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U.S. bank industry posts highest quarterly earnings since 2006

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. banking industry posted its highest earnings since 2006 in the third quarter, as revenue growth picked up and banks set aside less money to guard against losses, according to data released on Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The FDIC quarterly report showed the industry earned $37.6 billion in the third quarter, up $2.3 billion, or 6.6 percent, from a year earlier.

That was the highest quarterly total for the industry since the third quarter of 2006, the FDIC said.

"This was another quarter of gradual but steady recovery for FDIC-insured institutions," FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a statement.

Banks' net operating revenues rose from a year earlier by $4.9 billion, or 3 percent, in the third quarter.

The amount banks set aside to guard against losses fell $3.8 billion, or 20.6 percent, from a year earlier, the FDIC said.

(Reporting By Emily Stephenson; Editing by Andrea Ricci)