JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) kicked off of the earnings reporting season among major U.S. lenders Friday with stronger-than-expected results. The company reported net income of $17.4 billion for the full-year 2010, an increase of 48 percent compared with $11.7 billion for the prior year.
During the fourth-quarter period, the financial institution brought in net income of $4.8 billion, up from $4.4 billion the previous quarter and $3.3 billion for the fourth quarter of 2009. Earnings per share were $1.12 in Q4 2010.
“Solid performance in the quarter and for the year reflected good results across most of our businesses, which benefited from strong client relationships and continued investments for growth,” said Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chairman and CEO.
Dimon noted, however, that the company’s mortgage business continues to be a “significant drag on returns.” He said “while charge-offs and delinquencies have improved, credit costs still remain at abnormally high levels.”
According to JPMorgan’s latest earnings announcement, the company’s net revenue from its mortgage banking operations was $2.0 billion during the fourth quarter of 2010, more than double what it was during the same three-month period in 2009.
Noninterest expense for its mortgage banking business in the latest quarter was $1.7 billion, up by $580 million, or 50 percent, from the prior year. The company says the increase was driven by higher default-related expenses for its serviced portfolio, including costs associated with foreclosure delays due to affidavit errors.
JPMorgan originated $50.8 billion in new mortgage loans in Q4, up 46 percent from the prior year and 24 percent
from the prior quarter. Total third-party mortgage loans serviced were $968 billion, down 11 percent from the fourth quarter of 2009 and down 4 percent from the third quarter of 2010.
The company said its real estate portfolios reported a net loss of $823 million in Q4, compared with a net loss of $1.7 billion a year earlier. JPMorgan attributed the improvement to a lower provision for credit losses, which dropped from $3.7 billion this time last year to $2.3 billion.
According to the company’s earnings statement, the current-quarter provision reflected a $2.1 billion increase in the allowance for loan losses for the Washington Mutual loan portfolio, which JPMorgan described as “credit-impaired.” The company says estimated future credit losses from the WaMu acquisition are largely related to home equity loans and, to a lesser extent, option adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans.
Net charge-offs during the quarter were $1.8 billion, including the effect of the one-time $632 million adjustment related to delinquent loans within the Washington Mutual portfolio.
The company says this one-time acceleration of charge-offs was completely offset by an equivalent reduction in the allowance for loan losses, resulting in no net impact on current-period earnings. Absent this one-time adjustment, charge-offs during the quarter would have been $1.2 billion. Current-quarter charge-offs, excluding the one-time adjustment, were down $1.1 billion compared with the same period a year earlier.
Dimon says his organization remains committed to helping homeowners and preventing foreclosures.
“Since the beginning of 2009, we have offered 1,038,000 trial modifications to struggling homeowners,” he said. “Of the 285,000 modifications we completed, more than 50 percent were modified under Chase programs, and the remainder were offered under government-sponsored or agency programs.”
Dimon added, “I am proud of what our employees have done for our clients and our communities….Through [their] outstanding efforts … our firm has come through the worst economic storm in recent history stronger than we have ever been….Although we continue to face challenges, there are signs of stability and growth returning to both the global capital markets and the U.S. economy.”
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