Big banks like Citigroup ( C) and JPMorgan seemed to be heading for a 6% sequential decline in revenues, according to Deutsche Bank's data. While rising long-term rates will eventually be a boon to the banks, "higher medium/long term rates are a slight positive but short term rates are down 1-2bps--so net interest margins are likely to remain under some pressure," O'Connor wrote. "On the flip side, credit and expenses are likely to again come in better than expected," he added.

Rafferty Capital Markets analyst Richard Bove in a note to clients on Wednesday took a longer-term view, writing that banks balance sheets have been dramatically strengthened, and that "the earnings capacity of the industry balance sheet has improved meaningfully. In fact, when viewed against history the earnings capacity of the industry is near post Depression and WWII highs."

Bove called the strengthening U.S. economy "a wind blowing at the back of bank earnings," and added that "The balance sheets will be unlocked allowing the funds to flow into the economy driving earnings higher."

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-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

>Contact by Email.

Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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