Storm clouds gather over Wall Street banker Jamie Dimon

JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon was once hailed as a Wall Street hero. Now, many pundits are asking why is still in his job.

In 2010, Jamie Dimon was described by The New York Times as "America's least-hated banker". A man whose "tough, hands-on style" had seen JP Morgan Chase through the crash; a "different" sort of banker to his peers. While most brushed over the risks underlings were taking, Dimon was "like the mechanic who grew up in a body shop" he was "intimately familiar with the details of his trade". He demanded to see the raw data, took tutorials to understand the complex trades the bank was exposed to, and his "radar for trouble" was legendary.

To all that, critics now have just four words, says the Daily Mail: "tempest in a teapot". The London Whale trading scandal dismissed in those terms by Dimon when it surfaced last year has so far cost shareholders $6.2bn. Last week, a further $920m was added in fines from British and American regulators.

The British investigation concluded that JP Morgan "deliberately misled regulators". In plain terms, "it engaged in a cover-up". Dimon has been eating humble pie, but this is just one of several costly scandals to have hit JP Morgan on his watch (see below). Five years after Lehman, many are asking why is this bank chief still in his job?

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You could argue that Dimon's greatest asset "is that he doesn't look like Dick Fuld", says Vanity Fair. While the former Lehman boss came across as "a virtual caricature of the venal banker", Dimon, 57, was "Wall Street's fair-haired boy" and "has probably had too easy a ride".

He also "has the sort of story America loves". Born in Queens to Greek immigrants, Dimon wowed his girlfriend (now wife) at Harvard Business School with black leathers. He seemed to her "not quite establishment", says The New York Times. On leaving Harvard in 1982, Dimon became the protg of Sandy Weill, a family friend, at American Express. When Weill was pushed out, Dimon followed him and the pair began a breakneck mergers and acquisitions spree that climaxed in the barn-storming merger with Citicorp in 1998, creating the largest financial group in the world.

The pair fell out bitterly soon after when Dimon began "crowding the Citi throne", says Businessweek. But by then his reputation was made. "Investors are asking two questions," one analyst said at the time. "What should I do with my Citigroup shares and where is Jamie going next so I can buy the stock?" The answer was Bank One, a troubled Chicago bank that Dimon turned round so effectively that, within three years, he'd merged it with JP Morgan.

Given that track record, it was no surprise that when the crisis hit, the government "implored him" to take over Bear Stearns. And thus Dimon's reputation as the "Last Man Standing" on Wall Street was born despite the fact that JP Morgan later took a bail-out. Come hell or high water, it seems, Dimon is determined to hang on to the mantle.

The Martin Luther King of the overdog

Has there ever been a greater champion of Big Banking than Jamie Dimon? asks Graydon Carter in Vanity Fair. Over and over, he has asked legislators and the public to stop the "vilification" of his people. Truly, "he is the Martin Luther King of the overdog".

I had first-hand experience of that in 2009, when I reviewed a flattering biography of Dimon, says Paul M Barrett in Businessweek. He was on the phone in a trice "to express his displeasure". Showing "a degree of self-regard impressive even by Wall Street standards", he seemed unable to weight the praise I echoed against the suggestion that "he shouldn't be above criticism". In the wake of the Whale fiasco, has Dimon, I wonder, re-evaluated his record?

Dimon's supporters say "he shouldn't carry the can for problems in divisions several tiers below him", says Dominic O'Connell in The Sunday Times. That didn't save Bob Diamond. Still, the market reaction has been "whale shmale", says Lex in the FT. Dimon has already survived a shareholders' vote this year.

Investors seem content to put this, and other lapses, in the past and focus on profits: last year JP Morgan earned a record $21.3bn. Dimon reportedly "bristles at the suggestion that the bank's bottom line matters above all", say Nick Summers and Max Abelson in Businessweek. But peers on Wall Street (who claim to be mystified by what one calls the "spiteful and narrow" anti-Dimon movement) say "the sun god's" numbers "speak for themselves".

His golden aura is such that "the reappearance of crisis-era gremlins" (or the fact that the bank could still lose billions gambling on derivatives four years after Lehman) are met with the question: "If Jamie Dimon can't run a bank without stuff blowing up, can anyone?" Yet those gremlins keep coming. This week, JP Morgan was reportedly in talks to strike a "pay for peace" deal with American authorities to settle "a host of allegations of wrongdoing in the mortgage securities market", notes the FT. Bang goes another $4bn.