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India is a bright spot, status not 'overdone': JPMorgan chairman Jamie Dimon

India's status as a bright spot amid global uncertainty is not "overdone", JPMorgan Chairman Jamie Dimon told the Economic Times in an interview published on Monday.

Citing the over-seven per cent growth, the deficit going down "quite a bit", and the government taking steps which would enable future growth, Dimon told the financial daily that India's prospects over the next 20-30 years were quite good.

On impact on India's image under Modi government

Dimon told the financial daily that India's image had changed in positive terms after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge. He added that India was the fastest growing country in the world today and that changes were being made. 

Admitting that politics was "hard", Dimon described that Modi was nonetheless a "successful and strong leader". He also pointed out how foreign direct investments into the country had doubles in the last four-five years.

On the Indian economy

Dimon told the financial daily that India has a lot of successful companies. He highlighted that these companies stood out because they had grown independently instead of on government support. According to Dimon these companies were able to grow because they were able to offer good services around the world. He also pointed out that in other markets and countries, such companies came about only after significant support from the government.

On JPMorgan and India

Recollecting how he first came to India with JPMorgan in 2004-5, when it had a smaller presence in the country, Dimon told the financial daily of the company's journey in India over the years. 

Dimon highlighted how JPMorgan only covered 20 Indian companies back then in terms of research and had all of 100 employees in the country, compared to today when 120 Indian companies are covered and JPMorgan provides research on them globally. He also said that JPMorgan's Global Service Centre in India would have 30,000 people in the future.

On being asked why JPMorgan was opening new branches in the the country at a time when a number of foreign banks in India were shrinking, Dimon told the financial daily that he wanted India to view JPMorgan as a "consistent friend". Admitting that there had been ups and downs over the years, he said that the company was more focused on the long term. He said that the company's current engagement in India, with lending of $2 billion and the company's asset-management arm investing $9 billion in the country, would double, or even triple, over the coming 15-20 years.  

On RBI policies on foreign banks and any outstanding issues

Dimon began by applauding JPMorgan India CEO Kalpana Morparia and said that it took the company a long time to setup its new branches. He told the financial daily that he thought that foreign investors should be allowed to hold more than 4.99 per cent stake in an Indian bank. However, he added that this was not a "huge complaint" as JPMorgan was not moving into the retail business in the country. 

He concluded by saying that for the most part, JPMorgan had not faced a lot of restrictions while conducting business in India.


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