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Economy Better, Wish It Was Stronger: JPMorgan CFO

Friday, 13 Apr 2012 | 12:18 PM ET

The U.S. economy is improving, but "we wish it were stronger," JPMorgan Chase'schief financial officer told CNBC Friday.

JPMorganChase
Photo by: Salim Virji
JPMorganChase

"If you look at the shape of corporate America [you see] better balance sheets, more cash, improved earnings. They’re investing right now and they’re borrowing more from us," Doug Braunstein told Squawk on the Street. "If you look at our mortgage portfolio, with improving delinquencies, lower chargeoffs, increased demand, lower inventory, those things point, at least at the margin, for a positive environment to operate on."

Earlier Friday, JPMorgan reported first-quarter profit that beat analyst expectations on higher revenue. The company said it issued more mortgage loans in the first three months of the year.

Credit-card loans rose 12 percent year over year, Braunstein said, a sign of more consumer spending.

"We have seen consistently for the last couple of quarters our spend is up double digits. Some of that is our market share gains," he said.

JPM CFO Explains Earnings
Doug Braunstein, JPMorgan CFO, speaks with CNBC's Mary Thompson about the company's earnings.

The commercial banking side of the business was also up, for the seventh consecutive quarter in middle-market loans, reflecting more activity in small and mid-sized businesses in the U.S., he said. At the same time, however, "we’ve been running off a large portfolio from the [Washington Mutual] acquisition. Every year we run off $20 million to $25 million worth of loans. So, on balance, those runoffs offset the growth that we’re seeing across our wholesale business."

JPMorgan's European exposure in Spain and Italy has "gone up slightly," Braunstein said, "and will move based on how the markets move. Rates go up, spreads go up, curves flatten. We’re very comfortable with the loss estimates we’ve had around this portfolio, about $3 billion in a downside scenario."

He also shot down rumors he would be a candidate to succeed Jamie Dimon if he was to step downas CEO. "I hope we have our boss for a very long time," he said.

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