Is Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCH) putting tougher times behind it? Investors took a positive view of the brokerage firm's quarterly figures today, despite the difficult climate in the online brokerage industry at large. Considering that Schwab has had a really difficult time recently, it's likely tempting to use words like "turnaround" when considering Schwab's current situation.

Schwab said its second-quarter net profit increased 65% to $186 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, while revenues increased 5.1% to $1.09 billion. Pre-tax profit margin bolted to 27.9%, compared with 16.3% in the same quarter last year.

The brokerage's total client assets increased 11%. Trading activity increased 24%, although trading revenues decreased 28% because of price cuts. Those who have been following the industry are accustomed to the price wars that have been common as brokerages try to woo customers from their rivals.

In comparison, at this time last year Schwab was up against some tough conditions. Its net income fell by 10%, and daily average revenue trades, or DART -- the key measure for commission-generating trades -- dropped by 20%. That was also when CEO David Pottruck was ousted and retired founder Charles Schwab took the reins once again. (Read a flashback to last summer here.)

Back in April, when Schwab reported first-quarter earnings, it was still showing signs of its rough patch over the last couple of years, with revenues down and earnings flat. However, longtime Fool Rick Munarriz pointed out some bright spots, and reasons why Schwab might have been a good stock to start considering at that time.

There's always the point that being a survivor as the industry consolidates may make Schwab a big winner in the long run. You're likely already aware that rival Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD) plans to acquire TorontoDominion's (NYSE:TD) TD Waterhouse brokerage, and E*Trade (NYSE:ET) remains a strong contender as well. With all the consolidation that's going on, Charles Schwab still insists it has no interest in being part of that trend.

I find the industry a bit daunting, given the rapid pace of consolidation and the cutthroat price competition. On the other hand, I do see that there's a lot to like about the industry, as increasingly Internet-savvy folks become less and less mystified by investing and more self-directed.

Indeed, there's a good argument for the idea that the worst may be over for Schwab. It's been a tough time, but it's beginning to look as if perseverance is paying off.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.