A surge in earnings by the biggest banks at the end of last year made 2011 the most profitable time for the industry in five years. More earnings and fewer troubled banks suggest the industry has healed since the 2008 financial crisis.
Banks received some long-awaited news last week: the Fed capped the fees they can charge to retailers on debit card transactions at roughly 24 cents per transaction, down from an average of 44 cents. It was better than they'd feared: The initial proposal was a 12 cent cap. But how will all those pennies add up for consumers?