Federally insured banks and savings institutions saw fourth-quarter earnings plummet 83 percent -- their lowest levels since 1991 -- and failed to boost loss reserves as fast as borrowers became delinquent on loans, the FDIC reported today. Fourth-quarter net income fell to $5.8 billion at 8,500 banks and savings and loans insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., down from $35.2 billion a year ago. For the year, net income fell 27 percent, to $105.5 billion, as banks more than doubled loan loss provisions to $68.2 billion. One of four insured institutions with assets of more than $10 billion reported a net loss for the fourth quarter, and the percentage that were unprofitable in 2007 -- 11.6 percent -- was the highest since 1991. At the end of 2007, there were 76 FDIC-insur...
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