Oregon Public Broadcasting

The CEO of JP Morgan Chase told a Portland audience Thursday about his optimism for the U.S. economy's long-term outlook. While he spoke inside the Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland,  protestors took him to task outside.

Jamie Dimon said the American economy is still unparalleled in terms of its universities, workforce and capital markets.

110311_dimon_protests_small.jpgApril Baer / OPBSteve Kinchen

He defended his bank's lending practices, saying loan officers are approving mortgage and business loans to qualified people.

Dimon recalled a summons to see former U.S. Treasurer Henry Paulson in September of 2008, as the financial world teetered. He says banks faced tremendous pressure from former President Bush to participate in the bank bailout.

The Portland Business Alliance crowd was friendly - the group counts twenty banks among its members.

Protestors outside Portland's downtown Hilton felt less sympathetic. Some came from Occupy Portland. Others, like Steve Kinchen, said they are unaffiliated.

"I'm here as a self-employed home-owner, tired of people like Jamie Dimon, pocketing extraordinary amounts of money while taking bailouts from the government and from us, struggling to get by," Kinchen said.

Kinchen says he works in the financial sector, and finds Dimon's claims  less than credible.

This story originally appeared on news.opb.org.

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