Profits at JP Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) were down 3%, but results for the first quarter were still better than expected. The numbers show a bounce back in business at America’s largest bank after a dismal end to 2011. A surge in business at JP Morgan’s retail financial business, which includes the Chase bank branches, led to a 6% gain in revenues from a year ago and a 24% jump quarter-to-quarter to more than $27 billion.
Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), the fourth largest U.S. bank, saw a rise in overall revenues led by mortgage banking, leading to a 13% jump in first-quarter profits. But the company warned its cost-cutting program may not result in as many savings as first hoped.
Nevertheless the first two big results out of the sector have bolstered expectations that the first quarter will be the strongest reporting season for the group in decades.