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Biggest Banks Gain $10 Billion on Fed Moves to Open Debt Markets

  • Records set across Wall Street’s underwriting, trading desks
  • Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi all joined in the revenue windfall
Cyclists wearing protective masks ride past a Citibank branch.
Cyclists wearing protective masks ride past a Citibank branch.Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg

March presented the threat of a credit freeze along the lines of 2008. Instead, the Federal Reserve’s efforts to keep debt markets flowing have things looking more like 2009, with concerns about the U.S. economy abundant but times still great on Wall Street trading floors.

The Fed’s moves have meant a $10 billion windfall for the biggest U.S. banks as their bond traders seized on big market swings to set new records, and their bankers arranged a slew of debt deals for companies desperate to raise cash. That helped keep JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. profitable despite a surge in loan-loss provisions, and even delivered a surprise earnings increase at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.