JPMorgan Raising Wages, Hiring, Expanding

NEW YORK (AP) — JPMorgan is boosting wages, opening new branches and hiring thousands of new workers citing improved economic performance and sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code.

The U.S. recently slashed the corporate rate to 21 percent from, 35 percent.

Hourly wages will rise to between $15 and $18 from a range of $12 to $16.50, impacting 22,000 employees. The New York bank will also open 400 new branches and hire 4,000 people in its new U.S. markets, housing and small business divisions. Loans to customers seeking "affordable" homes will rise by 25 percent to $50 billion and it will boost philanthropy by 40 percent, to $1.75 billion.

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. also said it will reduce medical plan deductibles by $750 per year for employees making less than $60,000.

The company recently reported a 37 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit, mainly on a charge related to recent tax code changes. JPMorgan had billions of dollars of what are known as tax-deferred assets on its balance sheet. These are basically credits it could have used to pay future income taxes. These credits built up after the big Wall Street banks took billions of dollars in losses from bad mortgages and other toxic assets.

Because the new tax bill lowered the corporate tax rate, the value of those tax-deferred assets had to be written down. JPMorgan had a $2.4 billion one-time charge that covers the change in value of those assets.

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Still, the company saw net interest income rise 11 percent as rising interest rates allow the bank to raise charges on loans.

"Having a healthy, strong company allows us to make these long-term, sustainable investments," said Chariman and CEO Jamie Dimon, "We are excited about further investing in our outstanding workforce and expanding into new U.S. markets."

The branch expansion will take place over the next five years in up to 20 new markets, the company said. JPMorgan currently has 5,130 branches throughout 23 states.

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