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Fourth quarter earnings season kicked off in earnest last week, and soon one of the most tumultuous years in financial markets history will be fully in the books.

Some of America’s largest banks set the tone on Friday with results befitting of 2020: equal parts optimism and existential worry.

The Early Reports
Buoyed by a reversal of loan loss reserves, Wells Fargo and Citigroup each bested earnings expectations.

Then there was JPMorgan. The bank revealed it turned a record $12.1 billion profit in Q4 and many analysts were swooning over the numbers. Colorful analyst Jim Cramer called it “one of the greatest quarters I have ever seen.”

  • Prime Strength: The majority of JPMorgan’s customers are what they call “prime” borrowers who have, according to CEO Jamie Dimon, “a lot more income” than an average bank customer. Dimon noted these customers continued to pay down their credit card balances at an “extraordinary” pace.
  • JPMorgan reported a 20% increase in trading revenues, meaning it successfully captured the volatility you may have seen in your brokerage account.

Still, investors were turned off by tepid loan growth and a still cautious outlook from Dimon, sending shares down nearly 2% on the day.

FinTech Drama
Responding to a question from an analyst, Jamie Dimon expressed concern about the growth of competition from emerging fintech players.

Making note of Visa, PayPal, Ant Financial, Tencent, Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, Dimon acknowledged there is a long list of talented companies he is “scared ****** of". Exact quote.

The Takeaway: There is good reason to be worried. Square, founded just over a decade ago, now has a market cap on par with that of Goldman Sachs. 


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Stripe Leads Massive Round in 'Fast'

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(Getty Images)

What America Needs At This Particular Moment Is Definitely A New Bank From Jack Dorsey

An eager and not-at-all-shellshocked world greets the arrival of Square Financial Services.


Q3 Bank Earnings: Everybody Loses

It's like a Mike Mayo fantasy camp out there, you guys.

By World Economic Forum (Flickr: The Global Financial Context: James Dimon) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

(Earnings) Season’s Greetings

Nothing is f*cked, dude.


Jamie Dimon Is Not A Luddite

And he’s spending a few hundred million dollars to prove it.

By World Economic Forum (Flickr: The Global Financial Context: James Dimon) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Jamie Dimon Has So Much Extra Cash To Not Spend On Bonuses, Political Donations

The not-46th-president-of-the-United-States made history this week all the same.

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China Raises Big Money From American Investors

Because “safe” yield is hard to find these days.