NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 08/08/12 -- Banking stocks have performed admirably despite facing growing concerns of a major global economic slowdown. The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) is up more than 14 percent year-to-date -- showing renewed investor optimism in the sector. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Banking Industry and provides equity research on Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) and U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB).
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Results from a Federal Reserve survey, released earlier this week, have shown that U.S. banks have relaxed their lending standards on credit cards and lending for autos and commercial real estate in the second quarter. Despite facing an economy with 8.3 percent unemployment, U.S. banks are lending the most since the end of the recession.
There have been banks that have "reported that their business had increased due to decreased competition from European banks and that they remain willing to accommodate additional such business," the Fed said.
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Wells Fargo reported record net income of $4.6 billion, or $0.82 per diluted common share, for second quarter 2012, up from $3.9 billion, or $0.70 per share, for second quarter 2011, and up from $4.2 billion, or $0.75 per share, for first quarter 2012. Shares of the company have gained over 23 percent for the year.
U.S. Bancorp, with $353 billion in assets as of June 30, 2012, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest commercial bank in the United States. Net income attributable to U.S. Bancorp was $1,415 million for the second quarter of 2012, 17.6 percent higher than the $1,203 million for the second quarter of 2011 and 5.8 percent higher than the $1,338 million for the first quarter of 2012. Shares of the company are up over 20 percent for the year.
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