Jamie Dimon appears to have gotten his groove back.
The famously outspoken Chief Executive of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) has been uncharacteristically subdued this spring, as lawmakers raised new questions about the bank's London Whale trading losses and shareholders made a bid to strip Dimon of his joint chairman-CEO title. During earnings calls and a much-watched shareholder meeting last month, Dimon was tight-lipped and largely unquotable, refraining from any quips about tempests in teapots or the reasons why he's richer than his skeptics.
But now that Dimon has prevailed over the shareholder initiative to demote him last month, he appears to have a new renewed appetite for the spotlight. In his first major public appearance since that vote, Dimon on Tuesday fielded investor questions with 55 minutes of rapid-fire patter and occasional profanity about the industry, his bank and that lingering Whale affair.
"Embarrassing! Terrible! Sorry!" he said at one point, in the briefest possible summary of all the explanations and apologies he has made since a London trader lost some $6.2 billion in JPMorgan's chief investment office last year.
A few minutes later Dimon became even more vehement in his defense of the bank: "There was no lying, there was no bull----ing, period," he told investors at a Morgan Stanley (MS) conference.
During his remarks, Dimon held forth on the housing market ("Housing has turned the corner in every way, shape or form"); the future of interest rates ("We would all applaud a normalization of rates"); and his plans for M&A, or lack thereof (regulatory limits mean JPMorgan won't be able to buy another big bank in the United States, "and overseas I'd rather grow organically").
Shareholder votes notwithstanding, JPMorgan is still facing regulatory scrutiny of many of its operations, including its credit card collections and its energy-trading operations. Dimon said Tuesday that JPMorgan would deal with various regulatory probes as they come up, and acknowledged that the bank will continue to take "lumpy" charges on legal expenses.
"Some issues may be behind us, some are in front of us," he said.
But none of that could diminish Dimon's enthusiasm, which by the end of his presentation had turned into a virtual pep rally for his bank: "I am so damn proud of my company. I want you to know that," he concluded.