Cost-cutting efforts that once aided earnings hit a wall in the fourth quarter as noninterest expenses – particularly in compliance and tech – exceeded forecasts. Banks are still talking about expense control, but the results highlight the pressure to produce more revenue.

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After a surprising fall swoon, demand for commercial loans bounced back in December. Lenders, meanwhile, are paying much more attention to how falling energy prices could impact loan portfolios.

Sun Bancorp's CEO made a bold forecast, telling analysts this week that the company should be profitable throughout the year. Not bad for a bank that has lost $350 million since 2008

Banks have made progress cutting their exposure to risky home equity lines of credit, ahead of a key 10-year threshold when billions of dollars of them will reset to higher monthly payments. But there are some prominent exceptions, especially among regional banks.

Banks like Cullen/Frost and BOK Financial say they have found one, in the form of higher energy-sector loan balances last quarter and the chance to finance consolidation among oil firms. But such spurts may only mask longer-term problems.

First Horizon successfully lobbied for a lower exchange ratio for its purchase of TrustAtlantic in North Carolina after four commercial lenders left the seller to open an office for another bank.

Zions Bancorp. on Monday reported improvement in its net interest margin and noninterest revenue, along with progress in regards to the Volcker Rule and its funding mix. But at Zions, as at other banks, progress was overshadowed by concerns over falling oil prices.

Royal Bank of Canada sold its U.S. retail bank a few years ago to PNC. The company is back with a targeted play: City National, a Los Angeles bank that has built its business targeting the rich and working with Hollywood.

In a new detailed report, the Federal Reserve laid out four options for upgrading the creaky U.S. payment system. It raised questions about how far the Fed can, and should, go to bring about change.

Two Pennsylvania banks recently called off a mutual conversion/merger after the FDIC rejected it on policy grounds. The decision – and lack of guidance from the FDIC – could spell trouble for other banks with similar plans.

Associated Banc-Corp in Wisconsin reported a modest increase in quarterly earnings, and its CEO said it is actively seeking acquisition targets.

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