JPMorgan CEO: I'm staying put, and bank is growing

NEW YORK Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:03pm EST

Jamie Dimon, CEO and chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., answers a question during an interview in his office in New York, in this photo taken December 22, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Jamie Dimon, CEO and chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co., answers a question during an interview in his office in New York, in this photo taken December 22, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said his bank will not be "goaded into doing something dumb" with its capital, even as it prepares an aggressive expansion in consumer and private banking over the next five years.

Speaking at the bank's annual investor day, Dimon said the bank is prepared to withstand any phasing out of mortgage financiers Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB), despite being one of the nation's largest home loan providers.

This is in part because it expects 2011 to be a year of growth for the bank, primarily through existing businesses but especially in Latin America and Asia, he said.

Dimon, a Democrat, also downplayed persistent speculation he might leave the second-largest U.S. bank by assets to go into the political arena.

"I'm not going into politics and I'm not opening a restaurant. I love what I do. I want to be here. I want to stay," he said.

Dimon added: "There are people here who can take my spot."

BRANCH BANKING GROWTH

JPMorgan plans to will add at least 1,000 branches in the next three years and could add up to 2,000 within five years, said retail financial services Chief Executive Charlie Scharf.

The bank said it expects "aggressive growth" in California and Florida in particular. It ended September with 5,172 U.S. branches, trailing Wells Fargo & Co's (WFC.N) roughly 6,500 and the nearly 6,000 that Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) operates.

Scharf said branch expansion will largely be in areas where Chase operates now. He also said there were few attractive opportunities for Chase to grow by buying another bank.

"When you look at our existing footprint, we know exactly who we'd be interested in and not interested in, and we know the same for out-of-footprint and it's not a long list of names," he said. "A lot of the smaller transactions that you see for us don't seem to make a whole lot of sense."

JPMorgan significantly boosted its branch network in 2008 when it bought the banking business of Washington Mutual Inc, the largest U.S. bank or thrift to fail.

CONCERNS

Despite beating analyst estimates for fourth-quarter earnings, JPMorgan faces questions about declining trading volumes, its long-time ties to imprisoned Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, its foreclosure practices and pending financial regulation, which could crimp profits.

Scharf addressed part of the regulation issue, saying JPMorgan stood to lose $1.3 billion of revenue from new regulations on debit card processing fees.

Shares of JPMorgan closed up 28 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $46.82, compared with a 0.3 percent decline in the KBW Bank Index .BKX.

Two months after investor days, shares of a bank have historically risen an average of 15 percent, according to a Barclays Capital research note published last week.

(Writing by Ben Berkowitz and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Gunna Dickson and Steve Orlofsky)