TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Steve Chiotakis: JP Morgan Chase said today year-over-year earnings rose in its latest three month period. The nation’s second-largest bank by assets was the first to report their numbers this season. Many had expected the volatile stock market and a still-sluggish economy would make for a less than stellar report. Marketplace’s Alisa Roth is with us live from our studio in New York with the latest. Good morning Alisa.
Alisa Roth: Good morning.
Chiotakis: All right, where did these profits come from?
Roth: JP Morgan says it earned a whopping $4.8 billion this quarter. That’s 76 percent more than it earned in the same stretch last year. Where it earned that money is pretty much everywhere except investment banking. Even so, the CEO, Jamie Dimon, was pretty tough on the bank. He said that the bank is still losing unacceptably large amounts of money on bad consumer loans, and that earnings for the consumer-banking business are unacceptable.
Chiotakis: All right, so clearly JP Morgan thinks the consumer part of the business is still in trouble. What do JP Morgan’s earnings tell us about the state of the consumer?
Roth: It’s hard to say. I talked to Karen Petrou this morning, she’s a banking analyst. And she said the answer is not much. Partly because the economy is in such a weird place right now that none of the usual rules hold. The interest rates are practically zero.
Karen Petrou: It creates a very wide swatch in which banks can make money by basically taking very little risk or trading. And those are the sources of JP Morgan Chase’s earnings — not firing up the lending machine, which in the current economy is very difficult to do.
And that could actually make things hard for JP Morgan, when and if the new financial regulations go into effect, since a lot of people think they’ll end up forcing the banks back to more traditional ways of earning money.
Chiotakis: Marketplace’s Alisa Roth, reporting from New York. Alisa, thanks.
Roth: You’re welcome.
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