U.S. Banks Earned $12 Billion in 1st Quarter: The earnings were fueled by higher net interest income, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Ricki Helfer said. However, rising credit card losses and personal bankruptcies are cause for concern, Helfer said. Filings for personal bankruptcies reached a record 253,000 in the first quarter of 1996. Banks charged off $2.2 billion in credit card losses in the first quarter, up from $1.35 billion in the same quarter of last year. Commercial banks' first-quarter earnings were less than the record $13.8 billion set in the third quarter last year but more than the $11.1 billion in earnings posted in the first quarter of 1995. Helfer said prospects for the banking industry are excellent for the next two years.