These one-off hits have two main causes. First, many banks carry “deferred tax assets” (DTAs) on their balance-sheets, largely past losses—a legacy, for many, of the financial crisis—carried forward to set against future taxes.
Second, cash repatriated from abroad will be taxed at 15.5%—below the main rate, giving banks an incentive to bring it home.
Regional lenders, with little business abroad, should gain more than Wall Street firms. They also have lower DTAs, meaning less pain now. But big banks, despite the chunky write-downs, should benefit too.