WASHINGTON — The banking industry can breathe a sigh of relief that lawmakers avoided fiscal disaster with their last-minute tax deal Tuesday, but the piecemeal plan still leaves unresolved a host of battles sure to affect financial services companies in the future.

The agreement preserved two key tax benefits for mortgage borrowers: an exemption from paying taxes on mortgage forgiveness triggered by loan workouts or short sales, and a deduction for certain property mortgage insurance premiums. But the greatest benefit for banks of the "fiscal-cliff" bill, passed by the House late Tuesday, may just be that the economy escaped the tax hikes and spending cuts that would have resulted if Congress had done nothing.

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