JPMorgan Chase & Co shareholders rejected a proposal to strip Chief Executive Jamie Dimon of his chairman title, but they gave him a hard time at the bank's annual meeting on Tuesday.
The second-largest bank, which was profitable during the financial crisis, attracted a larger-than-usual turnout at the meeting, held in the heart of New York City's financial district and steps from Wall Street.
Some shareholders expressed their anger with salty questions.
Isn't this business a little bit like running a house of ill repute while knowing that all your ladies have AIDS? asked one man.
No, Dimon replied, then moved to the next question.
Dimon has won plaudits for his acquisitions of troubled Bear Stearns Cos in March 2008 and for failed Seattle thrift Washington Mutual Inc just days after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy later that year.
On Tuesday, he faced shareholders angry about the bank's 5-cent-a-share quarterly dividend, upset homeowners whose homes Chase is foreclosing upon, and environmental groups critical of the bank's financing of mountaintop coal removal companies.
More than a dozen protesters stood in the rain outside One Chase Manhattan Plaza, greeting shareholders going to the meeting just before it began at 10 a.m. ET. At one point, there were as many as 300 protesters, Dow Jones reported.
Some protesters wore yellow T-shirts with the words 'Stop the loan sharks,' while others jangled keys, representing the houses Chase has foreclosed on.
The proposal to split the jobs of chairman and chief executive received 33.9 percent of the vote. The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund, said on Monday it was in favor of separating the roles.
Shareholders also voted more than 40 percent in favor of a proposal to give shareholders with more than 10 percent of the bank's stock the right to call shareholder meetings. They voted more than 30 percent in favor of a proposal to require the bank to disclose more about the use of collateral in its derivatives business. Both proposals failed.
While Dimon came in for more criticism than he faced at last year's annual meeting, he was not without fans.
Jamie, you have to stay here forever, said Evelyn Davis, self-described queen of the corporate jungle and a perennial, sometimes persnickety presence at many companies' annual meetings. I'm not going to let you ever resign.
JPMorgan told shareholders the bank is waiting on a sustained economic recovery before raising its dividend.
We are working as hard as we can to restore your dividend, Dimon told one shareholder who asked when she could expect to see an increase. We're hoping to do something like that later this year or early next year.
The bank plans to raise its dividend to about 30 percent to 40 percent of earnings when there is sustained improvement in the economy and U.S. unemployment, and loan losses have significantly fallen, Dimon said. JPMorgan pays a quarterly dividend of 5 cents a share.
JPMorgan is not ready to pay a special dividend before permanently raising its quarterly dividend, Dimon said in response to a shareholder question. The bank may at some point down the road consider a share buyback program, he said.
JPMorgan shares fell 84 cents, or 2.1 percent, to close at $39 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Derek Caney and Robert MacMillan)