Second quarter earnings results announced this morning by JPMorgan Chase (JPM) held solidly good news for the U.S. economy. Not as much good news for the bank and the banking sector in general, though. JPMorgan Chase is the first of the big banks to report with Citigroup (C) and Wells Fargo (WFC) on deck tomorrow.
Loans of all kinds extended by JPMorgan Chase rose $106 billion from the second quarter of 2015. That’s a 16% increase. “We had broad-based demand for loans pretty much across categories, whether it was auto, business banking, cards, so I would say that speaks well for the U.S. economy and the consumer in particular,” Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake said.
Figuring out how the bank itself did in the quarter is harder. As reported earnings were $1.55 a share, up from $1.54 a share in the second quarter of 2015, and ahead of the $1.43 a share estimated by analysts. (Net income was down year to year from $6.29 billion in 2015 to $6.2 billion on a lower share count because of share buybacks.)
But that as reported earnings figure included all kinds of one-time charges and credits including an accounting gain and a legal benefit plus a gain from the sale of the bank’s stake in Visa Europe and a loss on the bank’s investment in Square. Adjusting for all those one-time gains and losses earnings came to $1.50 a share, down from $1.54 in the second quarter of 2015 but still above Wall Street estimates of $1.43 a share.
Revenue growth wasn’t as robust as you might expect from growth in the bank’s loan portfolio or those earnings per share figures. Revenue climbed just 2.8% year over year to $25.2 billion powered by a big 35% jump in revenue from fixed income trading. Revenue from equity trading rose just 1.5%.
Earnings grow was so much stronger than revenue growth because JPMorgan Chase continued to cut costs. Non-interest expenses fell 6%. Compensation costs at the corporate and investment bank fell 6% in the first six months of 2016.
I’d look to see if consumer units at Citigroup and at Wells Fargo tomorrow report that same strong picture. (Pay special attention to Wells Fargo’s big mortgage unit.) If consumer lending is as strong tomorrow at those banks as at JPMorgan Chase today that’s good news for the economy as a whole. Make sure to pay special attention to provisions for credit losses. That item rose to $1.4 billion at JPMorgan Chase, an increase of $467 million, from the second quarter of 2015. The bank said that was a result of the increase in the loan portfolio and not a sign of a deterioration in credit quality. See if other banks echo that comment.