Jamie Dimon makes his case for keeping big banks big

Dimon is not afraid of Bernie
Dimon is not afraid of Bernie

J.P. Morgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon wants to convince Americans that big banks are good for the country.

"You need [big banks]. If you break them up, somebody else is going to do it and it will be [the] Chinese and if you think that's going to be good for the future of America, I beg to differ,'' Dimon recently told CNNMoney.

In a wide ranging interview that covered several topics from economic growth to income inequality, Dimon emphasized the importance that banks like his play in the nation's economy.

J.P. Morgan's $2 trillion in assets makes it one of the few banks that can raise huge sums of money for clients around the world -- a service that Dimon suggests wields power for the U.S. "You need to be a big global bank to do that," said Dimon.

In August, industry publication SNL Financial released a list of the biggest banks around the world. Four of the five largest are Chinese, and not one is American. J.P. Morgan Chase ranked sixth.

"When I travel around the world -- I was just in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong -- we help their country, their people, their companies. They want us, they want more of our capital and our brain power," said Dimon.

Dimon is making the case for big banks as the political rhetoric against them heats up.

During the last CNN debate, the Democratic candidates clashed over their plans to regulate Wall Street. Both Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley favored reinstating Glass-Steagall, which would likely force the break-up of big banks like JPMorgan and Bank of America. It would prohibit them from engaging in both investment banking and plain vanilla services like taking deposits and providing mortgages.

Hillary Clinton also talked tough, though stopped short of endorsing a return to Glass-Steagall.

Those in favor of Glass-Steagall say having so much power in just a few banks creates too much risk.

In response, Dimon says JPMorgan routinely tests its risk controls. "We invent new ones just to scare ourselves," said Dimon.

One potential frightening event for Wall Street: A Bernie Sanders presidency. Had J.P. Morgan stress tested for that?

Not exactly: "I don't think Bernie is going to win," said Dimon. And if he did, could Dimon talk him out of a break-up? "I would hope so," he said.

More from CNNMoney's interview with Jamie Dimon

Social Surge - What's Trending

Investing

CNNMoney Sponsors