The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released a glowing quarterly report on commercial banks and savings institutions in the United States. The main talking point was profits were up 27% to $56 billion this year. Executives described increasing net income, loan balances, and interest margins as “exciting.” Unfortunately, $6.6 billion of the profits were due to tax law changes. The net profits were made even larger due to fourth-quarter write-downs in 2017, also attributable to new tax laws. The write-downs brought profits down to $25 billion, an abysmal showing without parallel since the Great Recession. In addition, the number of institutions on the “Problem Bank List” is down by three; the list lost six and added three. But the assets of the problem banks, which the FDIC does not name, more than tripled during the quarter to $60 billion. This not only sets the recovery back three years, it is an increase not seen since 2008. The FDIC acknowledged increasing interest rates are spurring banks to invest in higher-risk, longer-term assets.