Banking fees will never go down, that would make too much sense. Royal Bank of Canada set a new profit record for a Canadian bank by earning $4.7-billion in 2006, results driven by strong performance in every division. Again, they charge you to bank with them, then they charge you again to borrow from them, great system. Somebody is getting really really rich up top at the RBC.

The bank earning more than $1-billion a quarter in a mature market, and profit up 40 per cent this year plus growth in earnings per share in the coming year.

RBC’s retail branch network, the country’s largest, made the biggest contribution to its bottom line. Profit from the unit was $2.8-billion, up 21 per cent from last year.

RBC Dominion Securities, the investment banking arm, had a record year on the back of deal-making and trading fees, with $1.4-billion in earnings, up 85 per cent from $760-million in 2005.

The bank’s overall return on equity was 23.5-per-cent, and RBC exceeded performance targets in almost every major area.

In a note that reflects healthy bonus cheques for some employees, RBC explained that its non-interest expenses rose $729-million or 7-per-cent to reflect �higher variable compensation on stronger business performance.�

In addition to targeting 10-per-cent profit growth. Mr. Nixon committed the bank to 20-per-cent-plus return on equity and a dividend payout of 40 per cent to 50 per cent of profits in 2007. RBC raised dividends twice in 2006, but did not boost the payout in the fourth quarter.