JP Morgan
© Seth Wenig / AP
The two largest banks in the US are declaring a loss on $4.5 billion in debts that customers are unable to pay.

JPMorgan Chase says its net charge-offs, which are debts that the bank does not expect to receive, hit $2 billion in the first quarter of this year, reports Reuters.

That's nearly twice the amount of unrecoverable debt compared to the same quarter last year.

Meanwhile, Bank of America reported $1.5 billion in net charge-offs, a surge from $807 million a year prior.

BofA says those losses stem mainly from credit card debt that will likely never be paid.

"Bank of America is seeing 'cracks' in the finances of borrowers with below-prime credit scores whose household spending is affected by higher interest rates and inflation", Chief Financial Officer Alastair Borthwick told analysts on an earnings call...

"While lenders earn money from interest payments, they seek to avoid situations in which customers fall so far behind on loans that they have to be written off."

Net charge-offs are also on the rise at Citigroup and Wells Fargo as a recent poll from the Federal Reserve finds most banks are now tightening lending standards for most types of loans.

"Banks reported tighter standards and weaker demand for home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Moreover, for credit card, auto, and other consumer loans, standards reportedly tightened, and demand weakened on balance."

Despite the losses, both JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America say their balance sheets are sound.

JPMorgan Chase earned $49.6 billion in profit last year, while Bank of America earned $24.9 billion.