Analysts expect U.S. commercial banks to report 30% to 60% losses in profits in the third quarter of 2020 thanks to the global pandemic and record-low interest rates. While investment banking and capital markets are expected to report 15% increase in revenue, the losses from low interest rates will dwarf these gains in comparison. According to Refinitiv, Citigroup and Wells Fargo—the third and fourth-largest banks in the U.S. by assets respectively—are expected to report net income down by about 60%. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America—first and second in assets respectively—are expected to shed 30% of profits. Tens of millions of Americans out of work due to the pandemic, plunging the U.S. economy into a recession. Over 4.5 million Americans looking for jobs and the unemployment rate is nearly 200% higher from levels just six months ago. Consumer loans from U.S. banks are also down 3% on the quarter from a year prior. The only bright spot is that bank deposits increased by $1.2 trillion from the first quarter of 2020 to the third quarter, propped up by multiple stimulus packages by the Fed. As the global recession worsens and interest rates fall to 0% or lower, and fiscal support runs out from Washington, banks will continue to lose money and require more capital to survive. Earnings announcements for the top U.S. banks are scheduled for October 13 (next week).

Reuters (Oct 1)