Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Earnings from big banks were expectedly awful on Tuesday, but much more important than JPMorgan's 69% profit drop or Wells Fargo's $0.01 earnings per share in the first quarter, were details about their cash holdings.

What we learned: JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank, added $8.3 billion to its reserves last quarter, more than five times what it held in the same quarter last year, and Wells Fargo set aside $4 billion, an increase of $3.1 billion.

Why it matters: The holdings suggest the banks are doing more than preparing for “the likelihood of a fairly severe recession” as JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon put it.

  • "[T]he banks’ maneuvers to steel themselves for losses reflect their calculations that the $2 trillion economic relief bill, which includes direct payments to low-earning Americans as well as $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses, will not be enough to stave off widespread financial instability for everyday Americans and their employers," my former colleague Emily Flitter writes for The New York Times.

Be smart: The banks are quite literally exchanging their profits for the cash to ride out the pandemic and protect against losses on loans to customers, Flitter adds.

  • "JPMorgan’s net income fell to $2.9 billion from $8.5 billion for the last quarter of 2019 and $9.2 billion for the same period a year earlier — with the bank’s new reserves essentially the difference. Wells Fargo reported a steep drop in profit to $653 million from $5.9 billion during the same period in 2019."

The intrigue: Many of the bank's high-income customers appear to be taking similar action. Deposits rose 23% at JPMorgan during the quarter and grew in every line of business. Wells Fargo saw deposits rise by 4% to $1.4 trillion.

Go deeper: Banks' first-quarter profits are expected to get rough

Go deeper

Biden raises $141 million more than Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during a September campaign event in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and joint fundraising committees raised $466 million cash on hand, the presidential candidate's team announced late Sunday.

Why it matters: President Trump's campaign raised $325 million, his campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh announced Friday. In the spring, Biden was $187 million behind Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Virtual Emmys address chaotic year for American TV and society

Emmy Host Jimmy Kimmel during rehearsals Friday for the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo: Al Seib/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Emmy Awards Sunday night addressed the major U.S. issues this year — including the protests on systemic racism and police brutality, the wildfires engulfing parts of the West Coast, the census, the pandemic, essential works and the election.

Why it matters: Award shows have always addressed wider cultural issues, but this year — amid unprecedented stress and uncertainty — that trend has accelerated.

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 30,919,638 — Total deaths: 959,332— Total recoveries: 21,152,996Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30p.m. ET: 6,799,141 — Total deaths: 199,474 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure.
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning.
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — 7 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.