JPMorgan Chase After the Financial Crisis
When Jamie Dimon took over as CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMorgan Chase) in 2005 he reaffirmed the commitment to pursue a "Universal Bank" strategy - providing a full range of products and services to both retail and wholesale clients. Yet the merits of the universal bank had long been disputed. After 2008, the Financial Crisis and subsequent Great Recession damaged many global and domestic financial services firms. While the Government bailed out universal banks and monoline financial institutions alike, both governments and public clamored for action against banks they deemed "too big to fail." Regulators around the world stepped in to increase capital requirements while the U.S. government passed the Dodd-Frank bill, which improved transparency and accountability, and, with the Volcker Rule, limited banks' ability to pursue proprietary trading. In response, many financial institutions reduced their scope and reshaped their portfolios. In this context, JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S. by assets since 2011, which had successfully weathered the financial crisis in part due to the benefits of diversification, emerged with a ""fortress balance sheet" and an improved position in the banking league tables. Nevertheless, the bank faced pressure from many directions, including large civil fines to settle, analysts' arguments about its "conglomerate discount," and regulation that penalized size, interconnectedness and complexity. Despite the pressure, Jamie Dimon remained vocal in advocating for the value of a broad scope, large scale financial services firm. However, questions remained about the optimal scope of the bank, and how JPMorgan Chase could best allocate resources across its diverse lines of business in the face of new regulations designed to limit size and complexity.
Facilitates a discussion around the optimal scope of a large financial institution and the value of diversification vs. simplification. Highlights challenges banks face in light of regulatory reforms and how to demonstrate value to various stakeholders.
- 2016 President and Fellows of Harvard College
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