Dimon: Shadow banking threat to US economy

Jamie Dimon

Cancer can't keep Jamie Dimon down, and he thinks there isn't a lot that will keep the U.S. economy down.

However, he sees one thing that could derail the recovery: The $3.2 trillion ($15 trillion globally) nonbank financial system, or "shadow banks."

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The JPMorgan Chase CEO spoke Friday at the Institute of International Finance membership meeting in Washington, D.C., and delivered a mostly upbeat message.

However, asked what keeps him up at night, he said nonbank lending poses a danger "because no one is paying attention to it." He said the system is "huge" and "growing."

Nonbank lending was a contributing factor in the financial crisis due to firms lending money to low-quality borrowers who then defaulted on mortgages in droves.

He said, though, that the long-range prospects are good for the U.S.

"I'm a real long-term bull on the U.S. economy," he said on a panel with other Wall Street banking heavyweights, including Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan , in a discussion about the future of finance.

"Innovation ... it's everywhere. It's unbelievable," Dimon said. "From nanotechnology to solar ... the technologies that are going to benefit the global economy are going to be huge."

He added, though, that policymakers are going to have to find a way to solve income inequality, which he said is causing the most negative feelings about the economy.

"A lot of people got hurt, obviously, in this global recession. I do think there's a true issue in income inequality," Dimon said. "It's a serious issue for politicians. It's not something we want."

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He suggested earned income tax credits, better education and job training as ways to remedy inequality.

"Until we are doing better for everybody you are going to have this sour attitude and hostility toward banks and businesses," Dimon said.

Dimon's appearance comes just a month after he wrapped up treatments for a throat cancer diagnosis in July and is his first since the company's last earnings call.

It's all part of a busy month for Dimon, who is expected to lead JPMorgan's conference call when it reports earnings Oct. 14, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

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