Sept. 1, 2006 (Bloomberg) -- Banks and brokerage firms in New Orleans say they're faring better than before Hurricane Katrina caused a record $80 billion of damages along the Gulf Coast a year ago.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., the third-biggest U.S. bank, said deposits from the New Orleans region jumped 78 percent in the past year, helped by the opening of 50,000 checking accounts. Merrill Lynch & Co., the largest brokerage firm, said revenue in July from its four branches near New Orleans was 10 percent higher than a year ago.
Earnings at Louisiana's 134 state-chartered banks jumped 23 percent to $185 million in the first half of 2006 from a year ago, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. New Orleans residents are opening bank and brokerage accounts with money received from insurance companies and government relief agencies, and are taking out loans to repair homes.
``It's ironic that New Orleans was a little- to no-growth market,'' said Kevin Fitzsimmons, a banking analyst at Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP in New York. ``If things get rolling and the city starts to rebuild, you could have several years of growth.''