"It feels good to have a quarter with such a small number and have put such large issues behind us," says JPMorgan (JPM) CFO Marianne Lake on the earnings call, talking about the bank's legal expenses. Quickly added: "I want to remind you that we still expect legal expenses to be lumpy quarter over quarter for the next couple of years as we work through remaining issues.”
On the currently "challenging" banking environment, Lake notes the bank's pipeline is at its strongest level since 2012 and utilization rates have stabilized. "We are cautiously optimistic that improved lending trends will continue in 2014."
Noting lame growth in commercial and industrial loans, ISI's Glenn Schorr wants to know why, given far stronger action across the industry. Lake: We're very disciplined on credit, so we're not chasing growth "at the cost of liberal credit structures or overly aggressive pricing and also the fact that we continue to see some of our loans refinanced away from us."
The bank's weak quarter was inline with Nomura's Steve Chubak's estimates, and he says consensus remains too high for 2014 overall. Look for cuts and downgrades from the rest of the Street.
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