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JPMorgan Chase Spent $59.5 Billion Buying Back Its Stock from 2017-2019 while Its Bank Tellers Didn’t Make Enough to Pay for Basic Living Expenses

Courtesy of Pam Martens

According to the 10-K (Annual Report) forms that JPMorgan Chase has filed with the SEC for years 2017, 2018, and 2019, it has bought back a total of $59.5 billion of its own common stock, thus inflating its share price by that sum of money. In 2019 the bank bought back a whopping 212,975,185 shares for $24.12 billion; 181,504,483 shares in 2018 for a total of $19.98 billion; and 166,557,198 shares in 2017 for $15.4 billion. Notice that the growth in the dollar amount of the buybacks grew by 56.6 percent from 2017 to 2019.

Who benefitted tremendously from this boosting of the share price? Insiders.

According to the proxy JPMorgan Chase filed with the SEC on April 7, Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, owns 9,385,141 shares of the bank’s common stock – the bulk of which he obtained under “performance” awards given to him by his Board of Directors. (Never mind that Dimon’s “performance” has included racking up an unprecedented five felony counts against the bank and paying out more than $43 billion in fines and settlements for egregious financial abuses since 2014.) As of Friday’s closing price, Dimon’s shares had a market value of $1.44 billion, illustrating how handsomely crime pays on Wall Street.

The only person on the JPMorgan Chase board with more shares of JPMorgan Chase common stock than Dimon is James S. Crown, the Chairman and CEO of Henry Crown and Company. According to the proxy, Crown owns 12,479,698 shares valued at $1.9 billion as of Friday’s close. The bank has an incestuous relationship with Crown, providing financing for his family’s sprawling businesses. Nonetheless, he is called an “independent” director in the proxy.

Both Dimon and Crown benefit greatly from the stock buybacks while thousands of the bank’s workers can’t even meet their monthly bills for the basic necessities of life.

At a 2019 House hearing with Wall Street bank CEOs, Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) asked Dimon for help with a math problem. Porter contrasted how Jamie Dimon’s $31 million in compensation for 2018 compared to what his bank is paying one of its bank tellers — a single mother with a 6-year old daughter.



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