WASHINGTON -- The farm crisis of the 1980s receded further in 1991 as agricultural banks increased their earnings by about 10%, to $1.7 billion, the American Bankers Association said.

Improved loan quality, lower loan losses, and wider interest margins sent farm banks' return on assets to 1.04% - the highest since the 1.14% of 1982 and almost twice the 0.53% registered last year by the banking industry as a whole.

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