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Guaranty Bank's assets were roughly flat in the first quarter.
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Guaranty Bank's assets were roughly flat in the first quarter.

Quarterly earnings at FDIC-insured institutions fall 70%

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Commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported an aggregate first quarter net income total of $18.5 billion, a nearly 70% drop from a year earlier.

FDIC officials cited the economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic in a news release.

"The banking industry has been a source of strength for the economy in the first quarter despite unexpected shocks," FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams said in the release. "Although bank earnings were negatively affected by increases in loan loss provisions, banks effectively supported individuals and businesses during this downturn through lending and other critical financial services."

Springfield's two publicly traded banks, Great Southern Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: GSBC) and Guaranty Federal Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: GFED), each cited the pandemic when reporting first quarter results.

Great Southern Bank's profits dropped 15.6% to $14.9 million, while Guaranty Bank was roughly flat at $2.1 million. In its earnings release, Guaranty Bank President and CEO Shaun Burke pointed to "many positive events occurring each day at the bank," including the quick adaptation of employees to remote work and connections with small businesses.

The FDIC release indicates community banks – making up 4,681 of the 5,116 reporting institutions – reported an aggregate net income drop of nearly 21% to $4.8 billion.

So-called problem banks – those in danger of failing – increased to 54 institutions from 51 during the first three months of 2020, representing the first quarterly increase since 2011.

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