06/01/2016 06:30 EDT | Updated 06/02/2017 01:12 EDT

US bank earnings dip 2 per cent in 1Q amid low oil prices

WASHINGTON — The impact of low oil prices has continued to hobble the finances of U.S. banks, which posted increased loan losses in the first quarter driven by a huge jump in delinquent energy loans.

U.S. bank earnings dipped 2 per cent in the first three months of the year to $39.1 billion from $39.8 billion a year earlier, data issued Wednesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed.

Banks posted the biggest quarterly increase — 65.1 per cent — in commercial and industrial loans that are 90 days or more past due since the first quarter 1987. A large portion of the problem loans came in the energy sector, where low oil prices hurt oil and gas producers and made it harder for them to repay their loans.

Big banks were most affected.