JP Morgan staff bill up to £18.9bn


US bank JP Morgan Chase today revealed a higher bill for staff pay and bonuses in 2011 of 29 billion US dollars (£18.9 billion) despite a turbulent finish to the year.

The total pay packet - which based on its headcount of 260,157 equates to an average of 111,471 US dollars (£72,700) for each of its staff - is a 3% increase on last year.

But total pay and bonuses in the final quarter of the year fell 9% to 6.3 billion US dollars (£4.1 billion) at the bank - which employs around 11,000 staff in London - as market turmoil, triggered by the eurozone debt crisis, hit its investment arm.

America's biggest bank, the first to report in the Wall Street bank earnings season, reported a 9% rise in annual profits to 19 billion US dollars (£12.4 billion), despite a 23% plunge in fourth quarter earnings to 3.7 billion US dollars (£2.4 billion).

JP Morgan's stock fell 4% after the results were published.

Elsewhere, JP Morgan set aside 528 million US dollars (£344.4 million) for additional litigation costs in the quarter to fight lawsuits related to poorly written mortgages during the real estate boom.

With 50 million customers, JP Morgan's results provide insight on how the US economy is performing.

The earnings report revealed that more US households paid their credit card bills on time, leading to lower losses for the bank. It was able to book a profit of 730 million US dollars (£476.2 million) by reducing the reserves it had set aside for credit card defaults.

Corporate customers took on more loans, up 12% to 110 billion (£71.8 billion), which suggests business owners are feeling more confident that demand for their products is picking up.