NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -08/08/12)- Banking stocks have performed admirably despite facing growing concerns of a major global economic slowdown. The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) is up more than 14 percent year-to-date -- showing renewed investor optimism in the sector. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Banking Industry and provides equity research on Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Citigroup Inc. (C).
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Results from a Federal Reserve survey, released earlier this week, have shown that U.S. banks have relaxed their lending standards on credit cards and lending for autos and commercial real estate in the second quarter. Despite facing an economy with 8.3 percent unemployment, U.S. banks are lending the most since the end of the recession.
There have been banks that have "reported that their business had increased due to decreased competition from European banks and that they remain willing to accommodate additional such business," the Fed said.
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Bank of America extended approximately $107 billion in credit in the second quarter of 2012. This included $68.4 billion in commercial non-real estate loans, $18.0 billion in residential first mortgages, $8.2 billion in commercial real estate loans, $4.3 billion in U.S. consumer and small business card, $930 million in home equity products and $6.7 billion in other consumer credit.
Citigroup reported net income for the second quarter 2012 of $2.9 billion, or $0.95 per diluted share, on revenues of $18.6 billion. Vikram Pandit, Citi's Chief Executive Officer, said: "Our core businesses performed well in a difficult environment and are generating solid returns." Shares of the company are up over 10 percent for the year.
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