The major banks in the US supposedly bounced back from the brink of disaster this quarter. On paper it looks like they made a profit. The thing is its mostly just smoke and mirrors, a parlor trick. They sell things from one part of their business to the other, and call it a profit. They consider bailout money to be profit too. These tricks wouldn’t have worked, except they got Congress to change the accounting laws.
When you get a bunch of lawyers and bookkeepers trying to fix the economy, they changes the laws and “fix” the books
This article from bloomburg basically sums it up.