MELTDOWN

Banks Don't Believe Their Own Hype

President Obama and Fed chair Ben Bernanke have tried to talk up signs of economic improvement in recent days, but it seems the banks they cite as cause for optimism are less sure that things are getting better. Despite a series of positive earnings from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, bank executives are warning investors to manage their expectations. "We don't see the light at the end of the tunnel," Edward "Ned" Kelly, Citigroup's chief financial officer, told The Washington Post, referring to the state of the economy. Because unemployment has yet to hit its low point, banks are worried that an increasing number of defaults on loans could cut into their profits. JPMorgan Chase's CEO, Jamie Dimon, is also warning that loan losses have yet to peak. "They're going to continue going up in all the home lending areas, mortgage and home equity and credit cards," he told The Post.