Page last updated at 19:11 GMT, Friday, 15 January 2010

JP Morgan Chase reports $3.3bn profits

JP Morgan Chase offices
JP Morgan is the first US bank to report fourth-quarter results

Wall Street bank JP Morgan Chase has reported profits of $3.3bn (£2bn) for the last three months of 2009.

That compares with profits of $702m reported at the end of 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.

Total profits for the year were $11.7bn, the bank said, with investment banking providing the bulk of the earnings.

Staff compensation - made up of salaries and bonuses - totalled $27bn for the year.

Investment bankers earned $9.3bn in pay and bonuses.

Mixed performance

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan's chairman and chief executive, said he was pleased with the bank's performance, but said it could be better.

"Though these results showed improvement, we acknowledge that they fell short of both an adequate return on capital and the firm's earnings potential," he said.

Third-largest bank in the US with operations in 60 countries
Rescued two of its large rivals, Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, in 2008
Its exposure to the US sub-prime mortgage market was relatively small
Quickly repaid a $25bn emergency loan it received from the US government as part of the Tarp programme

Mr Dimon also praised staff for helping to protect the bank in its recovery from the banking crisis and for keeping it "healthy and vibrant".

Investors appeared unimpressed with JP Morgan's results, with shares in the bank falling 2% in early trading, though they later recovered.

"The top-line results were disappointing and there were pressures on credit card lending and retail banking," commented David Buik from BGC Partners.

"It shows the US economy is far from out of the woods yet."

The bank lost $2.2bn through its credit card business last year, and retail banking also made a loss in the fourth quarter.

Bonus payouts

JP Morgan's 200,000 employees were paid a total of $27bn in salaries and bonuses over the year - an 18% increase on 2008 - though a figure for bonus payments alone was not given.

The $9.3bn earned by investment bankers was a 21% increase on the previous year.

The results follow US President Barack Obama's announcement on Thursday of plans to claw back nearly $120bn from US banks to pay back bail-out costs.

"If these companies are in good enough shape to afford massive bonuses, they are surely in good enough shape to afford paying back every penny to taxpayers," President Obama said, announcing the measure.

JP Morgan received $25bn of funds from the government's bail-out fund, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Programme (Tarp), but repaid it in full in June last year.

Unlike many of its rivals, the bank did not report a quarterly loss during the financial crisis, having benefitted from a relatively low exposure to the US sub-prime mortgage market.

The US's other major banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup will report their results from Monday.

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