01:24 - Source: CNN
CEO of JPMorgan Chase talks about possibility of U.S. recession
New York CNN  — 

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) on Friday reported first-quarter profit and revenue that roundly beat expectations.

The New York-based bank posted a profit of $12.6 billion or $4.10 per share. That’s up from $8.3 billion, or $2.63 per share from the same period a year before, or 52%. Analysts expected earnings of $3.41 per share, according to Refinitiv.

The company also guided net interest income to be about $81 billion in 2023, up $7 billion from its previous estimate.

With $3.67 trillion in assets, JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States and a bellwether for the US economy.

“The US economy continues to be on generally healthy footings — consumers are still spending and have strong balance sheets, and businesses are in good shape. However, the storm clouds that we have been monitoring for the past year remain on the horizon,” CEO Jamie Dimon said in a press release.

Deposits rose to $2.38 trillion during the first quarter from $2.34 trillion in the quarter ended in December. That comes after last month’s banking meltdown triggered a rush into big banks from nervous customers. Investors also looked to money market funds as a haven.

Not concerned about a credit crunch

A key point of conversation after last month’s turmoil has been whether banks would tighten lending standards, leading customers to spend less as it becomes more difficult to borrow money for large purchases like homes and cars.

But Dimon told investors in the company’s post-earnings conference call that he isn’t worried about a credit crunch after the banking crisis.

“I wouldn’t use the word[s] ‘credit crunch,’” he said in response to a question about whether he was worried that lending would tighten in the bank after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. “I just look at it as a kind of a thumb on the scale. It just makes the financing conditions a little bit tighter and increases the odds of a recession.”

Still, companies should still brace for the possibility that interest rates remain higher for longer than expected, he said. While the Federal Reserve has signaled that it will pause rates later this year, somewhat easing concerns about climber rates, Dimon maintained that the economy isn’t out of the woods just yet.

“People need to be prepared. They shouldn’t pray that they don’t go up. They should prepare for them going up. And if it doesn’t happen, serendipity,” he said.

Limited exposure to commercial real estate

JPMorgan Chase said its exposure to office space is limited, as concerns that the $20 trillion commercial real estate industry is the next shoe to drop after the banking tumult linger over Wall Street.

“Given the recent focus on commercial real estate, let me remind you that our office sector exposure is less than 10% of our portfolio and is focused in urban dense markets, and nearly two-thirds of our loans are multifamily, primarily in supply-constrained markets,” said Jeremy Barnum, chief financial officer.

The commercial real estate industry’s woes come after decades of unbridled growth powered by low interest rates and easy credit. That upward trend was interrupted by the Covid pandemic’s onset, and then when the Federal Reserve started hiking interest rates aggressively last year to stabilize the economy. The shift to working from home has eroded the value of buildings as offices remain vacant or half-empty.

Shares of JPMorgan Chase were up 6.7% Friday morning.