Apparently confident about the future, major banks continue to reduce the amount of money set aside to cover loans that might not be repaid.

For the 19th time in the past 22 quarters, the nation's 22 largest banks effectively made net withdrawals from their loan-loss reserves. That is, first-quarter quarterly provisions to reserves did not cover chargeoffs, according to Raphael Soifer, the banking analyst at Brown Brothers, Harriman & Co., New York.

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