Update with afternoon market action and comments from Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve bank examiner and current lecturer at the Boston University School of Management.
Maybe whoever leaked confidential regulatory rating information to the Wall Street Journal was jealous that the bank all but sailed through the credit crisis while casually absorbing the "London Whale" trading losses last year. The company posted 2012 earnings of $21.3 billion -- increasing from $19 billion in 2012 -- despite taking at least $6.2 billion in losses while winding down the hedge trading losses that were at the center of a bombshell Senate report last week.
JPMorgan shares were up slightly in afternoon trading, to $49.30.In its report on the London Whale losses, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations disclosed that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency lowered JPMorgan Chase's CAMELS rating in July 2012 for main banking subsidiary, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA. The rating was lowered because of "lax governance and oversight" of the bank's Chief Investment Office, which is the group that handled the hedge trades leading to the losses. The OCC determined that JPMorgan Chase's "board and management failed to ensure that CIO management was properly supervised, and that an adequate risk management and control infrastructure was in place," according to the Senate committee report. One of the Senate committee report's conclusions is that bank regulators should finalize their implementation of the Volcker Rule, which bans proprietary trading by banks and has been championed by Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Carl Levin (D., Mich.) Banking is among the most highly regulated industries, for reasons that are all too familiar to most residents of the U.S. in the wake of the housing and credit crises. But bank examination reports are confidential, with good reason. With banks' management teams, financial results and business strategy subject to a very high degree of scrutiny in the reports, it would be grossly unfair, not to mention highly disruptive in the market, for the examination reports to be made public. CAMELS is an acronym standing for capital adequacy, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity and sensitivity to risk. According to the Journal, JPMorgan Chase was lowered to a CAMELS 3 rating, which is a "needs improvement" rating. That's the same rating that Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) were lowered to, at the height of the credit crisis.
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