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How are big banks like ethanol? They wouldn’t be profitable without government subsidies.

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The U.S. banking industry had a banner year in 2012, the FDIC reported today, with the second-highest annual profit figures ever. Also, the banking industry is becoming more consolidated. So, all around good news for the big banks. How do they do it? One reason is that increased regulation creates a “moat” around the big banks, keeping out competition. Another reason: the assumption that...

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