UPDATE 1-Budget deal could set U.S. economy 'booming' - Dimon

Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:54am EST

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Dec 12 (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon said the United States could have a "booming economy" in a couple of months if lawmakers in Washington reach agreement to deal with the looming spending cuts and tax increases known as the "fiscal cliff."

A budget deal could mean 4 percent economic growth and a drop in unemployment, Dimon said Wednesday at a New York Times conference in New York. A deal would need to link any tax increases with spending cuts, he said.

"The table is set very well right now," Dimon said, citing healthy businesses, an increase in jobs and an improved housing market. "Let's just keep it going."

On another topic, Dimon said the timing of recent changes in his executive team at JPMorgan was due in part to the company's $6.2 billion loss this year on large derivatives positions established by a trader known as the "London Whale."

Since the loss was first disclosed in May, the company has named a new chief financial officer, new heads of its segments for investment banking and retail banking, a new head of its Chief Investment Office, where the losses occurred, and new top officers for risk management.

"The Whale accelerated certain things," Dimon said. The changes were made primarily to make room in the bank's top ranks for his potential successors, he said.

"If I don't move up the people who could be my successor, I could lose them," he said.

Dimon, 56, said again that he does not want to become the next U.S. Treasury secretary. Berkshire Hathaway Inc CEO Warren Buffett recently said Dimon would be good for the job.

"I do not believe I am suited to it," Dimon said. "I don't believe a CEO from Wall Street can get confirmed."

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