Bankers' Touch

Boomlet for moneymen

High and volatile interest rates are not very helpful to most businesses, but many banks seem to make out just fine when money is expensive. That at least is one interpretation of the industry's impressive third-quarter earnings reports. After a ho-hum second quarter, profits have perked up; and for 56 of the nation's largest commercial banks, earnings have climbed by a brisk 18.2% over the same period last year, one of the largest such gains of any major business sector in the economy.

The surge was by no means uniform, but...

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