Scant Earnings Relief as Banks Build Reserves

Three months from now, maybe—just maybe—banks will announce quarterly results that finally bring a sense of closure to losses from loans they made during the credit boom. The current round of reports, which start coming out this week, certainly isn't expected to provide much relief. This will mark the 11th-straight quarter in which the industry has delivered worse results than the previous year, according to Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW), the financial-services specialty firm. Median earnings per share will be down more than 28% for the 171 banks, the firm estimates.

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