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JPMorgan Chase 4Q income rose 47% from year earlier

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JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s (JPM) fourth-quarter income rose 47% to $4.83 billion, or $1.12 a share, from $3.28 billion, or 74 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 rose 13% to $26.1 billion from $23.16 billion a year ago. The financial services giant's mortgage banking and other consumer lending unit reported fourth-quarter income of $577 million, more than double the $266 million earned the year earlier. Mortgage banking revenue for the quarter rose 74% to $2 billion from $1.1 billion in 2009, buoyed by gains in mortgage-loan originations to $50.8 billion, up 46% from the year earlier and an increase of 24% from the third quarter. The company said fourth-quarter mortgage fees and related income included $749 million of net production revenue, $574 million of servicing operating revenue and $286 million of MSR risk-management revenue. Excluding repurchase losses of about $349 million, production revenue more than doubled for the fourth quarter to $1.1 billion from $482 million a year earlier, boosted by higher mortgage origination volumes and wider margins, the company said. JPMorgan reported a fourth-quarter loss of $823 million for its real estate portfolio, narrower than a loss of $1.7 billion a year ago. The company said its loan loss provisions for the portfolio for the quarter fell to $2.3 billion from $3.7 billion a year earlier. The 2010 fourth quarter included a $2.1 billion increase in allowances for loan losses included in the Washington Mutual portfolio JPMorgan Chase acquired. The company recorded a $632 million adjustment in loan loss provisions for the quarter related to the timing of recognizing charge-offs on delinquent loans in the mortgage loan portfolio. JPMorgan Chase also added $1.5 billion to its litigation reserves during the period "predominately for mortgage-related matters." "We remain committed to helping homeowners and preventing foreclosures," Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said. "Since the beginning of 209, we have offered 1,038,000 trial modifications to struggling homeowners. Of the 285,000 modifications we completed, more than 50% were modified under Chase programs, and the remainder were offered under government-sponsored or agency programs." For 2010, JPMorgan Chase earned $17.37 billion, or $3.96 a share, up 48% from $11.73 billion, or $2.26 a share, for 2009. The company's full-year revenue increased about 2% to $102.69 billion last year, up from $100.43 billion the year earlier. Institutional Risk Analytics moved its view of JPMorgan Chase to neutral from negative, as the fourth-quarter and year results "are superficially strong, but dependent on the continued aggressive posture of management with respect to reserves and future losses." "The bank has unresolved credit and legacy issues, but not to the extent of its peers, thus the upgrade," said Christopher Whalen, co-founder of the firm. " JPM is, at the end of the day, a bet on whether the U.S. economy is going to see higher unemployment and lower home prices in 2011. We believe that the latter, lower home prices in 2011, is a given and thus our down 10% estimate in the MacroMarkets survey run by Bob Shiller. The real question is how continued weakness in housing affects employment and bank loss severities." Write to Jason Philyaw.

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