Watch CBS News

JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon sounds alarm about possible worst risks to U.S. since WWII

Inflation, financial pressures lead more Americans to believe they need more in retirement savings
Inflation, financial pressures lead more Americans to believe they need more in retirement savings 01:17

New York — The nation's most influential banker, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, told investors Monday that he continues to expect the U.S. economy to be resilient and grow this year. But he worries geopolitical events including the war in Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war, as well as U.S. political polarization, might be creating an environment that "may very well be creating risks that could eclipse anything since World War II."

The comments came in an annual shareholder letter from Dimon, who often uses the letter to weigh in broad topics like politics, regulation and global events and what they might mean to JPMorgan Chase as well as the broader economy.

"America's global leadership role is being challenged outside by other nations and inside by our polarized electorate," Dimon said. "We need to find ways to put aside our differences and work in partnership with other Western nations in the name of democracy. During this time of great crises, uniting to protect our essential freedoms, including free enterprise, is paramount."

Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., poses for a photograph on the sidelines of the JP Morgan Global China Summit in Beijing, China in May 2019. Giulia Marchi / Bloomberg

Speaking of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Hamas' attack on Israel, Dimon said, "America and the free Western world can no longer maintain a false sense of security based on the illusion that dictatorships and oppressive nations won't use their economic and military powers to advance their aims — particularly against what they perceive as weak, incompetent and disorganized Western democracies. ... America needs to lead with its strengths — not only its military but also its economic, diplomatic and moral forces. And now we must do so as America's leadership is being challenged around the world. There is nothing more important."

Dimon had particular concerns with continued large amounts of deficit spending by the U.S. government and other countries, as well as the need for countries such as the U.S. to remilitarize and continue to build out green infrastructure, all of which will likely keep inflation higher than investors expect.

Because of these issues, Dimon said he is less optimistic than the broader market that the U.S. economy will achieve a "soft landing," which he defined as modest growth along with declining inflation and interest rates, compared to the broader market. While he says the investors are pricing in a "70% to 80%" chance of a soft landing, Dimon thinks the chances of such an ideal outcome are "a lot less" than that.

"These significant and somewhat unprecedented forces cause us to remain cautious," he said.

Labor Department reports 303,000 new U.S. jobs added in March 02:27

Like many other CEOs, Dimon said he sees promise in the use cases of artificial intelligence. The bank has found 400 use cases for AI so far, Dimon said, particularly in the bank's marketing, fraud and risk departments. The bank also is exploring using AI in software development and general employee productivity plans.

"We are completely convinced the consequences (of AI) will be extraordinary and possibly as transformational as some of the major technological inventions of the past several hundred years: Think the printing press, the steam engine, electricity, computing and the Internet, among others."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.