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Despite recent trade loss Obama has assets with, confidence in JPMorgan

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama has US$500,001 to US$1 million in a JPMorgan Chase private client asset management checking account, according to financial disclosures released by the White House on Tuesday.

Obama said this week that JPMorgan was “one of the best managed banks there is” despite its US$2 billion trading loss being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This is a checking account used by the president and the first lady,” said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage. “It is the equivalent of an interest-bearing checking account available at many other financial institutions,” she said, noting that it generated less than US$201 in interest income in 2011.

The president's 2011 disclosures also included a regular JPMorgan Chase checking account in the US$1,001 to US$15,000 range. His other principal assets included US$500,001 to US$1 million in U.S. Treasury bills and between US$1 million and US$5 million in U.S. Treasury notes.

In a note about the annual financial statements that were posted online, the White House said “neither the president nor the vice president have any conflicts of interest.”

Obama, in an appearance on the daytime TV show “The View,” which was taped on Monday and aired on Tuesday, praised JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon and said the bank's loss showed the need for strong financial oversight.

“You could have a bank that isn't as strong, isn't as profitable making those same bets and we (the government) might have had to step in. That's exactly why Wall Street reform's so important,” he said.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hold assets worth between nearly US$2.6 million and nearly US$8.3 million, according to financial disclosure reports released Tuesday by the White House.

The documents show the couple's assets for last year. The first family's assets were valued between US$1.8 million and nearly US$12 million in 2010.

Obama released the annual report in the middle of a presidential campaign that has brought attention to the wealth of his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is worth US$190 million to US$250 million, with much of his money coming from investments.

Romney has amended his 2010 financial disclosures during this primary season, and also caved in to pressure to release his tax returns. The returns showed a series of offshore holdings that weren't in the former Massachusetts governor's 2010 financial disclosure, including a Swiss bank account that has received criticism from the Obama campaign.

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