Updated from 6:47 a.m. EDTJPMorgan Chase ( JPM) reported first-quarter earnings of $2.14 billion, or 40 cents a share, compared with net income of $2.37 billion, or 67 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the bank to earn 32 cents a share in the period. Like other banks, JPMorgan's loans are still seeing defaults increase. Credit costs amounted to $10 billion, JPMorgan said. "The firm earned more than $2 billion this quarter, despite extremely high credit costs of $10 billion (including $4 billion added to reserves), largely in card services and retail financial services," said CEO Jamie Dimon in a statement Thursday. But the company is benefiting from a jump in mortgage refinancing and deposits, as well as low interest rates. The bank said its Tier 1 Capital ratio as of March 31 was 11.3%, or 9.2% excluding Troubled Asset Relief Program funds from the government. Dimon said for the rest of 2009 it's "reasonable to expect additional increases to credit reserves if the economic environment worsens. Yet, we are confident that even a highly adverse economic scenario would not compromise our overall strength and stability -- or our ability to enhance our franchises." The bank said it extended $150 billion in new credit during the first quarter. JPMorgan's investment bank pulled in a record profit of $1.6 billion on record revenue of $8.3 billion. A year earlier, before JPMorgan bought the nearly-collapsed investment bank Bear Stearns, that division posted a loss. JPMorgan's retail banking unit earned $474 million, a swing from a year-earlier loss of $311 million. That business was helped by the bank's acquisition of Washington Mutual in the fall. The WaMu acquisition also helped drive JPMorgan's commercial banking unit's income up 16% to $338 million. Dimon, along with other bank chief executives, including Bank of America's ( BAC) Ken Lewis, Citigroup's ( C) CEO Vikram Pandit and Wells Fargo's ( WFC) CEO John Stumpf have been extremely vocal during the first three months of the year, in order to calm jittery investors as the economy continued on its slide. JPMorgan Chase received $25 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program funding from the U.S. Treasury in October. Dimon has said repeatedly that the company didn't need the capital. Rather, JPMorgan Chase took the money because it was the right thing to do for the good of the U.S. financial system, Dimon has said. Still, the company isn't in a rush to pay it back, he said last month during an interview with CNBC.
In the same March 27 interview, Dimon, with his typical cautious tone, also said that March was "a little tough," likely referring to the firm's trading operations. The comments spooked investors. Recently, JPMorgan Chase's CEO also warned investors about the credit card business, which is seeing increasing troubles as unemployment spikes and the credit crisis expands beyond the housing crisis. Dimon warned in his annual letter to shareholders that he didn't expect the bank to be profitable in the credit card business this year. The bank's card services business reported a first-quarter loss of $547 million from earnings a year earlier of $609 million.