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News Summary: US 1Q bank profits up 15.8 pct.

The Associated Press

BANK PROFITS UP: Profits at U.S. banks jumped 15.8 percent in the January-March period, reaching $40.3 billion, the highest level ever for a single quarter.

DRIVING PROFIT: Bank earnings were buoyed by greater income from fees and reduced amounts set aside to cover bad loans.

INTEREST INCOME DOWN: Bank profits from interest charged fell 2.2 percent to $104 billion. Interest income is falling in large part because interest rates have been near record lows. As a result, banks have sought more revenue from fees, despite complaints from customers and consumer advocates.