JPMorgan Chase and Co. reported today that its first quarter earnings have fallen by 19 percent, meaning that the company only made a profit of $5.27 billion in the fiscal year's first quarter. That's a decline from the $6.53 billion they made over the same period a year ago.
According to Reuters, the decline is steeper than expected:
Net income fell to $5.27 billion, or $1.28 per share, from $6.53 billion, or $1.59 per share, in the same quarter of 2013, the biggest U.S. bank said on Friday. Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.40 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The net earnings for both the latest and prior quarter included special items.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon issued a statement on the loss, saying he's expecting the company's fortune to turn around as the economy strengthens: "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." But the news is preparing Wall Street to expect the worst (i.e., slightly less money) from other bank's earnings statements. (Wells Fargo, however, came in later in the morning, with a nice bump in net income.)
The bank was likely affected by pesky new regulations to make the banking industry safer, per Reuters:
Some investors worry about how much of the big banks' revenue streams from fixed-income trading have been lost forever as a result of changes ordered by regulators to make the banking system safer. JPMorgan's annual costs to comply with laws and regulations and control risk have increased by about $2 billion.
Oh, and there's also the matter of all that money the bank had to pay in legal fees and fines since the U.S. economy collapsed a few years ago. That was a bummer, said Dimon (basically) in a letter to shareholders:
The most painful, difficult and nerve-wracking experience that I have ever dealt with professionally was trying to resolve the legal issues we had this past year with multiple government agencies and regulators as we tried to get many large and risky legal issues behind us, including the Chief Investment Office (CIO) situation (that happened in 2012) and mortgage-related matters (that happened primarily in 2005-2008, a significant portion of which occurred at heritage Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual (WaMu).
But chin up, investors! This scrappy bank will come out on top yet, Dimon continued:
When I look back at our company last year with all of our ups and downs, I see it as A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” We came through it scarred but strengthened — steadfast in our commitment to do the best we can.
We have a feeling Dickens wouldn't be too pleased with the analogy.