WASHINGTON The government says the nation s banks turned a profit in the first quarter, but the number of problem banks jumped to more than 300.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says higher trading revenues at big banks helped the industry earn a $7.6 billion profit in the January-March period, compared with a record loss of $36.9 billion in the fourth quarter. The profit was 61 percent below the $19.3 billion earned in the year-ago period and followed the first quarterly loss in 18 years.
U.S. banks and thrifts set aside $60.9 billion in the first quarter to cover potential loan losses, up from $36.2 billion a year earlier.
The number of troubled banks jumped to 305, the highest number since the savings and loan crisis, from 252 in the fourth quarter.