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Despite COVID-19, Nebraska's banks had record profits in 2020
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Despite COVID-19, Nebraska's banks had record profits in 2020

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After a slow start to the year, the state's banks saw a record second half of 2020, which propelled them to another profit record.

According to data released Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Nebraska's banks made a combined $297 million in the fourth quarter, the second-highest quarterly total ever, exceeded only by the $309 million they made in the third quarter.

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That $606 million earned in the last half of the year boosted the full-year profit for the state's banks to $1.032 billion. That eclipsed the record of $1.007 billion in 2018.

That was a much better performance than banks nationally, which saw their fourth-quarter income climb more than 9% from a year ago but had full-year income that was down 36.5% from 2019.

"While banking industry income for the full year 2020 declined from full year 2019 levels, banks remained resilient in fourth quarter 2020, consistent with the improving economic outlook," FDIC Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams said in a statement.

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Community banks, a category into which all the banks based in Nebraska except First National Bank of Omaha fall, did considerably better as a whole nationally, with profit growing more than 21% in 2020 over 2019.

The nine banks based in Lincoln also had a successful year. Their combined profit in 2020 was slightly more than $193.3 million, up from a little more than $174.1 million in 2019.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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