NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- JPMorgan  (JPM) has posted a tougher-than-expected first quarter as the bank contended with sluggish loan demand and a slowdown in trading activity.

The bank, one of the largest in the U.S. and the first to report this earnings season, recorded net income of $5.27 billion, or $1.28 a share, over the three months to March.

Earnings per share came in 12 cents short of average analyst forecasts compiled by Thomson Reuters and 19.5% lower than a year earlier.

Likewise, quarterly revenue fell 8% year over year to $23.86 billion, missing estimates by $662.33 million. By segment, revenue from consumer and community banking fell 10% to $10.5 billion, corporate and investment banking dropped 15% to $3.4 billion, and commercial banking was off 1% to $1.7 billion.

New York-based JPMorgan reported a 13% return on tangible common equity, lower than 17% in the year-ago quarter.

"JPMorgan Chase had a good start to the year, given there were industry-wide headwinds in Markets and Mortgage," said CEO Jamie Dimon in a statement.

At the company's investor day in late February, Dimon warned that trading revenue over the first two months of the year had fallen 15%, partially attributed to a reduction in Federal Reserve bond purchases.

As for softness in its lending business, JPMorgan reported a 68% drop to $17 billion in mortgage originations in its consumer and community banking segment and a 57% fall in mortgage application volumes to $26.1 billion over the quarter.

Overall mortgage banking profits dropped to $114 million, $559 million lower than the year earlier.

JPMorgan's board approved an increase in its quarterly dividend of 2 cents to 40 cents a share and authorized $6.5 billion in share repurchases through to the first quarter of 2015.

Before the bell, shares had fallen 3.9% to $55.15.

-- Written by Keris Alison Lahiff in New York.