Bank Scoreboard: Mediocre Didn't Look Half Bad

Return on equity measured a paltry 6.5%--but that's a jump over 1989's abysmal results

Bankers did not exactly have a terrific time in 1990. The real estate market continued to deteriorate. Consumer loan delinquencies began rising. And a potentially severe recession loomed. Still, as banks lick their wounds these days, memories of last year may not be as bitter as they earlier thought. Last year's results, while lackluster, are still a welcome change from 1989.

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