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JPMorgan forecasts flat to lower net interest income in 2020

JPMorgan Chase & Co. will likely produce "flat to slightly down" net interest income year over year in 2020, CFO Jennifer Piepszak said during an investor call to discuss fourth-quarter earnings.

"Headwinds from rates will be offset with balance [sheet] growth," she said.

The bank's net interest income fell about 0.4% quarter over quarter to $14.17 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, meeting the forecast it gave in December. The rate environment has improved since late summer but still remains challenging for bank earnings.

JPMorgan also forecast that it will post about $14 billion of net interest income in the first quarter of 2020.

The bank's cost of interest-bearing deposits fell a substantial 18 basis points from the third quarter to 67 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2019. Piepszak said that declines in rates paid on the wholesale side accelerated after the Federal Reserve's second interest rate cut, but rates paid to consumers continued to tick up as balances moved from savings accounts to certificates of deposit.

Overall, JPMorgan Chase said deposit growth accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2019, aided in part by lower short-term rates.