Bring on the bank earnings.

Actually, investors holding shares of big U.S. banks such as Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo can be forgiven for feeling a bit nervous this week, as they are all set to enter the quarterly earnings confessional.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley follow next week.

Expectations, to put it mildly, are low, with analysts calling for a 20% drop in average earnings from the six biggest U.S. banks.

The reasons are familiar to anyone who has followed the business headlines: tougher regulations following the financial crisis; gyrating stock markets, which have taken a bite out of trading volumes; and continued low interest rates, which keep a lid on loan income.

But it isn't all doom and gloom, particularly beyond America's borders, where some banks have strong prospects.

Case in point: Royal Bank of Canada (RY) - Get Royal Bank of Canada Report , our northern neighbor's largest bank by assets, which is expected to post a profit of C$1.65 for the fiscal second quarter ending April 30, up from C$1.63 a year earlier.

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The bank, whose stock is one of the profitable trades we recommend now, was founded in Nova Scotia, in 1864. Now based in Toronto, its reach is global, with a staff of 80,000 and operations in 37 countries, including the United States.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo are a holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells BAC? Learn more now.

When most American investors think of Canada, they think of natural resources, principally oil and gas. And it is true that RBC, like most U.S. banks, has exposure to the battered energy sector, but these commitments are manageable.

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For example, the bank's drawn loans to energy companies amount to about C$8.4 billion or just 1.6% of its total loan book, which is lower than many of its U.S. counterparts, including BofA, at 2%, and Wells Fargo, at 1.9%.

RBC also has a handle on its C$13.7 billion of undrawn commitments -- credit lines and the like -- to companies in Canada's oil patch. It is now in the midst of its biannual review of its energy portfolio and has cut the amount of credit available to some oil and gas firms by 15% to 20% because it uses their reserves as collateral, and oil's swoon has cut their value.

Meanwhile, RBC is zeroing in on fast-growing areas of its business, such as wealth management, where profits jumped 29% in the fiscal first quarter. To further fuel that growth, the bank recently closed its biggest-ever acquisition: City National for $5.4 billion in cash and stock.

City National is L.A.'s biggest bank and has long been known as the "bank to the stars," counting not only Hollywood celebrities but entertainment companies and Silicon Valley technology firms as clients.

Its wealthy clientele fits nicely with RBC's wealth management operation, which has 300,000 customers in the United States. That bigger U.S. footprint also comes at a time when the U.S. economy is growing more quickly than Canada's.

RBC's broad base will keep supporting its earnings growth and dividend increases.

In the past five years, the bank has boosted its payout by 62% in Canadian dollars. The shares yield 4.3%, higher than any of six-largest U.S. banks.

To top it off, this under-appreciated northern colossus boasts a forward price-earnings ratio of just 8.2, which compares favorably with JPMorgan Chase (9.2) and Wells Fargo (10.4).

The bottom line? RBC is a rare oasis of calm in the turbulent banking business, and it is worthy of investors' attention.

Bank of America and Wells Fargo are a holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells BAC? Learn more now.

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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.