The boss of JPMorgan said “greedy, selfish” and overpaid bankers let the American people down in the run-up to the financial crisis.
Jamie Dimon, who was in charge of the Wall Street bank during the crash of 2007-8 and remains in post today, said he bore no responsibility for what unfolded, before conceding that he took “some”.
“I believe there were people ... who were greedy, selfish, did the wrong stuff, overpaid themselves and couldn’t give a damn. Yes,” Mr Dimon told CBS’s 60 Minutes programme.
The crisis which grew out of a bubble in US mortgage debt was a “huge error, it was hugely damaging”, he said. “I think we let the American people down.”
Mr Dimon also criticised Donald Trump’s tax cut for wealthy individuals even though he benefited from it personally.
“I would not have cut the tax on the rich. I would’ve extended the Earned Income Tax Credit instead – which is like a negative income tax credit for lower-paid people,” he said.
Mr Dimon, who is worth about $1.6bn and earned $31m last year, added: “We probably should change the minimum wage, which I don’t think has been changed for like 10 or 15 years. There are solutions to these problems. The problems are real. It does not mean free enterprise is bad.”
He told the programme that he believed wealth inequality was a huge problem.
“I think the wealthy have been getting wealthier too much in many ways, so middle class incomes have been kind of flat for maybe 15 years or so, and that’s not particularly good in America.”
But, although he expressed concern about inequality he criticised people such as Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren for “vilifying” the extremely wealthy.
“Anything that vilifies people, I just don’t like. I think that most people are good; not all of them,” Mr Dimon said. “I think you should vilify Nazis, but you shouldn’t vilify people who’ve worked hard to accomplish things.”
Ms Warren has put taxing billionaires and the top 0.1 per cent of earners at the heart of her bid for the Democratic nomination and ultimately the presidency.
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