Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bank earnings reach another new high, FDIC says

Bank earnings reached a total of $35.3 billion in the third quarter, the ninth-straight quarter that banks have posted a year-over-year increase, the FDIC said in its quarterly banking profile.

That's up from $23.8 billion in the third quarter last year.

The report looks at banks and savings instutitions whose deposits are insured by the FDIC. More than 60 percent of them reported quarterly net income increases, the report states.

A decrease in loan-loss provisions again drove the profit growth. But, absent accounting gains posted by a few big banks, revenue declined.

"We continue to see income growth that reflects improving asset quality and lower loss provisions," FDIC Acting Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg said in a press release. "U.S. banks have come a long way from the depths of the financial crisis. Bank balance sheets are stronger in a number of ways, and the industry is generally profitable, but the recovery is by no means complete."

The FDIC report only looks at the federally insured components of large banks, not the overall holding companies. Bank of America, for example, has fluctuated between profits and losses over the last several quarters, but the Bank of America National Association, which takes deposits, has steadily posted profits, call reports show.