(Nick Allen) The president’s financial disclosures for 2011, released by the White House, showed he has $500,000 to $1 million in a JPMorgan Chase private client asset management checking account.
The disclosure came as controversy deepened over the bank’s $2 billion dollar losses. The US Justice Department has opened an FBI probe into the trading loss, and embattled chief executive Jamie Dimon faced criticism at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Tampa, Florida.
Mr Obama said this week that JPMorgan was “one of the best managed banks there is” despite the loss.
The White House said “neither the president nor the vice president have any conflicts of interest.”
A spokeswoman said: “This is a checking account used by the president and the first lady. It is the equivalent of an interest-bearing checking account available at many other financial institutions.” The account generated less than $201 in interest income in 2011.
The president’s 2011 disclosures also included a regular JPMorgan Chase checking account in the $1,000 to $15,000 range.
His other principal assets included $500,000 to $1 million in US Treasury bills and between $1 million and $5 million in US Treasury notes.
The assets appear to add up to anywhere between $2.6 million and $9.9 million.
Mr Obama also has a mortgage on his Chicago home of between $500,000 and $1 million.
In an appearance on the daytime TV show “The View,” which was taped on Monday, Mr Obama praised Mr Dimon and said the bankﾒs losses showed the need for tighter regulation.
He said Mr Dimon was “one of the smartest bankers we got and they still lost money.”
He said: ﾓThey still lost $2 billion dollars and counting precisely because they were making bets in these derivative markets. This is why we passed Wall Street reform.
“You could have a bank that isn’t as strong, isn’t as profitable making those same bets and we (the government) might have had to step in. That’s exactly why Wall Street reform’s so important.ﾔ
Public figures in the US are required by law to publish their assets and investments to avoid conflicts of interest, and the White House releases disclosures for both Mr Obama and Vice President Joe Biden each year.
Most of Mr Obama’s personal wealth comes from book royalties, including from his best selling autobiography “Dreams From My Father.”
Mr Biden is significantly less wealthy with less than $1 million in assets and up to $1.5 million in liabilities, most of which is owed on his home.