Citicorp and Chase Manhattan Corp. each posted a substantial rise in third quarter earnings, with Citicorp registering a 69% increase to a record $894 million, while Chase earned $305 million, a 14% jump over last year.
Chemical Banking Corp., meanwhile, posted a 14% decline in earnings to $439 million, or $1.60 a share, from $502 million, or $1.84 a share, a year earlier.
Analysts said all three banks benefited from stronger than expected revenue growth, business in emerging financial markets, and a decline in nonperforming assets.
"The common theme is a faster improvement in asset quality than expected and strength in emerging. markets," said Ray Soifer, a banking analyst with Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.
Much of the improvement in earnings at Citicorp came from the bank's rapidly growing worldwide consumer banking business.
Net income from consumer banking operations rose 36% to $477 million from $349 million a year earlier.
Consumer banking grew strongly around the world, with earnings up most in North America, Europe, and Japan, increasing 43% to $308 million.
Worldwide corporate wholesale banking and trading operations, or global finance, rose 13% to $433 million from $383 million in the same quarter last year.
Earnings fell in North America, Europe and Japan, where net income was down 18% to $181 million, from $220 million a year earlier.
In contrast, earnings from operations in developing countries rose 55% to $252 million, from $163 million a year earlier.
Earnings from restructured cross-border loans to developing countries rose 42% to $45 million. North American commercial real estate reported a net loss of $86 million.
Citicorp chairman John S. Reed underscored the contributions to earnings from the bank's international consumer and wholdsale operations. He also noted that asset quality continued to improve.
Mr. Reed stressed that return On common equity was 25% for the first nine months this year and the bank's total capital exceeded $25 billion.
At Chase, the 14% improvement in earnings came despite a slight drop in net interest revenues.
In contrast, fees and commissions for consumer banking, trust and fiduciary services and investment banking rose 13% to $458 million. Trading revenues also remained strong at $188 million, up from $186 million a year earlier.
Analysts said they expect Chase's earnings to improve further as the company clamps down on expenses.
But they expressed some concern over continuing nonrecurring items at Chemical, including $80 million in earnings from past due interest in Brazil. They remain bullish, however, on underlying trends at the bank.
Excluding a special merger charge and tax benefits carried forward last year on loan losses to Third World countries, Chemical would have posted a 24% rise in net income.
Net interest income at Chemical increased slightly to $1.18 billion, compared with $1.16 billion, while noninterest revenues fell slightly to $984 million from $1 billion a year ago.
Trust and investment management fees and corporate finance fees also rose slightly, while provisions for losses fell to $100 million from $160 million.