JPMorgan Second-Quarter Profits Hurt by Home Equity Loans

Wednesday, 18 Jul 2007 | 10:08 AM ET

JPMorgan Chase said Wednesday it tripled the amount it set aside for loan losses as home equity borrowers missed payments, hurting the bank's second-quarter net income growth.

The third-largest U.S. bank said net income was $4.2 billion, or $1.20 a share, compared with $3.5 billion, or 99 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

JP Morgan Chase
JP Morgan Chase

That beat the average analysts' estimate of $1.08 a share, but the bank said it set aside $1.53 billion for loan losses, up from $493 million in the year-ago quarter. Much of that increase comes from higher loss estimates on home equity loans given to borrowers who put little money down.

JPMorgan shares slipped 72 cents to $49.20 in electronic trade before the market opening.

JPMorgan also said regional banking and auto finance were weak spots, as profits in those areas declined. The bank's retail finance division set aside $587 million for loan losses, up from $100 million in the year-earlier period, to reflect weak housing prices and the resulting increase in losses on home equity loans that had small down payments.

Home equity loans originated in the wholesale channel caused problems, the bank said. It has since tightened underwriting standards and raised prices to reflect elevated risk.

JPMorgan's overall net revenue rose 25% to $18.9 billion, better than the $17.53 billion expected by analysts.

Investment banking continued to be a bright spot as JPMorgan raked in fees from merger and acquisition advice.

Investment banking revenue surged 34% to $5.8 billion, up from $4.3 billion in the year-earlier quarter. The first quarter was better, though, at $6.3 billion.

The bank's retail financial services division, which includes home loans, credit cards and auto financing, reported $785 million in net income, down 10% from a year ago.

JPMorgan's asset management business saw profit soar 44% to $493 million as the unit took in more money from clients. The unit now has $1.1 trillion under management.

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