Chase CEO Wants You All To Know "We Live In A Free. Fucking. Country."

Jamie Dimon is many things. CEO of JPMorgan Chase. Crusader for the rights of banks. Self-proclaimed “defender of the truth.” A living, breathing, F-bomb-dropping reminder that we don’t live in the Soviet Union.

“I don’t buy this thing that our industry is responsible for all the ills of the world,” Dimon recently explained in a Q&A session with Chase summer interns. “We have great people at JPMorgan Chase. We operate with a lot of rigor. Our clients are happy with us. Sure, we make mistakes, like we have got this Whale thing. Businesses make mistakes. So we’ve got to clean them up, learn from them, and get better.”

Later, in a sit-down interview with NY Magazine, Dimon defends big banks against recent remarks made by former Citigroup CEO — and founding father of the big bank trend — Sandy Weill that these institutions have gotten perilously large and need to be broken up into investment banks and consumer banks.

“There are huge benefits to size,” says Dimon. “We bank Caterpillar in like 40 countries. We can do a $20 billion bridge loan overnight for a company that’s about to do a major acquisition. Size lets us build a $500 million data center that speeds up transactions and invest billions of dollars in products like ATMs and apps that allow your iPhone to deposit checks. We move $2 trillion a day, and you can see it by account, by company. These aren’t, like, little things. And they accrue to the customer. That’s what capitalism is.”

He also takes issue with those who portray of bankers as a greedy, corrupt group.

“Most bankers are decent, honorable people,” Dimon claims. “We’re wrapped up in all this crap right now. We made a mistake. We’re sorry. It doesn’t detract from all the good things we’ve done. I am not responsible for the financial crisis.”

And to those who think that lawmakers are bowing to pressures from Wall Street, Dimon implies that it’s the other way around and that it’s bankers who are running in fear from regulators.

“Everyone is afraid of retaliation and retribution,” he explains. “We recently had an event with a hundred small bankers here, and 85 percent of them said they can’t challenge the regulation because of the potential retribution. That’s a terrible thing. Okay? This is not the Soviet Union. This is the United States of America. That’s what I remember. Guess what?… [shouting] It’s a free. Fucking. Country.”

122 Minutes With Jamie Dimon [NYmag.com]