Dimon had begun
with an overview of the bank’s individual businesses that had followed a
video highlighting the firm’s achievements in 2009.
fortress-like atmosphere at the meeting was punctured in the early
moments of Dimon’s speech by shouting from an investor later identified
as Bruce Marks, chief executive of the Neighborhood Assistance
Corporation of America, a non-profit community and home ownership
Although he was
led away by security, as a shareholder, he had the right to remain.
NACA had bussed in
protesters to complain about the JP Morgan’s mortgage modification
process and the demonstrators all held house keys, with their names on,
to give to the bank’s executives. A number of individual shareholders
got up to tell their stories about their mortgage difficulties and were
directed to a special team who were on hand to deal with their queries.
The bank was also
asked to review its lending to minority groups. Reverend Jesse Jackson
said: ‘The Titanic did not sink because there were problems on deck but
because of water coming in at the bottom and JP Morgan cannot command
its own ship if there is a problem with the flotilla.”
Dimon said the
real estate market was getting better and not worse as customer
delinquencies and charge-offs are falling. He said: “More jobs will be
good for housing prices and the economy is getting better as we speak.”
A number of
shareholder groups and an individual from Appalachia bought up the issue
of mountaintop removal for coal mining in the region, which they said
was destroying the environment. They welcomed the bank’s commitment in
its corporate responsibility report to stop financing companies that
mine coal using a majority of mountain top removal but urged the
commitment to be more specific, transparent and verifiable. Dimon said
the bank will follow government regulation on the issue.
The meeting lasted
just over three hours leading one 77-year old to regularly take up to
the microphone and ask for the meeting to be moved on, saying : ‘I’m
still not getting any younger.” In return, Dimon quipped : “But you’re
Overall, Dimon met
with applause whenever he was complimented by shareholders and a motion
to separate the roles of chairman and chief executive was defeated,
receiving 33.9% of votes, despite Calpers, Californian pension giant,
voting in support of the shareholder proposal.
might still have seemed uncomfortably high for Dimon.
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