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Bank Earnings, Mortgage Assets Lower as CRE Loans Rise

Total assets $14.9 trillion as of Q1

May 28, 2014

By Mortgage Daily staff

The banking sector posted a rare year-over-year drop in earnings as interest rates increased and residential assets declined. Commercial mortgage holdings, however, grew.

Total assets at the nation's banks climbed to $14.9010 trillion as of the first quarter from $14.7227 trillion in the final quarter of last year. In the first-quarter 2013, assets stood at $14.4244 trillion.

Assets included $1.8223 trillion in one-to-four family residential loans, down from $1.8286 trillion three months earlier and $1.8778 trillion a year earlier.

The data was reported in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s Quarterly Banking Profile.

Another $0.5035 trillion in home-equity lines of credit were outstanding as of March 31, falling from $0.5108 trillion at the end of December and $0.5389 trillion as of March 31, 2013.

Commercial real estate holdings grew to $1.1177 trillion from $1.1096 trillion and were $1.0729 trillion in the first-quarter 2013.

In addition, construction-and-land-development assets increased to $0.2143 trillion from $0.2099 trillion and were also up from $0.2015 trillion at the same point last year.

Net income in the first quarter was $37.2 billion, worse than $39.8 billion in the prior quarter and $40.3 billion in the year-earlier period. The FDIC said that it was only the second time during the past 19 quarters that year-over-year earnings were worse.

"Last year's rise in interest rates resulted in a drying-up of demand for mortgage refinancings," the report said. "Without this demand, mortgage originations have fallen sharply, and mortgage revenue has declined by almost one-half."

Bank count dropped to 6,730 from 6,812 at the end of last year and 7,019 at the same point last year. The March 31, 2014, number included 5,809 commercial banks and 921 savings institutions.

Mortgage loans accounted for more than half of total assets at 563 banks.

During the first three months of this year, 74 banks merged and five failed.

The number of problem banks fell to 411 from 467 as of year-end 2013.

Staffing declined to 2,058,927 full-time equivalent employees from 2,068,754 three months earlier and 2,102,817 a year earlier.

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