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Comment: Investors Should Distinguish Good Fee Income From Bad

DEC 30, 1999 2:00am ET

Fee income is not the sorcerer's stone. The growth of fee income as a proportion of bank revenue is a trend most often invoked by analysts to justify higher P/E valuations. Some analysts have a fetish for fee income. They argue that since it is not driven by credit and is not capital-intensive, fee revenue should command a higher multiple than traditional banking revenues. This is true as far as it goes, but I would argue that fee income is not the unmitigated positive that many analysts believe.

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