JP Morgan Chase: the Parable

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief. The bank is being sued over mortgage-backed deals.

Documents filed early Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan charged that in 2006, when JP Morgan Chase discovered serious flaws with thousands of home loans, the company didn’t disclose the problems. Instead, the documents reveal that JPMorgan, as well as two firms the bank acquired during the credit crisis, flouted quality controls and ignored problems, sometimes hiding them entirely, in a quest for profit.

Jesus taught them in parables, and this parable could go something like this:

A CEO of an investment firm was going away on a Caribbean vacation, so he went to his youngest investment bankers. To the first one he gave $2,000,000, to the second one he gave $800,000, and to the third one he gave $400,000.’ Then he went on vacation.  The first banker scooped up a lot of mortgages with troubled records, bundled them up and sold them to unsuspecting investors. He doubled the money.  The second banker did the same. But the third banker didn’t want to make a quick buck by selling bad mortgage bundles to investors, so he hid the money. 

Then the CEO of the investment firm came back.  He was thrilled with the profits the first two young, hot-shot bankers had made by duping investors, but he was furious with the third.  “Why didn’t you unload those lousy mortgages?” he asked, outraged.  The third banker replied, “I know you built this company by exploiting people and reaping huge profits, but I couldn’t do that. I’m a whistle-blower and I reported this firm.” So the CEO of the investment firm told him, “You’re fired!”

And the third banker was thrown into the outer darkness of defaulting on his student loans.

See Matthew 25: 14-30

About Susan Thistlethwaite

I am a Professor of Theology and former President of Chicago Theological Seminary; I blog here, at the Huffington Post, and at other venues. I am a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. I am interested in what I call "public theology," or how deeper meaning is made and contested in the public square.
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