JP Morgan Chase : Burying losses

Control of company messages is ceded to the media.

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The Site

JP Morgan Chase, the US’s largest bank, has nothing of its own to add to coverage in the media of a dramatic, share-price damaging trading loss. JP Morgan Chase has provided no evidence on its home page of its announcement last week (10 May) that it had suffered $2.3 billion dollars’ worth of trading losses nor of subsequent updates to the story. The page’s Latest news, videos and reports panel was not added to between 24 April and 14 May. No official statement is offered on the site, either. The webcast of the conference call on which the announcement was made can be found in Investor Presentations within the Investor Relations section, but there are no links to this on the Investor Relations landing page. A press release reporting the announcement on 14 May of management changes including the Chief Investment Officer’s retirement heads the Press Releases archive in Investor Relations, which can also be reached from the Newsroom menu in About Us, and was added to the home page Latest news late on 14 May.

The Takeaway

Since its dramatic announcement on 10 May, JP Morgan Chase’s global website has experienced a 44 per cent increase in traffic. It is not wild speculation to suggest most of the new influx arrived at the site is search of information about the $2.3 billion trading loss. Many would be investors in search of some reassurance or explanation as the share price dropped a reported nine per cent. But instead of being pointed to the bank’s official unmediated (literally) statement or spin on the situation, they were greeted with every sign of business as usual: losses? what losses? The appearance of the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, on a nationally televised magazine programme, NBC’s Meet the Press, can be found easily via Google but is nowhere referenced on its site or his comments relayed. The lack of any news management in the one environment over which it has total control represents a missed opportunity on the part of the US’s biggest bank to talk directly to a worldwide audience eager to hear its side of the story. Meeting the press has to be part of its wider response, certainly, but ignoring everyone else is one more cross to add to the loss column.
First published 15 May, 2012
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