• “About ten seconds later, my assistant popped her head into my office. “Mr. Dimon is on the line.” I took off my earrings (the Oakland in me) and picked up the receiver. “You’re trying to steal from my shareholders!” he yelled, almost as soon as he heard my voice. I gave it right back. “Your shareholders? Your shareholders? My shareholders are the homeowners of California! You come and see them. Talk to them about who got robbed.” It stayed at that level for a while. We were like dogs in a fight. A member of my senior team later recalled thinking, “This was either a really good or a colossally bad idea.” I shared with Dimon the way his lawyers were presenting his position, and why it was unacceptable to me. As temperatures cooled, I got into the details of my demands so that he would understand exactly what I needed—not through the filter of his general counsel, but directly from me. At the end of the conversation, he said he would talk to his board and see what they could do. I’ll never know what happened on Dimon’s side. But I do know that two weeks later, the banks gave in. When all was said and done, instead of the $2 billion to $4 billion that was originally on the table, we secured an $18 billion deal, which ultimately grew to $20 billion in relief to homeowners.”

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