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Banking: Innovator vs. Imitator

January 21, 2009 | About:

In today's world CEOs with collapsing stock prices try to engender support by FINALLY throwing in with shareholders by going out and ACTUALLY buying the stock in the open market. This is intended to show that they are confident in their company and put their money where their mouth is (Note : Many of these CEOs earn north of $10 million a year and in some cases north of $25 million.), and thus we shareholders should gain confidence by understanding they are now in it with us (Of course, the shareholder does not get paid obscene levels of compensation and has generally been invested at much higher levels when the CEOs were just as confident about the company. The difference is the stock they have is from grants and options and not from salary and savings like us. They are now finally doing that to show extreme confidence or Parlor trick to keep their nice salaried jobs and perks? You be the judge.)

Now, today is very interesting in my opinion. Today, it seems that JP Morgan's CEO Jamie Dimon bought over $11 million dollars worth about 500,000 shares of JPM. Now, there are a lot of CEOs out their buying stock but I must say this is impressive. This seems like a real buy. Like when he was the last guy sitting in the room after everyone else called in by the Fed and Treasury had left and he nailed his deal for Bear Stearns complete with an initial dollar a share price, some nice government financing and back stops. I believe Jamie is the "real deal", and let's not forget his bank does NOT appear to be insolvent. For lack of a better word, I'll call him the "Innovator".

Now, Jamie was not only the banker out their to prove his metal by putting forth some of that big pay salary pay check into his company like so many of the lowly shareholders have to do in order to acquire stock (Sorry still no option or stock grants for the common shareholder. Just dividend reinvest for FREE.) for the American Banker's "Banker of the Year" Mr. Ken Lewis bought some stock today as well.

I can only image Mr. Banker of the Year calmly, but definitely with an assured nature (pompous people are always assured) strode into the office for all to see and hear and barked into the receiver of the phone "I Buy", "Our stock" "At the Market" "200,000 shares". He places the phone back down. Looks around the office to see if anyone noticed and gets a great feeling and mental image of how powerful and commanding his purchase must seem to all that heard, saw and will read of his move. Most importantly how can they still focus on my completely inept purchase of Countrywide (remember two phase purchase. First phase, blew billions for a small percentage of the company. Second phase, buy whole company to cover first blunder. Sent to corner with "Dunce hat".) followed by massive blow-up of the company with my Merrill Lynch acquisition that placed us in insolvency and cost my shareholders not only billions in net worth but also wiped out their income for my dividend is now a whopping 1 cent. But and I couldn't believe it: Mr. Banker of the Year believes he did the right thing by going through with the Merrill acquistion because it was right for drum roll please, America. America's government just took shareholders dividend Ken!

Mr. Lewis, who I believe earned over $25 million last year and believe it or not what a MEGA multimillion dollar bonus this year until someone must have tackled "ole Jethro" and talked him into forgoing it less he be fired on the spot with his latest disaster announcement of going back to the TARP and getting his shareholders beat around the head and shoulders by a congress intent on earning votes by protecting tax payers (Of course every major mutual fund and pension plan is a holder of BofA stock and thus the beating taken there doesn't count for the general electorate they are appealing to does pay taxes and actually receives money back). Mr. Lewis bought 200,000 shares of Bof A at around $6.00 a share that equates to about $1.2 million that is less than 5% of his last years income.

Let's see you salary except under extreme times is over $25 million plus perks and all you could muster is $1.2 million for the stock? Jamie Dimon $11 million investment vs. Ken Lewis' $1.2 million. Now, I have got to say it, "Bank of the Year" seems to fit into the "Imitator" area. Of course I could be wrong for Innovators breed Imitators and that eventually brings us to the Idiots. There is probably another banker out their buying his stock as well, and "ole Jethro" probably eclipsed his thunder so "ole Jethro" could actually be the "Idiot" rather than "Imitator", but I leave it to you to decide.

Happy investing to all, and please let Mr. Lewis know shareholders can decide their own charities and patriotism.


Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote)


Fk - 8 years ago    Report SPAM
When Dimon first took the job at JP Morgan, I believe he bought 1M$ worth of JPM stock on the open market with his own money.

In a recent interview, I believe he said JPM is in good shape as long as the housing peak to trough decline is no worse than -40%.

Parts of california have already fallen more than 40% from the peak, and I don't know that we've hit bottom yet. I'm really nervous about my WFC holdings, and Buffett not commenting on WFC only aggravates that sickening feeling in my gut.

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