JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon said he regrets coming up with a ridicule that his bank is likely to survive China’s Communist Party.
“I regret and should not have made that comment,” Dimon said in a statement from the bank on Wednesday. “I tried to emphasize the strength and durability of our business.”
Dimon made the remarks Tuesday during a talk at the Boston College Chief Executives Club, where he discussed his firm’s commitment to China in wide-ranging comments.
“We hope to be there for a long time,” Dimon said of China on Tuesday. He shared a joke he made during a recent visit to Hong Kong: “The Communist Party is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The same is JPMorgan. And I will bet we last longer.”
With nearly $ 20 billion in exposure in the world’s second largest economy – and great ambitions to expand even further – the US Bank desperately needs to maintain cordial relations with a government that is sensitive to anything that might be questioned. by its legitimacy.
Members of the New York-based bank’s government relations team and China offices had internal discussions on Dimon’s remarks after he spoke Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.
While some leaders expressed concern that the joke could be considered insensitive, the government team told the group that Dimon intended to emphasize the longevity of JPMorgan’s Chinese business instead of criticizing the party. Since noon Wednesday in China, the bank had not communicated with officials on the issue, the person said, asking not to be identified while discussing private information.
A spokesman for JPMorgan said Dimon strongly supports a constructive and detailed economic dialogue with China and JPMorgan is committed to the country.
“I regret my recent comment because it is never right to joke with or demean any group of people, whether it is a country, its leadership or part of a society and a culture,” Dimon said in an email. “Speaking that way can take away from constructive and thought-provoking dialogue in society that is needed now more than ever.”
Dimon is one of the longest-serving and most outspoken executives on Wall Street, and this is not the first time he has gone back to public comment. In 2018, he promised at a philanthropy event that he could beat Donald Trump in an election because he was smarter than the president, only to issue a statement hours later in which he said he should not have said so.
Earlier this year, JPMorgan won approval from Chinese regulators to fully own its Chinese investment firm – a sign that US financial firms are moving forward with plans to expand in the country despite tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
One of the few posts about Dimon’s comment on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform, came from Shen Yi, a lecturer at Fudan University who has more than 1.5 million followers. “This guy is really quite arrogant,” Shen wrote. He later added: “It appears that JPMorgan will not have its newly acquired license.”
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper, wrote in his Weibo account, which has 24 million followers: “I bet the Chinese Communist Party will survive the United States.”
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