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JPMorgan Reports Massive Litigation Reserves Hike

fiercefinance.com | October 16, 2013

By Jim Kim

With a massive settlement over mortgage fraud still in the works (we hope anyway), JPMorgan Chase took a massive hit in the third quarter, setting aside reserves of $9.2 billion for litigation and legal costs. That took a toll on the bank's earnings.

Indeed, the bank posted its first quarterly loss ever under CEO Jamie Dimon. The bank lost $0.4 billion, compared with a gain of $5.7 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Earnings per share declined, coming in at a 17 cent loss, compared with $1.40 gain a year ago. Excluding one-time charges, including the massive legal reserve hit and a reserve release of $1.6 billion, third-quarter net income would have been $5.8 billion, or $1.42 per share, which was ahead of analysts' expectations.

Tellingly, revenue was weak. For the third quarter, revenues totaled $23.9 billion, compared with $25.9 billion in the prior year.

There were definitely some brighter spots. Consumer banking, for example, turned in a solid performance; revenue came in at $12 billion, up 13 percent year over year and up 8 percent sequentially. Mortgage activity was weak as expected. Mortgage originations came in at $40.5 billion, down 14 percent from the prior year and 17 percent sequentially. The bank was able to cut its losses in mortgage servicing.

As for investment banking, fees came at $1.5 billion, up 6 percent from the prior year, driven by higher equity and debt underwriting fee revenue. Fixed income-related sales and trading revenue came in at $3.4 billion, down 8 percent, compared with a strong prior year.

The story going forward may continue to revolve around litigation costs. While the biggest hit may now be out of the way, there could be additional reserving action to come.

 

Back to October 2013 Archive

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