Updated: May 24, 2012 10:10AM
WASHINGTON — U.S. bank earnings rose in the first three months of the year to the highest level in nearly five years. The number of troubled banks fell for the fourth straight quarter.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Thursday the banking industry earned $35.3 billion in the January-March period. That’s up from $28.7 billion in the first quarter of 2011. About 67 percent of U.S. banks reported improved earnings.
The number of banks on the FDIC’s confidential “problem” list fell in the first quarter to 772, or around 9.5 percent of all federally insured banks. That compares with 813 troubled banks in the fourth quarter.