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Banking

JPMorgan Chase logs drastic decline in earnings

JPMorgan Chase has reported a steep drop in net earnings for the first quarter. The United States' biggest lender in terms of assets attributed the decline to sluggish equities trading and weak mortgage business.

Being the first US bank to issue a Q1 earnings report, JPMorgan announced Friday its quarterly net profit dropped by 19 percent to $5.3 billion (3.82 billion euros) compared with the same period a year earlier.

The bank cited a drastic drop in its mortgage banking and weak equities trading as it sought to turn the corner after costly legal settlements.

2013 results were marred by huge litigation costs over JPMorgan's mortgage business practices before the outbreak of the 2008 global financial crisis and over a major trading scandal in the lender's London office.

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In view of global banking problems, JPMorgan's Chief Executive, Jamie Dimon, said first-quarter results looked okay despite the dip in profits.

"We have growing confidence in the economy - consumers, corporations and middle market companies are in increasingly good financial shape and housing has turned the corner in most markets," Dimon said.

Investors weren't as optimistic, with shares of the lender falling by almost 3 percent in pre-market trading. JPMorgan has been trying to cushion the impact of a weak business environment by trimming its workforce.

The bank is aiming to shed a total of 24,500 jobs, with 8,900 employees already having been terminated in the first three months of the year.

hg/pfd (dpa, AFP, AP)

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