JPMorgan chief says US economy looking good

Mr Jamie Dimon says jobs are being created and wages rising, while consumer credit is strong.
Mr Jamie Dimon says jobs are being created and wages rising, while consumer credit is strong.

BOSTON • JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon says the US economy still looks "pretty good" and that there is no law that says growth cannot continue.

But there will be a downturn at some point, Mr Dimon told the John F. Kennedy Jr Forum at Harvard University on Wednesday.

Asked to assess the chances the United States economy would dip into a recession, he said that was a certainty, but he could not say when.

He said growth for now looked robust as more jobs were being created, wages were rising, consumer credit was strong and the rest of the world was performing relatively well.

"I think it should be OK through 2018 and part of 2019," Mr Dimon said, adding that the economy looked "pretty good".

Speaking at a forum about revitalising Detroit, Mr Dimon added that good public policies, including streamlining certain regulations, were critical to keeping the economic engine running.

"If you have an idea to build a bridge, it takes 10 years to get the permits... it is a disgrace and it needs to be fixed," Mr Dimon said.

Speaking just across the river from Boston, he also said the bank planned to open branches there.

JPMorgan has already laid out plans to increase its branch network by roughly 8 per cent and open about 400 new locations. Besides Boston, Mr Dimon said the bank was eyeing Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

He said those branches would have fewer tellers but more financial advisers to help solve customers' problems. He said technology would certainly change the face of banking but that people still needed loans and financial advice.

"You use technology to do a better job for clients. I am not afraid at all about technology," he said.

As head of the biggest US bank, Mr Dimon is often seen as the face of Wall Street.

Lately, he has turned more of his attention to advocating for public policies to boost the economy, including infrastructure and job skills training.

JPMorgan has committed US$150 million (S$197 million) to help revitalise Detroit.

The bank's investment is primarily focused on Detroit's neighbourhoods rather than its downtown.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2018, with the headline 'JPMorgan chief says US economy looking good'. Print Edition | Subscribe