So far, the slowing economy has been good news for bankers who saw potential interest rate increases as a major threat to their stock valuations. But as the Federal Reserve's series of interest rate hikes begins to slow the economy, concerns about asset quality are moving to center stage.

"A sluggish economy" not only would diminish loan demand, analyst David Stumpf of A.G. Edwards wrote in a comment on the banking industry last Thursday, but also "could put additional pressure on credit quality."

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