Big Banks Ended 2019 on a High Note

JPMorgan’s fixed-income trading revenues, for example, were 86 percent higher than in the same quarter in 2018.

“The quarter was very strong on absolute terms,” JPMorgan’s chief financial officer, Jennifer Piepszak, said on a call to discuss the bank’s results with journalists.

Even Wells Fargo, which is still digging itself out from a series of scandals that cost it billions of dollars and led to the departures of two successive chief executives, managed net income of $2.9 billion for the quarter. The bank announced it was setting aside another $1.5 billion to pay legal costs, and its new leader, Charles W. Scharf, warned that there was still “substantial” work to be done to get things back on track.

Wells Fargo has been operating under strict growth prohibitions imposed by its regulators since early 2018. Its former chief executive, Timothy Sloan, spent months assuring investors that the restrictions would be lifted quickly. Mr. Scharf appeared far more cautious on Tuesday. “I’m not sure that any of these public issues will be closed this year,” he said on a call with analysts.

Despite its problems, however, Wells Fargo distributed $9 billion to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks last year.

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