The number of financial institutions at risk of failure dropped for the fourth consecutive quarter, falling from 813 to 772.[IMAGE]
The ""FDIC"":http://www.fdic.gov/ reported Thursday that the decline signals the smallest number of ""problem"" banks since yearend 2009, with total assets waning from $319 billion to $292 billion.
The much-weakened Deposit Insurance Fund saw its first-quarter net worth rise to $15.3 billion, up from $11.8 billion over the fourth quarter last year. Insured deposits grew by an estimated 0.7 percent over the first quarter.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""In summary, indicators of financial strength and asset quality continued to improve in the first quarter, but the process of recovery is clearly still ongoing,"" FDIC Acting Chairman ""Martin Gruenberg"":http://www.fdic.gov/about/learn/board/board.html#gruenberg said in a statement.
Commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the FDIC rebounded with an aggregate profit of $35.3 billion over the first quarter last year, reflecting $6.6 billion in improvements from $28.8 billion in net income for the industry.
The FDIC said that growth signaled the eleventh straight quarter for year-over-year earnings increases, even while loan balances slumped by $56.3 billion after a three-quarter climb.
Roughly 68 percent of all insured institutions offered up improvements in their quarterly net income from the year before. More institutions said that their net losses fell to 10.3 percent from 15.7 percent from a year earlier.
The average return on investments for banks ticked up to 1.02 percent from 0.86 percent last year.
""The improved financial condition of the industry has not yet translated into sustained loan growth,"" Gruenberg added. ""We will continue to watch this indicator closely.""