US banking giant JPMorgan Chase has reported a steep rise in profit in the first few months of the year. It said investment banking was back on track, with the consumer and community segment lagging behind.
The biggest lender in the US announced Friday its 2013 first-quarter profit amounted to $6.5 billion (five billion euros) on revenues of over $25 billion, compared with earnings of $4.9 billion over the same period a year earlier.
"We're seeing positive signs that the economy is healthy and getting stronger," JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said in a statement.
He said bottom-line earnings were helped by a 16-percent drop in non-interest expenses, pointing above all to a significant reduction in litigation costs of just $0.3 billion, down from $2.7 billion a year ago.
Market confidence returning slowly
JPMorgan showed a strong performance in corporate and investment banking as well as asset management, but conceded its consumer and community banking dropped by 12 percent year-on-year.
Dimon pointed to the ongoing hesitancy of small businesses towards large-scale investments. "They remain cautious about the recovery and fiscal uncertainty and are not investing their capital," he maintained.
The US lender promised to live up to a Federal Reserve request to boost its capital planning requirements and work with regulators to improve compliance. JPMorgan had come in for massive criticism after the bank lost $6.2 billion in trading. A congressional investigation showed officials from the lender ignored early signs of problems and kept regulators in the dark.
hg/jr (AFP, dpa)