Minnesota's community banks continue the march upward after the housing collapse and Great Recession, posting incremental improvements in the third quarter.

Problem loans continue declining, and profitability is edging up, according to the Minneapolis Fed's bank conditions report that was released Tuesday.

A key highlight: After loan volumes posted 13 straight quarters of year-over-year declines, the total volume of outstanding loans rose in the third quarter by 0.4 percent. That's far from robust -- the 20-year median for year-over-year loan growth is 5.88 percent -- but it's a noteworthy turn.

"It's movement in the right direction, but it's sluggish, and it continues to be sluggish," said Ron Feldman, senior vice president at the Minneapolis Fed.

The Fed's quarterly summary covers 361 banks chartered in Minnesota. It doesn't include Wells Fargo Bank, U.S. Bank, TCF Bank or BMO Harris Bank, which are chartered elsewhere.