Jamie Dimon says JP Morgan is preparing for the risk of zero rates in the US

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Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Giulia Marchi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jamie Dimon said that while he doubts the wave of negative interest rates in countries around the world will reach the U.S., he’s preparing J.P. Morgan Chase for the possibility anyway.

“I don’t think we’ll have zero rates in the U.S., but we’re thinking about how to be prepared for it, just in the normal course of risk management,” Dimon said Tuesday at a conference in New York.

“Obviously, you’ve got to worry about the long term effect of those interest rates,” Dimon said. “But it’s hard. There are businesses it doesn’t affect at all. And there are businesses where it just sucks into your margin and there’s very little you can do about it.”

Dimon, chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan, admitted that the drop in U.S. interest rates surprised him. Last year, he said that rates should rise and that the 10-year Treasury yield could reach 4%.

The 10-year yield was at 1.69% on Tuesday, down from 2.68% to start the year. It fell as low as 1.44% last month as investors rushed into Treasuries on fears of a global economic slowdown and as the Federal Reserve cut rates. Benchmark bonds in major countries like Germany are trading with negative yields.

The bank can trim costs and charge clients more account fees to make up for squeezed margins as rates fall, Dimon said.

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