Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said in a memo that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed weaknesses that require a bipartisan approach to correction. The note came out ahead of the shareholder meeting that was held remotely on Tuesday (May 19).
“As a nation, we were clearly not equipped for this global pandemic, and the consequences have been devastating. But it is forcing us to work together, and it is improving civility and reminding us that we all live on one planet,” he said in the note.
Dimon called the pandemic a “wake-up call” that revealed the millions of Americans “who have been left behind for too long.”
“The last few months have laid bare the reality that, even before the pandemic hit, far too many people were living on the edge,” Dimon said in the letter, emphasizing that nearly 40 percent of people who lost jobs came from households with incomes of less than $40,000.
JPMorgan Chase is in a good position, he said, and has awarded over $30 billion in loans to over 250,000 businesses as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The company also approved in excess of $45 billion in new credit in March and April for customers who were financially impacted by the pandemic.
“We incorporate plans for resilience in everything we do — resilience for hurricanes, data center failures, cyberattacks and other issues. And while we had not envisioned the effects of a pandemic like this one, all of this preparation has paid off,” Dimon said in the letter.
He also added that JPMorgan has assisted 1.5 million account holders who were “struggling financially” by postponing payments and refunding fees.
“We entered this crisis in a position of strength,” he said, adding that the firm has set records for revenue and net income. “No matter the challenge, we manage our company consistently with principles that have stood the test of time.”
JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank by assets, has committed $50 million to help address “the long-term economic challenges people face.” Dimon said the funding will be “deployed over time” and will target the people and communities that need it most.
The CEO outlined the company’s strategies for dealing with the pandemic in his annual letter to shareholders on April 6. “We have the resources to emerge from this crisis as a stronger country,” he said in the letter. “America is still the most prosperous nation the world has ever seen.”