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A Bond Bonanza for Goldman, JPMorgan

When Lloyd Blankfein speaks, Goldman clients listen.

In December, the Goldman Sachs CEO said at a conference that the firm was advising all its corporate clients to borrow "as much as they're going to need for as long as they think they could need it" because of the low interest rate environment.

And that's exactly what they did.

George Diebold | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

A big source of revenues for Goldman Sachs in 2012 was the $2.95 billion in fees from clients paid the bank to underwrite debt issuance. That's 25 percent higher than the year before. For the fourth quarter, the debt underwriting fees were $897 million, a 25 percent increase over thefourth quarter of the prior year.

That's an impressive level of growth. But it is less than what was reported by JPMorgan Chase, which said it saw a 79 percent gain in debt underwriting fees, bringing in $990 million.

It's unclear how long this kind of growth can continue. Interest rates are widely viewed as unlikely to fall much further, so issuing debt will not become much cheaper. How many companies that didn't listen to the counsel of Blankfein in 2012 will decide to issue debt in 2013?

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