JPMorgan Profits Slump on Writedowns

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co’s quarterly profit fell 76 percent as it wrote down underperforming loans and set aside more money to cover credit losses after it acquired the banking operations of failed thrift Washington Mutual Inc in September.

JPMorgan posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $702 million, or 7 cents per share, down from $3 billion, or 86 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 0.9 percent to $17.2 billion from $17.4 billion.

The fourth quarter was the first to include results from Washington Mutual.

The acquisition of WaMu, the largest U.S. bank to fail, ratcheted up JPMorgan’s exposure to consumer credit. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon had warned investors several times in the fourth quarter about the effects of a deepening recession and rising unemployment on the bank’s large consumer business.

Shares of JPMorgan have fallen 17.9 percent so far this year, compared with a 19.2 percent decline in the KBW Bank Index.

In 2008, JPMorgan stock slumped 27.8 percent in 2008, compared with the index’s 50 percent decline.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)