Times Staff Reports

Where the Money Is: California's largest banks and savings and loans report their quarterly earnings this week. These are numbers some analysts use as a measure of the state's economic strength. Loan quality at California thrifts is the strongest it has been in years, and commercial banks will start seeing the benefit of lower deposit insurance premiums. Among the large banks that have already reported their quarterly numbers, earnings have been stronger than analysts expected, because of surging loan growth, fee income and, in some cases, profits from trading. Reporting earnings today is First Interstate Bancorp. Wells Fargo & Co. and H.F. Ahmanson & Co., parent of Home Savings Bank, report Tuesday, and BankAmerica Corp. and Great Western Financial Corp. follow on Wednesday.

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