That’s Mr. Geithner to you, Jamie…
That’s JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s biting sense of humor on display yesterday as he read a mock letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner before the Annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference in New York. Dimon’s sarcastic tone shocked some participants and cheered others, according to sources who attended the meeting.
“I congratulate him not only for his candor but for his wit,” said Mark Grant, managing director of structured finance at Southwest Securities in Dallas. “The fact that Jamie Dimon had the self composure, the sense of humor and the fortitude to make such a statement in public not only made me smile but it reminded me of days seemingly long past when men stood up on their own two feet and played the Great Game with style.”
The Wall Street Examiner, a blog of financial analysis and commentary, characterized Dimon’s remarks in a different light, calling it “the new and taunting face of state capitalism in America. ”
Dimon, a combative executive who took up boxing lessons before he joined JPMorgan, has in the past referred to TARP funds as a “scarlet letter” and also called the $25 billion that the Treasury forced JPMorgan to take as a “TARP baby.”
Dimon repeatedly has said the bank did not want to take the money. However, Wall Street banks including JPMorgan accepted the federal funds last year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers to help alleviate concerns about the health of bank balance sheets.
(Picture of Dimon at Business Council in Dallas by Reuters photographer Jessica Rinaldi; Geithner in China shown in pool photo)