Back Cross River Intelligence Archives

US Consumer buoys bank earnings; Buy vs build

By Vy Phan

July 21, 2019


Bank earnings season is in full swing. The US consumer carried the day as the major consumer banks turned in strong loan growth and card spend. Trading and banking fees were lower due to weaker business sentiment and trade flares.

Credit card spend at JPM rose 11% to $193 Bn, while balances rose 8% to $157 Bn. The JPM consumer bank continues to turn in a blistering ~30% ROE – enviable by any bank standard — while growing loans, revenues, and keeping charge-offs in check.

Citi’s card spend rose 8%, while balances increased 3%. The main takeaway is there is plenty of opportunity for FinTech’s to refinance prime card debt.

Goldman turned in the strongest stock performance YTD (+30%) and on earnings day despite a YOY contraction in revenue and earnings.

One insight from the earnings call related to Marcus:

“Year-to-date, the total pre-tax cost from Marcus, Apple Card, and our new transaction banking platform is approximately $275 million, resulting in a drag of roughly 60 basis points on our ROE. Our cumulative pre-tax loss for these businesses from the inception of each, through the second quarter was approximately $1.3 billion, which has been embedded in the performance of the firm. As these businesses scale over the coming years, this drag should not only reverse but become an accretive contributor to the firm's ROE.”

Looking back over the past few years, one open question remains – “Given what we know now, would it have been better to build Marcus from scratch or buy an existing FinTech?”.

LendingClub’s marketcap for instance is $1.3 Bn  – the same as the net investment in the GS Marcus platform – and its annual origination volumes are 4 to 5x higher.

FinTech stock prices have lagged while major indices are near all-time highs. We would not be surprised to see greater M&A activity while FinTech asset prices are “on sale”.

Summary of Bank Earnings

On virtually every metric, JPM is outpacing its rivals and digital upstarts – and growing at a faster clip.

Source: PeerIQ, SEC Filings

Goldman Sachs’ revenue dropped 2% to $9.46 Bn along with earnings which fell 6% to $2.42 Bn

J.P. Morgan continues to lead major banks in earnings

Below is a snapshot of the performance of JPM’s consumer banking unit led by CEO Gordon Smith:

Source: PeerIQ, JPM Investor Relations

Citigroup, the most international U.S. bank, delivered moderately positive results across the board in revenues, earnings, and loans

Wells Fargo beat profit forecasts this quarter, but shows signs of downturn after Tuesday’s earnings release

Industry Update

Lighter Fare