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Evenas U.S. bank earnings rise, loan losses increase

Evenas U.S. bank earnings rise, loan losses increase

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WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. bank earnings jumped 11.9 percent in the final three months of 2015 — compared with the previous year — on rising revenue. Legal expenses declined as some big banks wound down legal settlements that arose from the financial crisis.

Nonetheless, data issued Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed that losses from loans increased for the first time in 5 1/2 years. The increase in loans that banks wrote off as uncollectible was especially strong — 43.4 percent — for industrial borrowers, as plummeting oil prices hurt energy companies.

The FDIC said U.S. banks earned $40.8 billion in the October-December quarter, up from $36.4 billion a year earlier.

Of all banks, 56.6 percent reported an increase in profit from a year earlier. Only 9.1 percent were unprofitable.

The number of "problem" banks on the FDIC's confidential list fell below 200 for the first time in more than seven years.

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