COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Jamie Dimon wrote his annual shareholder letter, the war in Ukraine was a few weeks old and interest rates were relatively low. Many of the main points to shareholders then are as relevant or even more relevant now.
The JPMorgan Chase chief executive officer said they were prepared for market fluctuation and volatility. It happened. He thought the Federal Reserve should be more aggressive than 25 basis point hikes. It happened.
In his visit to the Ohio Chamber of Commerce 2022 State of Business Summit, he made time to talk to 10TV’s Clay Gordon in an exclusive television interview.
“Clearly, at this point… we need to raise rates, inflation is 8%, it may come down a little bit, but wages aren't going to come down that quickly, house prices aren’t coming down that quickly, commodity prices, fuel, gas, wheat and corn are not going to come down that quickly,” said Dimon. “[The Feds] have to meet that to try to slow the economy down just enough, you know, there are so-called softly landing, slow it down, inflation starts coming down. And I think we're going to have to be pretty aggressive at this point. And I also think, the more they do now, the easier it will be later. So, I wouldn't wait too long.”
Gordon asked Dimon about his opinion on the United States reverting to ‘Cold War strategies’ on the war in Ukraine. Dimon says there are ways to shore up European nations to help the economy.
“I think the war is kind of different,” said Dimon. “The economy is one thing; the war is far more serious. Our hearts go out to the Ukrainians who are suffering terribly. The sanctions work. And they're a tool in the tool chest. They are not a tank, and not weapons and airplanes. And we think they probably reduced the Russian GDP by 10%. And the next round, easily do another 10%.”
He thinks elected leaders need to form an alliance to make sure if commodities fluctuate, or supply chains are disrupted, the United States’ economy would not be held captive to a foreign power.
“I think we have to be prepared to get more oil and gas to Europe to keep the alliance together, and to do it quickly,” said Dimon. “That does not mean we have to stop green goals… we should still approve these projects. And but this is war, and oil and gas is needed now this winter, in Europe, for allies. And I think we better be very clear. The other thing, which I think people should keep in mind, is oil and gas prices go very high, because we failed to do that. People that are turned off oil and gas, not going to buy it too expensive to be poor nations, and they're going to do more coal, it will be far dirtier.”
When pressed on large corporations taking stances on legislation on gender and sexuality in the classroom to a potential Supreme Court decision on abortion rights, Dimon said companies need to approach every law or opinion cautiously.
“You have to be very careful on this one,” said Dimon. “We support proper voting rights, totally, but when you talk about the voting laws [a] state passes, there are usually 100 things in there. And you might sit here and say I support 50, but not the other 50. Same with some of these bills for gender and schools. And same for some of these other things, so I’d be very careful to say ‘support.’ We support the LGBT community 100%. That doesn't mean that every law on its own passed that we agree with every piece of it and so I don't think corporate America should become a weapon for you the left and the right, and adopt those things. We still have our principles, and there are times you should fight those principles, but I’d read those laws very carefully. We have.”
“What does that mean for, you know, some of the branches you have in most states? And you know, some of those states have those laws?” asked Gordon.
"When we have something to say we'll say it,” said Dimon. “And obviously the first thing I would worry about is our employees. And so that will be something we think through how we want to respond to that. And we may respond to that separately from commenting on the law.”
To hear more from Dimon on new equitable lending practices for people of color at JPMorgan Chase, the new Morgan Health initiative underway in Columbus, and the building of the new company headquarters in Manhattan, watch the entire one-on-one interview with 10TV’s Clay Gordon below.