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Fifth Third, JPMorgan Lead Big Bank Revenue Winners: KBW

The nation's largest banks all saw a weak trading revenue trend in the third quarter, but most were hit even harder by the expected decline in mortgage revenue, as rising long-term rates helped slow the wave of refinancing applications.

The mortgage trend is clear and the big banks can't avoid it.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's most recent estimate, third-quarter mortgage loan refinance activity in the United States declined to $189 billion from $342 billion in the third quarter of 2012. The MBA forecasts that total U.S. mortgage production will decline from $1.750 trillion in 2012 to $1.605 trillion in 2013, with a much more significant decline to $1,091 trillion in 2014.

"We are not suggesting that investors should ignore the material drop in mortgage banking income," Mutascio wrote. "However, by backing it out, we can get a sense of how the revenue per share growth is across all other business lines for our banks. It might provide us with some insight as to who will generate greater revenue per share growth when mortgage banking fully normalizes."

According to KBW's data, if mortgage revenue were stripped out, Fifth Third would again be the winner among large-cap banks, with third-quarter revenue of $1.4 billion, increasing from $1.371 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Core revenue, excluding mortgages, rose 8.6% to $1.58 a share in the third quarter from $1.45 a share a year earlier.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) ranks second, with revenue, excluding myriad one-time items and mortgage revenue (which was down 65% to $841 million), increasing to $22.431 billion in the third quarter, from $21.623 billion a year earlier. JPMorgan's third-quarter average share count declined to 3.767 billion from 3.821 billion a year earlier. So adjusted revenue came to $5.95 a share in the third quarter, up 5.2% from the third quarter of 2012.

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