In a stunning reversal of fortune for the banking industry, the largest U.S. banks have been bailed out at a record pace.
In fact, the banks that were bailed out have enjoyed record profits and outperformed the broader economy, the biggest losers of all.
Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), Bank of New York Mellon (BK), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BKT) all made $5 billion or more in profits, compared to just $1.6 billion in losses during the entire year.
Wells Fargo and JPMorgan have seen their share prices soar to record highs, with the latter up more than 500% in 2016.
“We have not been a bank in the same condition we were five years ago,” said John Stumpf, chief investment officer at BK Asset Management.
“In the past, there has been no real recovery from the Great Recession, but this year, we are doing really well.
We have a very healthy market, a very good outlook.”
Banks have become profitable because they are more profitable than they were five or 10 years ago.
They can charge less on risky bets that make them more profitable, making them attractive for investors.
“There are lots of things that have gone wrong,” said David Daley, a professor of banking at the University of Delaware.
“But if you look at the banks, they’ve got all sorts of things going for them that are not going to go away.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Ross Sorkin and John Wagner contributed to this report.