JPMorgan Lending Ratio Falls as Bank Is Flooded With Deposits

A man looks out of a window to the offices of JPMorgan Chase & Co. in the Canary Wharf business and shopping district in London.
A man looks out of a window to the offices of JPMorgan Chase & Co. in the Canary Wharf business and shopping district in London.

(Bloomberg) -- A key measure of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s lending declined during every quarter in 2020 as the nation’s largest bank showed less and less appetite for extending credit in a battered economy.

The fourth-quarter loans-to-deposits ratio dipped to 47% from 64% a year ago, JPMorgan said Friday. Loans increased by 2% to just over $1 trillion.

If JPMorgan extended credit at the same rate as the entire U.S. banking industry -- 64% as of Dec. 30 -- it would have about another $368 billion of loans on its books. The bank has experienced lower demand for loans, Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Piepszak told analysts Friday.

The gap comes as customers have flooded JPMorgan with deposits, taking it past the $2 trillion mark with a 37% rise from a year earlier. JPMorgan isn’t the only lender reporting a dip in loans relative to its ability to provide them, but its drop has been steeper, and its ratio is well below that of big-bank peers that have reported fourth-quarter results.

Wells Fargo & Co. lends out the equivalent of 63 cents for every $1 of deposits, down 10 percentage points from a year earlier. At Citigroup, where most deposits are outside the U.S., the ratio is 53%, down 12 percentage points from year-end 2019.