Bank profits grow, lending doesn’t keep pace

Tax cuts, deregulation and a buoyant economy were always expected to drive profits higher at most American banks in the latest quarter.

But would banks, taking their cue from rising economic optimism and a friendlier White House, significantly increase their lending? On Friday, earnings reports from four of the United States’ biggest banks showed scant evidence of such a revival.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and PNC all reported another quarter of healthy profits, most of which will end up in shareholders’ pockets. San Francisco’s Wells Fargo & Co., operating under regulatory constraints after a series of scandals, reported a decline in profit.