FirstMerit Corporation

$FMER - Nasdaq - Banks and Thrifts
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Regional Banks Fourth Quarter Earnings Driven by Loan Growth

NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 01/25/13 -- Strong earnings from regional banks have helped them outperform their larger counterparts in recent weeks. The SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF (KRE) has gained 2.4 percent in the past week, while the broader SPDR KBW Bank ETF (KBE) has gained 1.9 percent over the same period. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Regional Banking Industry and provides equity research on Firstmerit Corp. (NASDAQ: FMER) and KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY).

Access to the full company reports can be found at:

www.RDInvesting.com/FMER
www.RDInvesting.com/KEY

Loan growth has been a key driver for regional banks' earnings in recent quarters. An increased number of smaller business loans helped regional banks offset the low spreads and profit margins the larger banks face. Another key factor for growth has been the recent refinancing boom.

"We've benefited from a refinancing boom and that has augmented our results fairly significantly," said Dan Poston, Fifth Third's chief financial officer. "The bigger banks have more onerous regulatory concerns, whether that's the capital they are required to hold, or new regulations that impact their trading or derivatives books."

Research Driven Investing releases regular market updates on the Regional Banking Industry so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at www.RDInvesting.com and get exclusive access to our numerous stock reports and industry newsletters.

FirstMerit is a diversified financial services company with assets of $14.6 billion as of September 30, 2012 and 196 banking offices and 204 ATM locations in Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and Chicago, Illinois areas. The company reported a net income of $38.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to a net income of $30.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

As one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, Key has assets of approximately $87 billion. "We had a good finish to 2012," said Chairman and CEO Beth E. Mooney. "Our full-year results reflect success in executing on our strategies to grow loans, add additional payment capabilities to our product line in the form of credit cards and improved mobile banking, and moving forward on our efficiency initiative."

Research Driven Investing has not been compensated by any of the above-mentioned publicly traded companies. Research Driven Investing is compensated by other third party organizations for advertising services. We act as an independent research portal and are aware that all investment entails inherent risks. Please view the full disclaimer at:
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Source: Research Driven Investing

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