Nebraska banks reported their lowest earnings since 2013, although the decline was largely due to the federal tax code changes that took effect this year.

For 2017, the state's banks reported a combined profit of $749 million, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., down more than 20 percent from the record $908 million reported in 2016 and the lowest yearly total since $718 million in 2013.

For the fourth quarter, the state's banks earned $146 million, which was the lowest total for that period since 2011 and a drop of nearly 30 percent from the same period in 2016.

The decline in fourth-quarter profits was due largely to the tax changes spurred by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, which led many banks to take one-time tax-related charges that cut into their earnings.

The one-time charges were mostly due to the reduced value of tax-deferred assets.

Nationally, banks saw their fourth-quarter earnings decline more than 40 percent and their earnings for the year drop 3.5 percent.

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“One-time charges resulting from the new tax law resulted in banks reporting lower net income in the fourth quarter and full-year 2017,” FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg said in a news release. "Despite the decline in net income, the banking industry continued to show steady improvement."

Lincoln-based banks generally did better than the state and nation as a whole, both for the whole year and for the fourth quarter.

For the year, the nine banks headquartered in Lincoln had a combined profit of $152.3 million, a 2.7 percent increase over 2016. However, those numbers were skewed by the two largest banks, Pinnacle Bank and Union Bank & Trust, having strong years. The other seven banks all made less money in 2017 than in 2016.

For the fourth quarter, Lincoln banks made $37.6 million, 11 percent less than in the fourth quarter of 2016. Only two banks saw year-over-year profit gains for the quarter, while one bank lost money and another broke even.

Several banks reported fourth-quarter income tax liabilities that were double, triple or even quadruple what they had last year.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


Business editor/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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