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U.S. Thrifts Post $1.77 Billion Profit, ‘Problem’ Lenders Fall

Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. thrifts increased profits in the third quarter, recording a fifth straight gain as lenders recover from losses on home mortgages and commercial real estate stemming from the 2008 credit crisis.

Savings-and-loans industry earnings totaled $1.77 billion in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, an increase from the $1.49 billion in the second quarter, the Office of Thrift Supervision said today in a report on industry performance. The agency’s confidential list of “problem” institutions -- those at elevated risk of failure -- fell to 53 from 54, the first drop since the first quarter of 2009.

“The industry’s profitability was encouraging, but other indicators reminded us that economic stresses -- particularly from unemployment -- continue to take a toll,” John Bowman, the agency’s acting director, said in a statement.

Thrifts had an increase in noncurrent loans and repossessed assets, with 3.45 percent of total industry assets registering as “troubled” in the third quarter, an increase from 3.35 percent in the preceding three-month period, according to the OTS report.

The agency, which will be folded into the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in July as part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, supervised 741 institutions with $927.9 billion in assets at the end of the quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Mattingly in Washington at pmattingly@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lawrence Roberts at lroberts13@bloomberg.net

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