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Banks have been one of the main beneficiaries of high inflation recently because their profit margins tend to expand when higher prices force central banks to raise interest rates.
At least, that was the thinking as investors bid up bank shares while rates climbed and inflation reached multi-decade highs. Now, megabanks including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup are disclosing that hot inflation in one area — employee wages — is casting a shadow over the next few years.
Shares of JPMorgan fell more than 6% on Friday after the bank said that expenses will climb 8% to roughly $77 billion this year, driven by wage inflation and technology investments. Higher expenses will likely push the bank's returns in 2022 and 2023 below recent results and the lender's 17% return-on-capital target, according to CFO Jeremy Barnum.