Oops We Did It Again…Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan Chase

JAMieDIMON2 Oops We Did It Again...Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan Chase

The PR Verdict: “B” for JP Morgan Chase and Jamie Dimon.

How do you say sorry for losing $2 billion?  Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase seems to have got it right.  With a remorseful mea culpa, he announced last week a blow-out trading loss from credit derivatives.  From one of the banks  least scathed by the 2008 financial crisis, JPM’s surprise market malfunction was announced with aplomb.

The previously revered Jamie Dimon and his firm blamed the losses on “errors, sloppiness and bad judgment” and ominously warned, “it could get worse”.   Was this the same issue that had been raised in April but Dimon then dismissed as “tempest in a teacup”?  In a TV interview he said he was “dead wrong” to have dismissed earlier concerns.

In PR terms, so far so good but now the tough part.  For the CEO who has been the industry spokesperson against regulation and in particular trading restrictions proposed by the Volcker Rule, future lobbying efforts will now be muzzled (or at least should be).  Having cavalierly dismissed the notion of “too big to fail” as “non factual” he has at least temporarily, lost the PR right to belittle proposed oversight rules and restrictions.

The PR Verdict: “B” for JP Morgan Chase and Jamie Dimon.  From an industry that has lost its halo, the PR strategy to explain an “oops we did it again” $2 billion loss was well handled.  The challenge is what to say next.

PR Takeaway: No one likes a smarty pants.  Sunday’s NYTimes quoted a recent dinner in Dallas where Dimon was talking to valued clients about the much-discussed Volcker rule and its restrictions.  Dimon, allegedly imperious and heavy-handed, dismissed the debate as “infantile”.  He now needs to take a more humble and conciliatory tone.  With an uncapped trading loss of $2 billion dollars, the assumption that he and the industry know best, has well and truly hit the skids.

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What’s your PR Verdict?

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Why is Wall Street still our favourite villain?

wallst Why is Wall Street still our favourite villain?

The PR Verdict: "D" for Wall Street.

Wall Street continues to feel unloved. The latest poll by Harris Interactive had only 17 % of respondents with a favorable image of Wall Street, down from 23% last year. According to the survey, Wall Street sits at the loser table in the high school cafeteria along with Big Tobacco. How do you make Wall Street one of the cool kids again?

Banks have recently been touting their small-business lending programs and charitable work, but the dial continues to move in the wrong direction. Why?

It is generally accepted that Occupy Wall Street and the ongoing mortgage mess reflect a seismic breakdown in trust.  In addition, the key PR challenge for Wall Street is to prove its long-term added value benefit to society.

The PR Verdict: “D” for Wall Street.  While small business lending is expected of banks, the tough PR challenge is justifying how the financial wizardry found on Wall Street serves the wider public good.

The Harris report was ironically released at the same time as deadlines for submissions to the proposed Volcker Rule.  The rule, which seeks to limit proprietary trading by banks, had firms in overdrive the last few days, publicly objecting to the change.  In the subsequent media coverage, Wall Street failed to articulate  the wider public-good benefits of proprietary trading, allowing the the opposing and oft-repeated accusation that it creates systemic risk, to gain ground.

Unless Wall Street makes big picture PR a genuine priority, they might be chumming with Big Tobacco a little longer.

How would you rate Wall Street’s efforts at a comeback?

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