Jamie Dimon says banks are ‘open to attack’ from tech companies in one specific area

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon speaks at the 2015 Fortune Global Forum.
Kimberly White/Getty Images

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says there is one area of traditional banking that is “open to attack”: payments.

On Kara Swisher’s Recode Decode podcast, Dimon said he wasn’t particularly worried about changing banking habits of the American people.”I think in the capitalist world it’s a good thing that people try to attack your business model,” he said. “I think that’s the right thing to do. I applaud that.”

But he said there are parts of the business the are open to disruption by tech companies, in particular payments.

“If you asked me about payments, I’d say yeah there are a lot of weaknesses in the banking system,” he said. “I expect to win in payments. But there are weaknesses that you can exploit. And it’s not because banks are dumb, but some of these systems were built a long time ago.” He points toNACHA and the ACH network specifically. “It’s terrible. I would change it tomorrow if I could, but it’s 75 banks they vote on everything.” That’s why Dimon says he, and some other banks, are trying to build their own realtime, P2P payment system, with the goal of making it open to everybody.

Apple and Google

What does he think about Apple and Google’s entrance into payments? He doesn’t think they want to eventually be a bank, but rather, sell more phones, and he doesn’t see it as competition. “They say they don’t [want to get into banking] and I take them at their word,” he said.

Dimon also talked about which areas of financial tech he would consider getting into, and which he wouldn’t. He said JPMorgan would probably get involved in robo-investing “at some point,” but said there were a lot of niche businesses his company wouldn’t be going after – like student lending.

The main thrust of Dimon’s comments seemed to be that JPMorgan isn’t afraid of innovation, perhaps in response to a New York Times article title “Jamie Dimon Wants to Protect You From Innovative Start-Ups,” which he slammed in the podcast as a misrepresentation of his positions.

“That’s why we’re all here,” he said, referring to trying to outmaneuver the business models of your competitors.