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JPMorgan CEO shifts topic to politics from financial results

  • FILE - In this June 13, 2012, file photo, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. During calls with reporters and Wall Street analysts on Friday, July 14, 2017, Dimon vented his irritation with politicians and the news media, arguing that the nation is spending too much time bickering instead of solving real issues. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
  • FILE - This Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, file photo shows a Chase bank branch, in New York. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reports earnings, Friday, July 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

By KEN SWEET

Associated Press

NEW YORK — After JPMorgan Chase posted a record $7 billion quarterly profit, the last thing a contentious Jamie Dimon wanted to talk about Friday was his company’s earnings.

Instead, the CEO of the nation’s largest bank vented his irritation with politicians and what he called gridlock that’s preventing the economy from doing even better.

Dimon, a member of President Donald Trump’s business advisory council, has a reputation for speaking with little to no filter. He’s complained in the past that U.S. policymakers spend too much time arguing rather than improving the economy.

The U.S. economy has been expanding at less than 2 percent a year since the Great Recession, which is below the typical growth after an economic downturn. Dimon said growth would be higher if Washington gridlock would ease.

“It’s almost an embarrassment being an American citizen traveling around the world … listening to the stupid (expletive) we have to deal with in this country,” he said in a call. “At one point we all have to get our act together or we won’t do what we’re supposed to do for the average Americans.”

As head of the nation’s biggest bank, Dimon has a big stake in how Washington operates and how the U.S. economy performs. And while Trump’s business advisory council cannot make policy decisions, it does have input on what the White House’s priorities should be for big companies like JPMorgan.

Republicans who control of both houses of Congress and the White House have proposed cutting corporate income taxes, which would directly benefit JPMorgan’s bottom line, and infrastructure spending would add to U.S. gross domestic product. There is also talk about trimming back some of the strict regulations put in place following the financial crisis that bank CEOs like Dimon have argued are restricting the ability of banks to lend money.

Whether those regulations are really restricting lending is a topic of debate. Nearly all banks are making more loans, including JPMorgan Chase, and bank profits are up.

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