NEW YORK —
The banking industry collectively made $233.1 billion in profits in 2019, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said Tuesday, the industry’s second-most profitable year ever.
The slight drop in profits from 2018 is due to the drop in interest rates, which happened in the second half of last year. The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate twice, in an effort to shore up the U.S. economy, which was facing difficulties from the U.S.-China trade war and a slowing manufacturing sector.
The FDIC’s look at the banking industry reflects a healthy — and incredibly profitable — industry. The number of “problem banks,” or banks that are at risk of failing, fell to 51 in the fourth quarter. That’s the lowest number of problem banks since 2006, right before the financial crisis.