NEW YORK — JP Morgan Chase reported today that its auto finance business unit grew auto originations in the third quarter 6% from a year ago to $6.8 billion. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, however, originations were down 4%.

The bank’s average auto loans were $52.7 billion, up 4% from a year ago but down slightly from $52.8 billion in the second quarter.

The bank’s card, merchant services and auto segment posted net income of $1.1 billion, a $120 million decrease from a year ago. The decrease was driven by higher provision for credit losses. But despite its net charge-off rate for auto loans increasing from 0.35% in the year-ago period to 0.38%, Chase posted a $100 million reduction in the allowance for auto and student loan losses.

Non-interest expense for the bank’s card, merchant service and auto division increased $77 million from a year ago to $2 billion. The increase was predominantly driven by an accrual related to Home Depot fraud and higher auto lease depreciation expense.

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