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Some banks appear to be aggressively pursuing loan growth at the expense of profits these days. But banks like M&T and Westamerica say they are slowing things down, hoping the caution will translate into better credit quality in the long run.

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Comerica reported strong loan growth across many of its business lines in the first quarter, but it's the bank's exposure to the energy sector that continues to draw the most attention from analysts and investors. Energy-Related Exposure Surfaces in Pacwest's Earnings.

Citigroup faced many of the same earnings headwinds as other large banks — lower revenue and lending — but still surprised observers with a strong first quarter Thursday. Its North American consumer business was a big reason why.

The high-flying sector is primed for a correction, industry leaders said this week. Declining credit standards are one of the top concerns.
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Strategic acquisitions in payments and investment banking helped the Cleveland company absorb compressed margins and lackluster results elsewhere. Management also vowed to keep cutting costs, including ongoing efforts to pare back its branch network.

Bank of America reported its best quarterly profit in more than a year, but with revenue declining and expense-reduction slowing, it is unclear where the company can turn to boost earnings. Similar questions are plaguing many banks as the latest earnings season unfolds.

JPMorgan Chase reported strong loan growth and higher utilization in its commercial banking unit, which serves midsize businesses. It could set the stage for others to report similar results. Still, low interest rates are muffling the benefits.

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who sits on Lending Club's board, said in a speech Wednesday that such technology-focused marketplace lenders should be given a fair chance to compete.

The San Francisco bank has produced enough growth in mortgages, C&I and other areas and made other moves to offset low rates. It is a hopeful example for mortgage-heavy banks and other lenders battling tight margins.

Cryptocurrency companies and legal marijuana businesses now routinely pay thousands a month for access to basic banking services, which some think reflects their lack of other options more than their real risks.

A rigorous job-training program run by the nonprofit Year Up is helping the likes of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase fill important technical positions. It's also helping lift young adults out of poverty and into meaningful careers.

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