How profitable a bank is affects its safety and soundness. Earnings can be retained by the bank, increasing its capital cushion, or be used to deal with problematic loans, potentially making the bank better able to withstand financial shocks. However, banks that are losing money are less able to do those things.
On Bankrate's earnings test, The Northern Trust Company scored 22 out of a possible 30, exceeding the national average of 15.12.
One important way to measure a bank's earnings is return on equity, or net income (profit, basically) divided by total equity. The most recent annualized quarterly return on equity for The Northern Trust Company was 12.94 percent, above the national average of 8.10 percent.
The bank recorded net income of $1.16 billion on total equity of $9.23 billion for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017. The bank reported an annualized return on average assets, or ROA, of 0.91 percent, below the 1 percent deemed satisfactory in accordance with industry standards and below the average for U.S. banks of 1.00 percent.