16 Oct 2009

US banks deliver higher than expected profits

9:02 am on 16 October 2009

The US banking industry has delivered more positive earnings surprises, as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup posted better-than-expected results.

Citigroup topped expectations, posting a third-quarter profit of $US101 million on Thursday.

Because of special dividends required from a massive government bailout, the results amounted to a loss for shareholders of US27 cents per share, however that was better than an expected loss of US38 cents per share.

Citigroup, which has received about $US45 billion in capital from the US Treasury to shore up its finances, said the environment remains difficult.

The bank has sustained severe losses stemming from the collapse of the US housing bubble and a worldwide financial squeeze. The company lost $US18.7 billion in 2008, prompting the government to step in with massive aid.

It has posted profits over the past three quarters, even though shareholders are not seeing those earnings.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs announced profit of $US3.19 billion in the third quarter, more than triple the amount from a year earlier.

The company, one of the main Wall Street survivors of the financial crisis, said investment banking and trading activity generated robust results.

Net revenues amounted to $US12.4 billion, double the level of a year ago.

One of the leading Wall Street investment banks, Goldman Sachs changed its charter a year ago to become a commercial bank to get easier access to Federal Reserve lending facilities to help weather the financial crisis.

These results came on the heels of JPMorgan Chase, which said on Wednesday its quarterly profit jumped to $US3.6 billion.

The BBC reports the result was boosted by bond trading, which more than offset losses on credit cards and consumer loans.

JP Morgan warned it's still too early to conclude the tide has turned on rising loan losses.