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JPMORGAN CHASE & CO.

(JPM)
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JPMorgan Chase : 1Q21 Earnings Transcript

04/16/2021 | 03:07pm EDT

1 Q 2 1 F I N A N C I A L R E S U L T S

EARNINGS CALL TRANSCRIPT

April 14, 2021

MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION SECTION

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Operator: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to JPMorgan Chase's First Quarter 2021 Earnings Call. This call is being recorded. Your line will be muted for the duration of the call. We will now go live to the presentation. Please stand by.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to JPMorgan Chase's Chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, and Chief Financial Officer, Jennifer Piepszak.

Ms. Piepszak, please go ahead.

......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Jennifer Piepszak

Chief Financial Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Thank you, operator. Good morning, everyone. I'll take you through the presentation which, as always, is available on our website and we ask that you please refer to the disclaimer at the back.

Starting on page 1, the Firm reported net income of $14.3 billion, EPS of $4.50 on revenue of $33.1 billion, and delivered a return on tangible common equity of 29%. Included in these results are two significant items: $5.2 billion of net credit reserve releases, which I'll cover in more detail shortly; and a $550 million contribution to the Firm's Foundation in the form of equity investments.

Touching on a few highlights, we saw another strong quarter in CIB. In fact, net income was an all-time record, with IB fees up 57% year-on- year, reflecting continued robust activity, and Markets up 25% year-on-year as the environment remained favorable in January and February, although it did start to normalize in March.

In AWM, we had record net long-term inflows of $48 billion this quarter. And deposits of $2.2 trillion were up 36% year-on-year and 5% sequentially as the Fed balance sheet continues to expand. But loan growth remains muted, up 1% year-on-year and 2% quarter-on-quarter with the bright spots being AWM and secured lending in CIB.

On to page 2 for more detail on our results. When looking at this quarter's performance, there's a lot of noise in the year-on-year comparisons, particularly given what happened in March of last year, and so it's important to remember a few key points here about March of 2020. Effectively, investment banking activity stopped or got delayed except for investment-grade debt issuance. We recorded $950 million of losses in Credit Adjustments and Other in CIB as well as a $900 million markdown on our bridge book. And in Credit, we built $6.8 billion of reserves relative to this quarter's release of $5.2 billion.

So, with that in mind, revenue of $33.1 billion was up $4.1 billion or 14% year-on-year. Net interest income was down $1.6 billion or 11%, primarily driven by lower rates. Non-interest revenue was up $5.7 billion or 39%. While this comparison is in part impacted by several of the items I just mentioned, in absolute terms, we saw strong fee generation across the franchise including in Investment Banking, AWM and Home Lending, as well as a strong performance in Markets.

Expenses of $18.7 billion were up 12% year-on-year on higher volume- and revenue-related expenses, the contribution to the foundation that I just mentioned, as well as continued investments. And credit costs were a net benefit of $4.2 billion driven by reserve releases. And here it's worth noting that charge-offs were down about $400 million year-on-year or 28% and continue to trend near historical lows.

Turning to page 3 for more detail on our reserves. We released approximately $5.2 billion of reserves this quarter as recent economic data has been consistently positive, indicating that the recovery may be accelerating faster than we would've thought just a few months ago.

Starting with Consumer, in Card, we released $3.5 billion as the employment picture has continued to improve, the round three stimulus has provided another level of support, and early-stage delinquencies remain very low. And in Home Lending, we released $625 million primarily driven by continued improvement in HPI expectations, and to a lesser extent, portfolio run-off. And then in Wholesale, we released approximately $700 million.

While a strong recovery seems in motion, we're also prepared for more adverse outcomes given remaining uncertainties around the impact of new virus strains and the health of the underlying labor markets. So, for now, we remain cautious and are still weighted to our downside scenarios. And at about $26 billion, we're reserved at approximately $7 billion above the current base case. However, it's worth noting that even in a more normalized environment, we wouldn't expect to be 100% weighted to the base case as we'll always have some weightings on alternative scenarios.

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Now, moving to balance sheet and capital on page 4. We ended the quarter with a CET1 ratio of 13.1%, flat versus the prior quarter as net growth in retained earnings was offset by lower AOCI and higher RWA. Perhaps the more interesting ratio right now is SLR which is at 5.5% excluding the temporary relief that just expired.

As we've said all along, we were never going to rely on short-term temporary relief as a long-term planning matter, and this is evidenced by actions we've taken. We've already engaged with our Wholesale deposit clients to explore solutions and we issued $1.5 billion of preferred stock in the first quarter.

Having said that, it's worth reinforcing a few points here. First, it's important to remember that the SLR is a leverage-based requirement, not a risk-based requirement. The growth in bank leverage has been driven by deposits and, therefore, cannot be cured by reducing lending. In fact, the opposite would be true. If we had more loan growth, it would help because it would absorb excess risk-based capital. The issue is that we've had muted loan demand to-date, and even if it starts to pick up, it's hard to envision that organic loan growth could keep pace with further QE. And therefore, we expect this leverage issue to persist for some time.

And finally, when a bank is leverage constrained, this lowers the marginal value of any deposit regardless if it is wholesale or retail, operational or non-operational and regulators should consider whether requiring banks to hold additional capital for further deposit growth is the right outcome. As we told you last quarter, we have levers to manage SLR and we will. However, raising capital against deposits and/or turning away deposits are unnatural actions for banks and cannot be good for the system in the long run.

And then just to wrap up on capital, regarding distributions, the limitations were extended another quarter. So, based on our income, that corresponds to buyback capacity of about $7.4 billion in the second quarter after paying our $0.90 dividend. Given the preferreds we plan to issue and the work underway around excess client deposits, while of course this could become more challenging, we believe that we should be able to buyback most if not all that capacity.

Now, let's go to our businesses starting with Consumer & Community Banking on page 5. CCB reported net income of $6.7 billion including reserve releases of $4.6 billion. Starting with the key drivers of year-on-year financial performance, which I'll just note, have generally been consistent over the last few quarters against a backdrop of strong consumer balance sheets with higher savings rates and investments as well as healthy de-leveraging.

Deposit growth was 32% or $240 billion as existing customers' balances remain elevated and we also continue to acquire new customers. Client investment assets were up 44%, driven by market appreciation and positive net flows across our advisor and digital channels. Home Lending originations were $39 billion, up 40% in an overall larger market. And auto loan and lease originations were $11.2 billion, up 35%, with March being the best month on record.

However, loans were down 7% as outstandings in Card remain lower even as spend is recovering to pre-COVID levels. This is in addition to the continued run-off of the mortgage portfolio and partially offset by PPP additions. Mobile users grew 9% to nearly 42 million and the customer migration to digital continued with branch transactions still down double-digits. In Consumer Banking, approximately 50% of new checking and savings accounts were opened digitally, and that's up more than 10 percentage points year-on-year.

Notably, we're also seeing a few emerging trends worth covering. Consumer sentiment has returned to more normalized levels, reflecting increased optimism. We've seen debit and credit card spend return to pre-pandemic levels, up 9% year-on-year and 14% versus 1Q19 despite T&E remaining significantly lower. That said, we are seeing strong momentum in T&E with spend up more than 50% in March compared to February, and similar growth across cxLoyalty and Ultimate Rewards travel bookings.

With higher rates, mortgage lock margins have tightened and refi applications have slowed, but the overall market is still robust. And on credit, government stimulus and industry forbearance programs have provided confidence that the bridge is likely going to be long enough and strong enough. Taken together with the pace of the vaccine roll out, we believe there's some permanence to the loss mitigation. And while 1Q21 Card losses are higher quarter-on-quarter, we do expect losses to decrease in the second and third quarters.

In summary, revenue of $12.5 billion was down 6% year-on-year driven by deposit margin compression and lower Card NII on lower balances, largely offset by strong deposit growth and higher Home Lending production revenue. Expenses of $7.2 billion were down 1% as we self-fund our investments. And credit costs were a net benefit of $3.6 billion driven by the $4.6 billion of reserve releases I previously mentioned, partially offset by net charge-offs of $1 billion.

Now turning to the Corporate & Investment Bank on page 6. CIB reported net income of $5.7 billion and an ROE of 27% on record first quarter revenue of $14.6 billion. Investment Banking revenue of $2.9 billion was up 67% year-on-year, excluding the impact of the bridge book markdown last year. IB fees of $3 billion were up 57% and while we now rank number 2 largely due to SPAC IPOs, we maintained our global IB wallet share of 9%. The quarter's performance was an all-time record, driven by the continued momentum in the equity issuance markets as well as robust activity in M&A and DCM.

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In Advisory, we were up 35% benefiting from a surge in announcement activity in the second half of 2020. Debt underwriting fees were up 17%, driven by leveraged finance activity. And here, we maintained our number 1 rank and lead left position. And in Equity underwriting, fees were up more than 200%, primarily driven by IPOs as clients continued to take advantage of strong market conditions.

Looking forward, the IPO calendar is expected to remain active with M&A momentum likely to continue. And while the pipeline is higher than it's ever been, the number of flow deals outside of the pipeline both this year and last year make it difficult to predict the second quarter. So, at this point, I'd say we expect IB fees to be about flat year-on-year.

Moving to Markets, total revenue was $9.1 billion, up 25% against a strong prior-year quarter. In January and February, we saw a robust trading environment and client activity remained elevated with the positive momentum from the end of 2020 carrying through to the start of the year. In March, our performance started to normalize, but remained above pre-COVID levels.

Fixed Income was up 15% with outperformance in Securitized Products and Credit supported by active primary and secondary markets, partially offset by lower revenues in Rates and Currencies & Emerging Markets against a tough compare in March of last year. Equity Markets was up 47% and an all-time record, driven by a favorable trading environment in Equity Derivatives as well as strong client activity across products.

In terms of outlook, based on recent weeks, we would expect this quarter to be closer to the second quarter of 2019 as 2Q20 was the best quarter on record for our Markets franchise. But, obviously, it's still early.

Wholesale Payments and Securities Services revenues were $1.4 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, both down 2% year-on-year, with higher deposit balances more than offset by deposit margin compression. Expenses of $7.1 billion were up 19% year-on-year on higher revenue-related compensation, partially offset by lower legal expense. And credit costs were a net benefit of $331 million, driven by the reserve releases I discussed earlier.

Now, let's go to Commercial Banking on page 7. Commercial Banking reported net income of $1.2 billion and an ROE of 19%. Revenue of $2.4 billion was up 11% year-on-year with higher lending and Investment Banking revenue in the absence of a prior-year markdown in the bridge book partially offset by lower deposit revenue. Record gross Investment Banking revenue of $1.1 billion was up 65% with broad-based strength as market conditions remain favorable.

Expenses of $969 million were down 2%, driven by lower structural expenses. Deposits of $291 billion were up 54% year-on-year and 5% quarter-on-quarter as client balances remain elevated. And loans were down 2% year-on-year and 3% sequentially. C&I loans were down 4% from the prior quarter on lower revolver balances as clients continue to access capital markets for liquidity, partially offset by additional PPP funding. And CRE loans were down 1%, with continued low origination volumes in Commercial Term Lending partially offset by increased affordable housing activity. Finally, credit costs were a net benefit of $118 million, driven by reserve releases, with net charge-offs of $29 million driven by Oil and Gas.

Now, on to Asset & Wealth Management on page 8. Asset & Wealth Management generated record net income of $1.2 billion, with pre-tax margin of 40% and ROE of 35%. For the quarter, revenue of $4.1 billion was up 20% year-on-year as higher management fees, growth in deposit and loan balances as well as investment valuation gains were partially offset by deposit margin compression.

Expenses of $2.6 billion were up 6%, with higher volume and revenue-related expenses partially offset by lower structural expense. And credit costs were a net benefit of $121 million, primarily due to reserve releases.

For the quarter, record net long-term inflows of $48 billion were, again, positive across all channels, asset classes and regions, with particular strength in Equities. And in liquidity, we saw net inflows of $44 billion as banks encourage clients to move excess deposits away from them. AUM of $2.8 trillion and overall client assets of $3.8 trillion, up 28% and 32% year-on-year respectively, were driven by higher market levels as well as strong net inflows. And finally, deposits were up 43% and loans were up 18%, with strength in securities-based lending, custom lending and mortgages.

Now on to Corporate on page 9. Corporate reported a net loss of $580 million. Revenue was a loss of $473 million, down $639 million year- on-year. Net interest income was down nearly $700 million on lower rates as well as limited deployment opportunities on the back of continued deposit growth. And expenses of $876 million were up $730 million year-on-year, primarily driven by the contribution to the foundation I mentioned earlier. The results for the quarter also include a tax benefit related to the impact of the Firm's expected full year tax rate relative to the level of pre-tax income this quarter.

So, with that, moving to the outlook on page 10. You'll see here that our 2021 NII outlook of around $55 billion remains in line with our previous guidance, as the benefits of the steepening yield curve are being offset by customer behavior in Card. It's worth noting that forecasting NII is perhaps more challenging than it's been in a long time as many of the key inputs, market-implied rates, deposit forecasts, securities reinvestment, and customer behavior in Card are all quite fluid.

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And as a reminder, while customer deleveraging and higher payment rates in Card is a headwind for NII, it's a tailwind for credit. And we now expect our Card net charge-off rate to be around 250 basis points for the year. And then on expenses, we increased our guidance to approximately $70 billion, with the largest driver being higher volume and revenue-related expenses, which, importantly, have offsets in revenue.

So, to wrap up, the year has gotten off to a strong start and a robust economic recovery seems underway. Of course, there are still risks and uncertainties ahead that we're preparing for as well as specific issues that we're facing, including the balance sheet dynamics I mentioned, the rate environment, and tough year-on-year comparisons, among other things. Having said that, the earnings power of the franchise remains evident, and we'll continue to use our resources to serve our clients, customers and communities.

And with that, operator, please open the line for Q&A.

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This is an excerpt of the original content. To continue reading it, access the original document here.

Disclaimer

JPMorgan Chase & Co. published this content on 16 April 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 16 April 2021 19:06:05 UTC.


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