Rep. Katie Porter, a freshman California Democrat, grilled JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon at a Wednesday hearing over the budget shortfalls workers at his bank face.
Porter used the example of an entry level bank teller named "Patricia" living in her district to question how Dimon, who earns more than $30 million per year, would advise the teller to pay for all of her living expenses on the bank’s starting salary of $16.50 per hour or $35,070 per year.
“She had $2,425 a month. She rents a one-bedroom apartment. She and her daughter sleep together in the same room in Irvine, California. That average one-bedroom apartment is going to be $1,600,” Porter said. “She spends $100 on utilities. Take away the $1,700 and she has net $725. She drives a 2008 minivan and has gas. $400 for car expenses and gas. Net $325.”
“The Department of Agriculture says a low-cost food budget is $400. That leaves her $77 in the red,” she continued. “She has s Cricket cell phone, the cheapest she can get for $40. She’s in the red $117 a month. She has after-school childcare because the bank is open during normal business hours – that’s $450 a month. That takes her down to negative $567 per month.”
"How should she manage this budget shortfall while she's working full-time at your bank?" Porter asked Dimon.
"I don't know that all your numbers are accurate, that number is generally a starter job," he said.
"She is a starting employee, she has a six-year-old child, this is her first job," Porter said.
"You can get those jobs out of high school, and she may have my job one day," Dimon replied, adding, "I'm wholly sympathetic.”
"She's short $567, what would you suggest she do?" Porter insisted.
"I don't know, I'd have to think about that," he said.
"Would you recommend that she take out a JPMorgan Chase credit card and run a deficit?" Porter asked.
"I don't know, I'd have to think about it,” Dimon repeated.
"Would you recommend that she overdraft at your bank and be charged overdraft fees?" Porter asked.
"I don't know I'd have to think about it," Dimon repeated again, adding, "I'd love to call up and have a conversation about her financial affairs and see if we could be helpful."
Porter says the actual situation is far worse:
After the hearing, Porter told CNN that the woman was just an example of many employees unable to get by on full-time jobs with even steeper budget shortfalls.
"Patricia is a representative of a number of constituents that we'd heard from. So there is no Patricia out there, but in the other way, there are thousands and thousands, and tens of thousands of Patricias out there,” Porter explained.
"I am a single mom in Irvine, I know what it takes to make ends meet there,” she said, adding that her constituents said her figures were “too conservative.”
"I have people calling my office asking if they knew where she rented from, so that they wanted to get a one bedroom apartment for $1,600," she said.