By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: November 10, 2021 ~
According to Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s daily appointment calendar, he met privately with Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, from 3:00 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 30.
JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States. It is supervised – badly – by the Federal Reserve. Just how bad is that supervision? JPMorgan Chase is the only U.S. bank to have been charged by the Justice Department with five felony counts since 2014 – admitting to all of them.
But despite that unfathomable number of felony counts under the same Chairman and CEO, the Board of JPMorgan Chase didn’t sack Dimon. The Federal Reserve didn’t order JPMorgan Chase’s Board to sack Dimon either – not even after the bank was charged with rigging the U.S. Treasury market last year – the market that allows the U.S. government to pay its bills. Instead, what the Fed has done throughout this unprecedented era of felony charges against the nation’s largest bank is to give JPMorgan Chase a no-bid contract to be the custodian of all of the agency Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) that the Fed has been buying up since 2009. (See our previous report: Despite Its Five Felony Counts, the Federal Reserve Has Entrusted $2 Trillion in Bonds to JPMorgan Chase.)
Given this background, it looks spurious for Fed Chair Jerome Powell to be having private meetings with Jamie Dimon.
The meeting occurred on the same day that Powell gave testimony, in person, before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. So, it is likely, although not a given, that Dimon traveled to Washington, D.C. from New York to meet with Powell. Exactly what was so important about this meeting that it had to be in person, instead of a phone call?
The date of the meeting, September 30, 2021, just happens to be the exact date that the Fed was mandated, under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation, to release the names of the banks and the billions of dollars each had borrowed in the third quarter of 2019 from the Fed’s emergency repo loan bailouts that began on September 17, 2019.
The Fed’s emergency repo loans were made via Open Market operations at the New York Fed. Under Dodd-Frank, the names of the banks, dollar amounts borrowed, interest rate and collateral posted must be made public “on the last day of the eighth calendar quarter following the calendar quarter in which the covered transaction was conducted.” That was the date Dimon met with Powell, September 30, 2021.
Wall Street On Parade was the first news outlet to report on the fact that the Fed had released the data for the repo loans it made in September 2019. (The Fed will be announcing the data for the fourth quarter of 2019 on December 31, 2021, and each subsequent quarter thereafter.)
The data released by the Fed showed that on the first day of the emergency repo loan operations on September 17, 2019 the New York Fed provided a total of $53.15 billion in one-day repo loans. JPMorgan Securities, the trading unit of JPMorgan Chase, was the largest borrower at $7.6 billion or 14 percent of the total. At that point in time, JPMorgan Chase held $1.6 trillion in deposits. Why would it need to borrow $7.6 billion from the New York Fed on the very first day the emergency repo loan operations opened?
By September 27, JPMorgan Securities had a total of $20 billion in 14-day term repo loans outstanding. On September 30, JPMorgan Securities took an additional $8 billion one day repo loan.
The Fed’s repo loans grew exponentially after September 17, 2019. By January 27, 2020, the Fed had pumped $6.6 trillion cumulatively in cheap repo loans to the trading units of Wall Street banks. There was no COVID-19 pandemic crisis in the U.S. at the time to account for this emergency bailout.
There were rumors at the time the Fed initiated its emergency repo loans in the fall of 2019 that JPMorgan Chase had played a role in triggering the lack of liquidity in the repo loan market by withdrawing huge sums from its liquid reserves at the Fed. The $158 billion that JPMorgan Chase withdrew in 2019 from its liquid reserves at the Fed represented 57 percent of its total reserves at the Fed. That is a stunning amount to draw down in a short period of time. We attempted to learn more about this by filing two Freedom of Information Act requests, one with the Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. and one with the New York Fed, which likes to say that it follows the Federal Reserve’s FOIA guidelines, despite being a private corporation owned by the mega banks on Wall Street.
The Federal Reserve acknowledged to Wall Street On Parade on March 11, 2020 that it had 233 documents that might shed some light on why JPMorgan Chase was allowed by the Fed to draw down $158 billion of its reserves, creating a liquidity crisis in the overnight loan market according to sources on Wall Street. After taking four months to respond to what should have been a 20-business day turnaround on our Freedom of Information Act request, the Federal Reserve denied our FOIA in its entirety. (Our earlier request to the New York Fed resulted in the same kind of stonewalling. See The New York Fed Is Keeping JPMorgan’s Secrets Close to Its Chest.)
This story got decidedly weirder after October 13, 2021 when we exposed the names of the banks and the huge amounts they had borrowed between September 17 and September 30, 2019. No major business media outlet picked up the story. No major media outlet appeared to care that the same banks that were bailed out in 2008 with trillions of dollars in cumulative secret loans from the Fed were being bailed out again, while Fed Chair Jerome Powell was telling both Congress and the media that these banks were well capitalized.
To make certain that the reporters from the major media outlets that attend Jerome Powell’s press conferences and cover the Federal Reserve on a regulator basis were aware that the data had been released by the Fed, we emailed ten of those reporters. Not one of those reporters wrote about the breaking news. (See our report: The Wall Street Journal and New York Times Censor Yet Another Major News Story on the Fed and the Mega Banks It Supervises.)
This saga raises key questions for all engaged Americans: did the Fed ask the media outlets to censor the story? Did Dimon ask Powell to ask the media to censor the story? If not, what was Dimon’s private meeting with Powell about?
But the two broader questions are: why is Congress still allowing the Fed to “supervise” the mega banks on Wall Street when it has so convincingly demonstrated its failed status as a supervisor; and, can Americans really say that corporate owned media represents freedom of the press when such an important story as this is censored across all the major media outlets?