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US banking industry made $40.3bn in first quarter of 2013

The US banking industry has reported earnings of $40.3 billion during the first quarter of 2013, which is in part a result of one-time changes in income and expenses at big banks, according to new data released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

This represented a 15.8 per cent increase over the same period in 2012 and represented an all-time quarterly high, though the previous high mark was set when the industry was much smaller in terms of its total number of assets.

A reduction in legal expenses and proceeds from a settlement boosted earnings during the quarter.

Banks also reduced to a six-year low the amount they set aside in case of losses on loans.

FDIC chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a statement: "We saw improvement in asset quality indicators over the quarter, a continued increase in the number of profitable institutions, and further declines in the number of problem banks and bank failures."

By Claire Archer