JPMorgan Net Income Drops 84 Percent on Writedowns

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co., the largest U.S. bank by market value, said third-quarter profit fell 84 percent on about $5.8 billion of writedowns, losses and credit provisions.

Net income dropped to $527 million, or 11 cents a share, from $3.4 billion, or 97 cents, a year earlier, the New York- based bank said today in a statement. Shares of the company rose as earnings beat the 18-cent loss analysts predicted on average in a survey by Bloomberg.

JPMorgan took $18.8 billion of writedowns and credit costs before today, less than a third of what Wachovia Corp. and Citigroup Inc. reported. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon has capitalized on the market crisis by taking over Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual Inc. as they collapsed earlier this year. JPMorgan will get $25 billion from the U.S. government under a bank rescue plan announced yesterday.

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Citigroup Girds for Wachovia Takeover Battle With Wells Fargo

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) — Citigroup Inc., hobbled by $61 billion of subprime-related losses, now faces its biggest takeover battle in a fight with Wells Fargo & Co. for control of Wachovia Corp.

Citigroup fell as much as 21 percent yesterday in New York trading after Wells Fargo, the biggest U.S. bank on the West Coast, agreed to acquire all of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Wachovia for $15.1 billion. The bid trumped Citigroup’s government-backed offer of $2.16 billion for Wachovia’s banking operations.

“The taxpayer doesn’t pay a penny” for the Wells Fargo deal, Wells Chairman Richard Kovacevich, 64, said yesterday in an interview. His company’s bid is superior to Citigroup’s also because it’s a higher price and the combining banks “share similar cultures and values.”

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Banks face “new world order,” consolidation: report

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial firms face a “new world order” after a weekend fire sale of Bear Stearns and the Federal Reserve’s first emergency weekend meeting since 1979, research firm CreditSights said in a report on Monday.

More industry consolidation and acquisitions may follow after JPMorgan Chase & Co on Sunday said it was buying Bear Stearns for $236 million, or $2 a share, a deep discount from the $30 price on Friday and record share price of about $172 last year.

“Last evening the Bear Stearns situation reached a crescendo, as JPMorgan agreed to acquire the wounded broker for a token amount of $2 per share,” CreditSights said. “The reality check is that there are many challenged major banks, brokers, thrifts, finance/mortgage companies, and only a handful of bona fide strong U.S. banks.”

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The Bush Bust of ’08: “It’s All Downhill From Here, Folks”

On January 14, 2008 the FDIC web site began posting the rules for reimbursing depositors in the event of a bank failure. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is required to “determine the total insured amount for each depositor….as of the day of the failure” and return their money as quickly as possible. The agency is “modernizing its current business processes and procedures for determining deposit insurance coverage in the event of a failure of one of the largest insured depository institutions.” The implication is clear, the FDIC has begun the “death watch” on the many banks which are currently drowning in their own red ink. The problem for the FDIC is that it has never supervised a bank failure which exceeded 175,000 accounts. So the impending financial tsunami is likely to be a crash-course in crisis management. Today some of the larger banks have more than 50 million depositors, which will make the FDIC’s job nearly impossible. Good luck. – Mike Whitney

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