Whether reporting a profit or a loss, this earnings season bankers have had at least one thing in common: uncertain outlooks for the industry for this year and beyond.

After reporting that U.S. Bancorp's fourth-quarter profit dropped 65% from a year earlier, Richard Davis, its chief executive, said that the economic conditions behind the industry's struggles will remain, and that looking at conditions beyond the next 90 days is a dubious practice.

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