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JPMorgan Chase CEO: 'I Should Have Caught' $5.8 Billion Error

JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, wearing a dark suit possibly made of sackcloth, didn't hold back when discussing the derivative trades that led to massive losses for his company.

"We made a stupid error," he said before a lunchtime audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington on Wednesday. "We screwed up."

Then he got more specific: "I should have caught it ... I didn't."

The company estimates it lost $5.8 billion, thanks to a London-based trader, nicknamed the "London whale," who took large, risky positions in credit derivatives.

But Dimon noted that making mistakes is part of capitalism. When companies make errors, "they learn from it," he said.

Critics might point out, however, that when immense banks make mistakes, they might also turn around and ask Congress for multi-billion-dollar bailouts. That's been known to happen.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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