08/28/2012 10:04 EDT | Updated 10/28/2012 05:12 EDT

FDIC: US bank earnings rose in Q2 to $34.5 billion; bank loans to consumers increased

WASHINGTON - U.S. bank earnings rose 21 per cent in the April-June quarter and lending to consumers increased, adding to evidence that the industry is strengthening four years after the financial crisis.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says the banking industry earned $34.5 billion in the second quarter, up from $28.5 billion in the second quarter of 2011.

About 63 per cent of U.S. banks reported improved earnings as they were able to set aside less for losses on loans. And the number of troubled banks fell for the fifth straight quarter.

Banks became less cautious about lending. Bank loans to consumers increased in most categories, including credit card loans and home mortgages, reversing a first-quarter decline.