mistake” that JPMorgan did wasn’t illegal. That effing CEO signs papers telling the government under felony penalty that there is NOTHING WRONG with his risk assessment of risk monitoring.

      After what we all saw, would you now like to effing change your stance???

      BTW, JPMorgan is also claiming that none of the effing WaMu loans were securitized so they can claim ownership of these loans through a governmental agency, the FDIC. So, I suppose you think there’s nothing wrong with pulling a govt agency into your fraudulent deceptions either???

      1. Susan the other

        Nobody is allowed to address, let alone resolve, the question here: If WAMU made those loans and kept them on their books then of course the FDIC could hand them over to JPM. There would be no need to falsify the paper trail. But if those loans, like all the other “securitized” MBS CDOs and CDOs squared were claimed to be securitized but were in fact fraudulently securitized and therefore “not securitized” then nobody can claim title to the underlying (non) security. The titles have been destroyed. And nobody wants to talk about it anymore. Not even Randall Wray.

  2. Enraged

    “We can’t be competitive if we can’t provide all those services to our consumers,” he says. (Read: “We can’t command million bucks salaries and bonusses if we don’t kill all competition, make it impossible for the honest guy to survive and buy governments. We need money!”)

    “Three years ago when we merged [with Merrill Lynch] our balance sheet was $2.7 billion. Now we are down to a $2.18 billion balance sheet, and we’ve doubled liquidity and capital,” he says. Hey, wait a minute! How much did Warren Buffett give them to stay afloat?

    Dodd-Frank is a joke. Comes nowhere near Glass-Steagal.

  3. Lyle

    I challenge the premise that banks need to be one stop shopping places. That is old fashioned when you did not have the web. With the web where you get services is much less relevant, since its just a different web address. I contend that its better to get insurance one place, traditional banking another, and investments a third. For most customers I don’t even see what global information means to them.

    1. F. Beard

      I challenge the premise that banks need to be one stop shopping places. Lyle

      There, fixed it for you.

      1. Mole

        Agree with you on this one.

        Why do we all have to worry about how much a bank made, loss, how much their employees and CEOs make?

        The Congress should let them fail. Talking about bank losses is like talking about a gambler losing money.

  4. Justicia

    More bankster BS. Do tell, what ‘service’ was JPM providing to its customers when it was its own hedging portfolio risk (aka, gambling) with taxpayer insured deposits?

    Speaking of taxpayers, interesting article in The Guardian on the American political discourse about taxes:

    America’s middle-class tax morality
    “Ultimately, our respondents’ discursive use of the income tax – as a symbol of a morally illegitimate, exploitive relationship between hardworking middle-class people, and the rich and poor who exploit them – helps to illuminate why tax talk occupies such a central place in American political discourse. Among other things, it clarifies what American conservatives talk about when they talk about taxes. Fiscal debates are about more than money; they are also about the meanings people attribute to how that money is collected in the first place.”

    1. Justicia

      Oops,question in first sentence above should read: what ‘service’ was JPM providing its customers when it was hedging its own portfolio risk (aka, gambling)…?

  5. McWatt

    On the day Glass-Steagal died I called my father to commiserate. We both thought it was a bad idea to remove this consumer protection. In the old days the public thought of it as “The Little Old Ladies Protection Act”. It was designed to protect people from going to a bank with windfall deposit that they needed to protect for a long time and getting steered by the bank into crappy stock investments and insurance scams. All which was rampant in the go-go Twenties.

    Sure enough two years after the law was repealed there was an article in the Chicago papers about a little old lady who made a windfall deposit at a bank, the banker steered her into a mutual fund that paid him a great finders fee and the mutual fund promptly lost all her investment.

    Oh, well what the…heck.

    1. Lyle

      My answer to the bank blandishments is to paraphrase Nancy Regan and just say no. I recall having a 20 minute discussion of why I needed a debit card with a banker and told him no but it took a while to shut him up. He said it would help cash checks in other branches, I told him that if the bank would not take my check with a US passport then perhaps I had better find another bank.
      Just recall that all bank types are paid to sell, so just say no.

  6. Tim

    Riddle of the day:

    If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, then who is the enemy of both Bank of America and JPM?

    It MUST be US!

  7. Dept of Justice and Sanitation

    When’s the MoveOn fraudclosure rally at Moynihan’s house?
    The Tim Geithner protest was on the “down low”, or many more people would have come.

  8. Seven

    MoveOn doesn’t protest illegal fraudclosures, they “comfort” the victims on eviction day. Obama 2012!

  9. Seven

    Thanks for all you do for supporting criminal aggression in Iraq that killed over 100K civilians, that you paid for with homelessness and a broken economy.

    –Jastin, Vitoria, Remily, Fred Garvin, and the rest of the team

  10. Jackrabbit

    FYI, only 2 month ago we saw the same behavior:

    From The NY Post, March 16, 2012

    Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman yesterday joined the chorus of defenders of Lloyd Blankfein’s firm two days after a former Goldman Sachs employee authored a poison pen attack against his firm in a New York Times op-ed.

    JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon issued an internal memo warning executives not to try and capitalize on Goldman’s predicament.

    “I want to be clear that I don’t want anyone here to seek advantage from a competitor’s alleged issues or hearsay — ever,” Dimon wrote.

  11. Hugh

    “We can’t be competitive if we can’t provide all those services to our consumers”

    One of the tricks kleptocrats use is to slip in a loaded term and essentially legitimize it because no one thinks to challenge it. In this sentence, Moynihan introduces three: “competitive”, “services”, and “consumers”. Think about all these. The vast majority of BoA’s and the TBTF’s depositors are there only for retail banking. All of the other “services” Moynihan touts are irrelevant to their needs. They are not “consumers” of them. Indeed the whole notion of consuming bank services is odd. If BoA’s customers are consuming its services, does that mean that BoA is consuming their deposits? How is depositing money at BoA consumption? I am sure this is the mindset of the banksters who gouge their customers with all kinds of fees, but jsut because that’s the rationale being used doesn’t make it true. But the word that really caught my eye was “competitive”. Competitive how? Competitive for which market segment? Do BoA and the other TBTF compete with each other for retail customers? How does hitting customers up with all kinds of fees contribute to this competition, in a positive way? How does having a lot of risky, extraneous “services” have anything to do with retail customers?

    Moynihan tries to present all this like a fait accompli. But if you stop and consider this for a moment, it actually makes the opposite point from that intended by Moynihan. There is no competition at the retail level for these services because virtually no retail customers have a need for such services. This being the case, there is equally no need to tie retail and investment banking together, from the retail point of view. It’s pretty clear, on the other hand, why investment banking would wish to preserve this connection, because of the government backstop that the retail side provides.

  12. Glen

    Hey, what’s not to like when the Fed hands out money at 0% and says go gamble, er, fix the world economy! It’s a damn good gig if you can get it!

    Then again, who could have predicted that making a super fucked up bank and crashing the world on the rocks would have been a winning move, that’s why these guys are considered the smartest people around!

    It’s just like the bumper sticker I say yesterday –

    Bankers do it by the numbers
    TBTF banksters fuck EVERYBODY

  13. LucyLulu

    Do these banking execs really think an endorsement from Bank of America, the bank that has been on the verge of cratering for most of the last year, has positive value? How about an endorsement from Lehman’s and WaMu too?

  14. DP

    Did Moynihan really say Bank of America only had a $2.18 billion balance sheet, or was he misquoted? It is $2.18 TRILLION, not billion.

  15. oy

    As a general rule, managers may stab each other in the back in an attempt to get to the next higher wrung, but they will defend each other to the death against attacks from outsiders and from those on lower wrungs.

  16. Will the Landscaper

    No one cares about any other big business unless it;s a bank. these are not non-profit companies, and they employ millions of Americans. I have done business with 2 big banks.. All my business.. And when I am attentive and on top of my money I have no issue… Dodd Frank is a joke… People who think banking should be small or socialized are retards. DF takes a far too regulated banking system and pours salt in the wound..

Comments are closed.