Jamie Dimon: more bank consolidation

JPMorgan's chief executive says the US may call on the bank to buy rivals as it did with Bear Stearns last year.

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JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon sees more consolodation ahead in the banking industry.

NEW YORK (Reuters) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co may be called on by regulators for more acquisitions, as the U.S. banking sector is likely to see further consolidation, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on a webcast call Monday.

"There are still too many banks in the United States," Dimon told Calyon Securities analyst Mike Mayo on the call.

JPMorgan last year purchased Bear Stearns Cos at a fire-sale price and snapped up the assets of failed Seattle thrift Washington Mutual Inc.

The second-largest bank is busy absorbing these acquisitions, Dimon said, but added that regulators may still look to JPMorgan to "do something" in terms of acquisitions.

JPMorgan (JPM, Fortune 500) is also looking to grow outside of the United States by expanding existing businesses in countries like Brazil, China, India and Russia, he said.

Consumer businesses in the United States remain under stress and the credit card business in particular is suffering, according to Dimon, who added that he expects these businesses to shrink over the next two years.

"Unemployment and home prices (are) driving losses way beyond what we expected, even (with) unemployment like this," he said.

Discussing the broader economic outlook, however, Dimon said the pace of decline has slowed.

"I don't know if I call it bottoming out, but kind of a crawling along the bottom here -- maybe a little bit better," he said.

JPMorgan posted a better-than-expected first-quarter profit in April, largely helped by trading gains and a surge in underwriting revenue at its investment banking unit, and Dimon warned in a call with analysts last month that those conditions were unlikely to continue into the second quarter.

When Mayo asked him on Monday about April's trading performance, he declined comment. To top of page

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