JPMorgan CEO willing to appear before Senate panel

AP News
Posted: May 17, 2012 6:29 PM
JPMorgan CEO willing to appear before Senate panel

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is willing to testify at a congressional hearing this spring on the bank's $2 billion trading loss.

Sen. Tim Johnson, a South Dakota Democrat who heads the Senate Banking Committee, says he has invited Dimon to testify about the loss at the nation's largest bank. Since Dimon acknowledged the misstep, Democratic lawmakers have stepped up calls for stricter oversight of major financial firms.

A spokeswoman for the bank says Dimon will accept the invitation.

Johnson says the committee will hold hearings on Tuesday and June 6 at which federal regulators will provide information on the trading loss. Dimon would testify at a third hearing sometime later, Johnson said.

Dimon this week apologized to the bank's shareholders for the loss.

"This should never have happened. I can't justify it. Unfortunately, these mistakes are self-inflicted," Dimon said at JPMorgan's annual meeting. And he later told reporters, "The buck always stops with me."

News of JPMorgan's trading loss has reinvigorated Democrats' push to strengthen a key rule mandated under the 2010 regulatory overhaul that would restrict banks from trading for their own profit.

Democratic lawmakers and other proponents say the trades that led to the losses at JPMorgan would have violated the so-called Volcker Rule.

Dimon has been among the most outspoken critics of the rule. He says the loss came from a hedging strategy that backfired, and not a bet with the bank's own money.

He and other bank executives successfully pushed for an exemption, which would allow banks to make trades for their own profit if they are hedging against risk.

On Thursday, Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Jeff Merkley of Oregon asked top federal regulators to strip the exemption from rule. Levin and Merkley were the original authors of the rule.

The Volcker Rule takes effect this July. Banks have two years to comply with the regulations.