Banks Show Q1 Growth, But ‘Dismal’ Net Interest Margin

SNL Financial reported the banking industry’s net income rose to $39.83 billion in Q1/15 from $36.58 billion in Q4/14 and $37.25 billion in Q1/14, despite another plunge in the aggregate net interest margin.

SNL said the industry’s aggregate net interest margin sank below 3.00% for the first time since SNL began tracking bank regulatory data in 1991. The combined net interest margin for commercial banks and savings banks in Q1/15 was 2.97%, down from 3.07% in Q4/14 and 3.12% in Q1/14.

SNL noted that Q1/15 margin was calculated based on $105.70 billion in aggregate net interest income divided by $14.24 trillion in average earning assets, annualized. Average earning assets reached new heights in the first quarter while net interest income fell compared to the fourth quarter.

SNL said average earning assets totaled $14.24 trillion, up from $14.02 trillion in the prior quarter and $13.37 trillion in Q1/14. Net interest income declined to $105.70 billion from $107.66 billion in the prior quarter, but increased from $104.18 billion a year ago.

Loans grew to $8.36 trillion at March 31 from $8.31 trillion at December 31, 2014, and $7.93 trillion at March 31, 2014. Deposits also grew, increasing to $11.96 trillion from $11.76 trillion at the end of the prior quarter and $11.32 trillion at the end of the first quarter of 2014.

To view the full SNL Financial, click here.

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