Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., said he expects the coronavirus pandemic will cause a serious economic downturn and create financial stress similar to the 2008 global financial crisis.
“At a minimum, we assume that it will include a bad recession combined with some kind of financial stress similar to the global financial crisis of 2008,” Dimon said Monday in his annual letter to shareholders.
Dimon said that J.P. Morgan Chase has a strong enough balance sheet to increase lending even in a severe economic downturn. The bank’s internal stress tests indicate that it could increase lending even if GDP drops 35 percent in the second quarter and fails to rise for the remainder of the year.
That kind of drop no longer seems unlikely. On Monday morning, former Fed chair Janet Yellen said she expects GDP to drop 30 percent. But most economists think the economy is likely to rebound later in the year–assuming the coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns undertaken to combat it fade this summer or earlier.
Dimon said that the bank’s ability to expand even in an “extremely adverse” scenario remains strong:
It is also important to be aware that in both our central case scenario for 2020 results and in our extremely adverse scenario, we are lending – currently or plan to do so – an additional $150 billion for our clients’ needs. Despite this, our capital resources and liquidity are very strong in both models. We have over $500 billion in total liquid assets and an incremental $300+ billion borrowing capacity at the Federal Reserve and Federal Home Loan Banks, if needed, to support these loans, as well as meet our liquidity requirements (these numbers do not include the potential use of some of the Fed’s newly created facilities). We could, of course, make our capital and liquidity buffer better by restricting our activities, but we do not intend to do that – our clients need us.
Dimon also outlined measures the banks is taking to provide relief to its customers. According to the letter, those include:
- Providing a 90-day grace period for mortgage and auto loan/lease payments and waiving any associated late fees.
- Removing minimum payment requirements on credit cards and waiving associated late fees.
- Not reporting payment deferrals such as late payments to credit bureaus for up-to-date clients.
- Continuing to responsibly lend to qualified consumers.
- Waiving or refunding some fees, including early withdrawal fees on certificates of deposit.