Bank One Corp.’s chief executive James Dimon said Wednesday that the Chicago banking company will reduce its large corporate lending business this year as it combs through a 1,700-client portfolio for the most profitable relationships.

Despite the number of long-standing relationships, some with Fortune 1000 companies, this business line “is not a high-return business,” because we’re losing money on credit products, Mr. Dimon told attendees at a Salomon Smith Barney conference in New York Wednesday. The announcement came just a week after Bank One’s fourth-quarter earnings took a battering when it unveiled a 19% increase in nonperforming assets during the quarter, for a total of $2.573 billion.

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