J.P. Morgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon told employees that his takeovers of failed banks and billions of dollars in loans made during the 2008 financial crisis were done to support the country.
“Counter to what most people think, many of the extreme actions we took were not done to make a profit; they were done to support our country and the financial system,” Dimon said in a Friday memo obtained exclusively by CNBC.
Dimon, 62, revisited the causes of the 2008 calamity and the moves the bank took in a memo sent on the 10-year anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
The purpose of his message was seemingly to point out that, while his moves have benefited J.P. Morgan — now the world’s biggest bank by market capitalization — at the time they were calculated risks.
J.P. Morgan acquired investment bank Bear Stearns and the retail banking assets of Washington Mutual during the tumult of the crisis. Those takeovers later lead to billions of dollars in litigation costs tied to mortgages, and Dimon has said that in hindsight he wouldn’t have done the Bear Stearns deal for that reason.
In the decade since that seismic, once-in-a-generation upheaval, Dimon has pressed his advantages, winning a top market share in areas from credit cards to bond trading and plowing billions of dollars into technology. The company produced an industry-best $24.4 billion in profit last year.