(Reuters) - The U.S. banking industry in 2012 recorded its highest earnings since before the 2007-2009 financial crisis, according to data released on Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
The FDIC said the industry's full-year earnings were the second-highest on record at $141.3 billion, an increase over 2011 of $22.9 billion, or 19.3 percent. But the head of the agency said growth would probably slow this year, and warned that bank profits could dive if Congress does not reach a federal budget agreement that prevents automatic cuts.
Bank earnings peaked in 2006 at $145.2 billion.
Much of the earnings growth in 2012 came from banks reducing the amount they set aside in case of losses on loans, the FDIC said. Banks also saw gains on loan sales and higher servicing income.