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For most banks, business is about looking after other peoples' money. Loans and deposits books usually dominate the balance sheet. Earnings are often driven primarily by interest rates as many banks pay very little or no interest on deposits. As interest rates in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific have been at depressed levels for over 10 years now, the profits of the banking sector have been constrained accordingly. However, banks in common with other commercial businesses are expected to deliver continuous growth in earnings if they are to satisfy shareholder expectations. Growth opportunities in recent years have come from new markets, such as Eastern Europe; from recovering economies, such as Latin America and Southeast Asia; and from the economic transformation of India and China.
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