A Cheat Sheet to Third-Quarter Big Bank Earnings

By John MaxfieldFool.com

All four of the nation's too-big-to-fail banks have now reported third-quarter earnings. While net income increased on a year-over-year basis for Bank of America , Citigroup , and Wells Fargo , it fell at JPMorgan Chase , thanks primarily to lower trading revenue.

Lower legal expenses were the saving grace at Bank of America and Citigroup, both of which recorded multibillion-dollar legal settlements in the year-ago period. Beyond this, their performances amounted to a mixed bag. Bank of America continued to be hobbled by lower net interest income, but saw a slight uptick in revenue from its fee-based businesses. Citigroup, by contrast, saw both figures fall compared to the same quarter last year.

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JPMorgan Chase turned in the worst performance of the bunch. Pre-tax earnings at the nation's biggest bank by assets dropped by $1.2 billion compared to the year-ago period, fueled by marginally lower net interest income and a sharp decline in noninterest income due to lower trading and mortgage-banking income. The silver lining to JPMorgan Chase's third-quarter performance was a 2.7% reduction in noninterest expenses.

Finally, Wells Fargo turned in the strongest results. Despite the low interest rate environment, the California-based bank grew both net interest and noninterest income on a year-over-year basis. Wells Fargo accomplished the former by expanding its balance sheet, boosting its average earning assets by an impressive $123 billion.

Scroll through the slideshow below for an even briefer overview of these banks' performances last quarter.

The article A Cheat Sheet to Third-Quarter Big Bank Earnings originally appeared on Fool.com.

John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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