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Banking

JPMorgan returns to profitability in fourth quarter

US banking giant JPMorgan has reported its back in positive territory despite ongoing legal expenses. It provided an optimistic outlook for 2014 when it believes the US economy would experience a solid pick-up.

While reporting a 7.2 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings year-on-year, JPMorgan on Tuesday made a point of stressing its overall operations were profitable again as it had left behind a bitter third quarter in the red.

The US lender said net Q4 net profit amounted to $5.3 billion (3.88 billion euros), while revenues came in at $23.16 billion.

The quarterly result was impacted by yet another charge related to legal settlements, with JPMorgan having spent about $20 billion on settlements with US regulators since the beginning of 2013.

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CEO Jamie Dimon said the bank had made significant headway with regulators following multiple enforcement actions related to the lender's sale of mortgage-backed securities ahead of the financial crisis and its trading of electricity contracts.

"It was in the best interests of our company and shareholders for us to accept responsibility, resolve the issues and move forward," Dimon commented, also hinting at poor oversight of accounts by convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff who was handed a 150-year prison term.

The chief executive added he was increasingly optimistic about the future of his bank as the US economic data appeared promising.

JPMorgan was the first big US bank to come up with a fourth-quarter earnings report as Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs were to follow suit in the course of this week.

hg/hc (Reuters, AFP)

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