JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America saw their profits partly recover in the third quarter from the depths of the coronavirus-caused recession earlier this year. The turnaround stems mostly from improvements in the U.S. economy that allowed these big banks to set aside less money to cover potentially bad loans — $5 billion in the third quarter versus $33 billion in the second quarter.
“It’s the same story at every bank in the industry right now: lower credit costs are helping restore profitability,” said Kyle Sanders, an analyst who covers the financial services industry for Edward Jones.
The health of the banking sector is a proxy for the U.S. economy, since the banks’ fortunes largely rise or fall depending on whether borrowers are repaying their debts. Trillions of dollars of stimulus and reopening economies have helped partly lift the U.S. economy out of its historic contraction, which in turn has kept banks from having to write down or write off loans.
In the early months of the U.S. pandemic, banks set aside tens of billions of dollars to cover losses that could come from loans that were suddenly going bad. Millions of Americans and store owners, who were reliable borrowers before the pandemic, now found themselves out of work or their businesses temporarily shuttered.
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Techlife News #468