Hooray for Boring Banks

They're making money again, the old-fashioned way. Good for them, and maybe us

Spencer Platt / Getty

A Bank of America billboard in Times Square, NYC.

Mere months after the financial system almost collapsed, banks are making money again. One after the other, they've reported big profits for the first quarter: $4.2 billion at Bank of America, $3 billion at Wells Fargo, $2.4 billion at JPMorgan Chase, $1.8 billion at Goldman Sachs, even $1.6 billion at Citigroup — which lost $18.7 billion in 2008.

Some of these windfalls were the chimerical sums of weird accounting conventions. Citi, for example, booked $2.5 billion in gains — without which it would have booked a quarterly loss — because investor fears that it would go under decreased the market value...

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