The Most Powerful Dealmaker On Wall Street Started His Career As A Bank Branch Teller

Here’s something we didn’t know — The most powerful dealmaker on Wall Street started his career as a bank teller.

JPMorgan Chase vice chairman Jimmy Lee interned for Chemical Bank after graduating from Williams College in 1975.

It was a one-year management training program. First, the bank taught their interns Accounting I, Accounting II, Corporate Finance I and II. After that, the interns were sent to bank branches for one month.

“I was lucky I learned banking from the ground up. If you can learn a business from the ground up, it’s just a really great way to learn.”

Lee worked at the Riverdale Branch in the Bronx — the same on the Yankees baseball team uses. Lee, was was being honored at Harlem RBI’s annual “Bid for Kids” gala at Cipriani last night, told us that baseball legends Reggie Jackson and Chris Chambliss would come in to bank when he was there.

During his internship, Lee got to try out a number of roles.

“You’re a teller for a day. You go through all the jobs in a branch,” Lee said.

Like many interns on Wall Street, Lee said he messed up.

“I did a lot of mess-ups. I made enough of them. I hardly remember,” he said, adding “I think working in a branch and really interacting with the public constantly — We had a lot of complaints and stuff. That’s tough. It’s hard.”

Lee went on to build an incredibly successful career at Chemical Bank before joining JPMorgan.

** We’ve been asking Wall Street vets about their earliest experiences in finance (lessons, screw-ups, pieces of advice etc.). If you would like to share something from your early Wall Street career, please feel free to send an email to [email protected] We can keep you anonymous if you wish.

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