When the largest banks report second-quarter results this month, there will likely be less to brag about on the credit front, and tough questions to answer about the probable impact of financial reform.

The first quarter's numbers benefited heavily from robust trading revenue and increasing confidence, reflected in provisioning and chargeoffs, that consumer credit and asset values had reached a turning point. Some of the improvement was likely seasonal, and there are other indications that the improving credit that allowed banks to ease off of provisioning or even start tapping their capital buffers may be stalling.

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