|MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer|
About 67 percent of U.S. banks reported improved earnings.
The number of banks on the
The surge in first-quarter earnings follows the industry's most profitable year since 2006, a sign that many banks have put the 2008 financial crisis behind them. Still, last year's increase came largely because banks suffered fewer losses — not because they took in more money.
The slow recovery, record-low interest rates and weak demand for loans left bank revenue mostly flat for the year.
That may be changing. The banking industry posted a 3 percent increase in revenue from a year earlier, bolstered by higher profits from loans and fees on customers' bank accounts. It was only the second time in the last five quarters that revenue rose, the
And bank losses on loans declined in the January-March period to
The news wasn't all good.
Total loan balances fell for credit cards, home mortgages and other loans. Acting
Still, Gruenberg said the overall financial health of the banking industry continues to show gradual improvement.
"Insured institutions have made steady progress in shedding bad loans, bolstering net worth and increasing profitability," he said.
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