Analysts last week praised banks for their ability to make money in a climate where loan growth is sluggish at best.

Mellon Bank Corp., a $42.6 billion-asset Pittsburgh company and the last big bank to report at week's end, exemplified the trend. Fueled by fee businesses, such as trust and investment management, Mellon reported income of $179 million, a 9% increase from a year ago. Earnings per share for the quarter were $1.34, which met analysts' projections.

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