As anger mounts against JPMorgan Chase, now comes word that there's a criminal investigation into $5 billion of speculative gambling losses because company traders tried to hedge their bets against the marketplace.
At a recent Chase shareholder meeting, people were practically throwing pies at pictures of chief executive Jamie Dimon. They wanted to strip him of his chairmanship. Even average Americans are calling for blood on this one too. So is it time for Chase bankers to do the perp walk on the road to financial reform?
Well, the reality is that unless there are details that have not come out yet, what we know so far does not constitute criminal behavior.
The real problem here is that Chase was the sole big bank that had not gone insolvent and they supposedly had the best risk management. But unfortunately they couldn't weather this one. Now there's talk of regulations requiring all big banks not to engage in risky behavior with what's essentially tax payer money.
Yet the reality is you can't regulate or legislate away stupidity!
This much is clear: The giant monster mega-banks are too complicated to exist as they do now where all the risk falls to us. Maybe we should take away the FDIC insurance that protects bank deposits up to $250,000, and then leave it up to the customer to decide whether or not to do business with big banks. That would encourage them to get smaller real fast!
So sure, it would be satisfying to see the perp walk. But it doesn't solve the core problem.