FDIC-insured commercial banks reported record earnings of $74.3 billion in 2001, $3.2 billion over the record set in 1999. These record profits translated into a return on assets of 1.16%, down slightly from 1.19% in 2000. The downside of the bank earnings picture is that capital gains accounted for more than 6% of first-half profits. Downward pressures on core earnings continued as the net interest margin fell to 3.90% for 2001, a drop of 5 basis points (bp) from the end of 2000.
Suggested citation: "Commercial Banks," Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Trends, no. 02-04, pp. 16, 04.01.2002.