BUSINESS
08/06/2010 08:16 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Bank Of America, JPMorgan Chase Fail To Repeat Perfect Quarter

The nation's two biggest banks sustained trading losses during several days last quarter, failing to repeat their perfect performance during the year's first three months, regulatory documents filed Friday show.

Bank of America, the largest U.S. bank by assets, recorded losses on 12 of 63 trading days in the three-month period ending in June, according to the lender's quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

JPMorgan Chase, the second-largest lender by assets, lost money off trading on eight of 65 days last quarter, its filing shows.

The two financial behemoths' falls from trading perfection had not been unexpected. Neither bank had ever recorded a perfect quarter before Q1 of 2010, and the volatility of the past quarter coupled with inconsistent economic indicators reflecting a shaky recovery resulted in "less favorable market conditions," as Bank of America put it, this time around.

Still, traders at the nation's two largest banks turned in solid performances.

Bank of America's traders generated profits every four out of five days. On 37 of the 63 trading days, roughly 60 percent of the time, the lender's money movers produced profits exceeding $25 million. Their worst day led to a $102 million loss, the bank's quarterly filing shows. That was one of the lender's three worst trading days of the past year, according to its filing.

For comparison's sake, BofA traders made more than $25 million daily for 95 percent of the previous quarter's 61 days. They exceeded $75 million in trading profits at a clip of about every seven out of 10 days, SEC filings show.

JPMorgan Chase's traders were a little bit better last quarter than Bank of America's, generating profits nearly every nine days out of 10. Though the firm didn't detail its trading prowess during the second quarter -- instead showing results through the year's first six months -- JPMorgan did disclose that it turned an average profit of $95 million per day during the first six months of 2010, down slightly from the $118-million average it sustained during the first three months of the year.

The financial overhaul bill signed into law last month is expected to crimp banks' trading profits as legislators sought to force banks to trade less and concentrate more on lending. The degree to which that will occur will largely be up to regulators, who will spend the next several years writing and implementing rules that could significantly change the way megabanks make money.

As for the nation's next four largest banks, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have yet to file their quarterly reports with the SEC. Citigroup filed on Friday, but it doesn't reveal details of its trading operations. Wells Fargo hasn't filed yet either, but like Citigroup it typically doesn't disclose such details.

Like BofA and JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs recorded zero days of trading losses during the first quarter, SEC filings show. Goldman is likewise expected to have missed the perfect mark this past quarter.

The six biggest banks in the U.S. each have more than $800 billion in assets, according to regulatory documents filed with the Federal Reserve. The seventh-largest, MetLife Inc., was about $250 billion smaller, first-quarter Federal Reserve filings show.