WASHINGTON -- For years since the crisis the sharp drop in loan-loss provisions had been a profit center. But banks found other ways to make money last quarter.

With loss provisions rising for the first time in five years, a sudden return of revenue picked up the slack, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said in its third-quarter update on industry health. Net operating revenue — helped significantly by higher loan sale gains — rose 4.8% from a year earlier, the first such increase in nearly five years.

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