When my staff and I started working on compiling our list of Dirty Dozen banks, I realized there are many questions that the list does not answer.
The fact is all of us need to dig deeper, and educate ourselves to obtain a further understanding of the current culture of Wall Street if we are to do anything about fixing it.
I would like nothing better than for there not to be a need for a Dirty Dozen list, but I suspect we’ll be updating that list for years to come.
It was not always this way. Banks, and bankers, used to have their pulses directly linked to the communities they served.
But somewhere along the way, Wall Street became insulated from the rest of America. Their concerns are no longer ours.
Americans realize this, I realize this, and yet despite growing evidence mounting every single day, those in power on Wall Street fail to see the forest from the trees.
And therein lies perhaps the biggest problem with Wall Street. You have a systemic and endemic failure caused by poor moral leadership.
Forget trickle-down economics, Wall Street has a bad case of trickle-down ethics. Or more correctly, a lack thereof.
Dimon continues to push a narrative that he’s sorry, but not ultimately responsible for the problems that have befallen him.
And it is because he continues to push that narrative that I choose to make an example of him. His apologies still ring hollow, because he follows those apologies with some truly bizarre examples of self-deflection.
Really he is a master of it.
When you scratch the surface of Jamie Dimon, when you probe even further, you’ll find a condescending attitude towards those of us on Main Street.
Why else would he end his latest interview with New York Magazine by defending Too Big To Fail by shouting “It’s a free. F******g. Country.” (The italics are the reporter’s, not mine.)
I find it laughable that a man who grew up on Park Avenue tries to talk like someone who grew up in the Bronx.
It may be a free country Jamie, but we are free to undo and break up those institutions that are destroying our great nation.
When you use that kind of tone, it just exposes you as a fraud and it takes every inch of bite out of your so-called apologies.
The New York magazine article starts with Dimon addressing, and then getting defensive with, his latest batch of interns.
The students call Wall Street “an industry with surprisingly low standards” and ask with the banks as large as they have become, “How is it possible to monitor every aspect?”
The defiant CEO’s response is to interrupt them, and then offers this sage piece of wisdom: “I don’t buy this thing that our industry is responsible for all the ills of the world.”
While you may not be responsible for all of the ills, when it comes to many of the problems of Main Street, yes the finger points squarely at you.
It is never a good sign when the college students have a firmer grasp on the pulse of the nation than one of Wall Street’s top CEOs.
And that is why I am so alarmed over the state of our banking system, and why it needs to be gutted from the inside out.
Here you have Jamie Dimon, who has been at the helm of one of the biggest trading losses in history, still clinging on to an outdated system that does not serve its customers as it was allegedly intended to do.
And he is teaching our youth, pushing his contempt onto them, when in truth they should probably be teaching HIM.
And there my friends, is why we have an @OpLaw Dirty Dozen.
Because you have dozens like Jamie Dimon, who still find it incredulous that a CEO of a bank responsible for a trading loss in the billions would have to take responsibility for that loss.
Instead of listening to the actual truth, Dimon and others like him continue to push their own truth, which is a completely separate narrative.
And anyone who questions that truth gets called out on the carpet by Jamie. Or worse yet, ignored.
Dimon was asked point blank about Sandy Weill’s call to break up the banks. He would not even bother to address it. In fact, he gets upset at the mere mention of a possibility of a bank break-up.
Sadly, there will always be a need for a Dirty Dozen list unless Wall Street rids itself of Dimon’s insolent attitude.
The only way that will ever happen is if Wall Street owns up to its mistakes and pushes people like Dimon aside, then rebuilds itself from the ground up.
I challenge you Jamie Dimon to a debate. You have laid the gauntlet down.
I challenge you to answer who is more responsible for the economic crisis that we are in: Wall Street or Main Street.
Name the time and place. I will be there, and we can settle this argument like men, as we used to do back on the streets in the Bronx.
From The Trenches,