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FDIC Says In 2012, Banks Posted Second-Best Earnings On Record

Profits for U.S. banks skyrocketed in 2012, a report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. finds today.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. banks made $141.3 billion in net income last year. That is the "second-best earnings on record." The best year was 2006, when banks reported $145.2 billion in earnings.

The AP explains:

"'The improving trend that began more than three years ago gained further ground in the fourth quarter,' FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a statement. Still, 'troubled loans, problem banks and bank failures remain at elevated levels, while growth in lending and revenue remains sluggish.'

"Banks with assets exceeding $10 billion drove the bulk of the earnings growth in the October-December period. While they make up just 1.5 percent of U.S. banks, they accounted for about 82 percent of the industry earnings.

"Those banks include Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. Most of them have recovered with help from federal bailout money and record-low borrowing rates."

Bloomberg reports that the profits were broad with "60 percent of banks reporting increases from the previous year even as interest-income margins tightened."

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