February 25, 2020 / 6:13 AM / 4 months ago

JPMorgan raises clean energy spending goals, profit targets unchanged 

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) largely maintained its key profit goals for the medium term on Tuesday, signaling steady but slower growth, and raised its financial commitment for clean-energy initiatives after years of pressure from environmental activists.

FILE PHOTO: The J.P.Morgan logo is seen at Canary Wharf financial district in London, Britain, March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause/File Photo

The largest U.S. bank will target $200 billion in lending and other financial services for green and sustainable companies and projects, up from an earlier target of $175 billion set in 2017, according to a presentation ahead of its annual investor day.

The new target, however, failed to satisfy some climate-change activists who flocked outside JPMorgan’s New York headquarters, partially blocking some entrances and demanding that the bank get rid of fossil-fuel clients.

At the investor meet, Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Piepszak said she was confident that the bank’s near to medium-term growth would be backed by a robust U.S. economy, despite some near-term headwinds.

“We can outperform on a relative basis regardless of the environment,” Piepszak said. “Although risks are more skewed to the down side given ... risks like coronavirus, we are confident that the strength of our operating model will continue to demonstrate strength.”

The bank projected that return on tangible common equity (ROTCE), a key measure used to determine how well a bank is using its shareholders’ money, will be the same as last year’s target of 17%.

However, JPMorgan cut its outlook for net interest income (NII) to $57 billion for 2020 from $57.8 billion in 2019, blaming lower interest rates.

The bank forecast NII of $60 billion or more for 2021, which was above analysts’ estimates.

The bank also forecast higher expenses of $67 billion, compared with $65.3 billion last year, despite a “reduction in structural expenses.”

UNCHANGED PROFIT GOALS

The presentation showed that JPMorgan’s outlook remained unchanged for profit at its corporate & investment bank (CIB), a disappointment for analysts who had expected the lender to push for higher growth at the unit that accounted for a third of total revenue in 2019.

It expects return on equity of 16%, unchanged from the target that was set a year ago.

Targeted return on equity stayed unchanged at 25%-plus for the consumer & community banking segment, and remained flat at 18% for the commercial banking segment.

JPMorgan also maintained the outlook for the asset and wealth management business and said it expected a 25%-plus return on equity in the medium term.

Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bangalore and Elizabeth Dilts in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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