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Fifth Third, JPMorgan Lead Big Bank Revenue Winners: KBW

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Third-quarter earnings season has been a very rough one for many of the nation's large-cap banks, but there are several that have managed to grow revenue-per-share, depending on how you look at the data.

"It is no secret that revenue growth in the large cap bank industry is tough to come by given net interest margin compression, modest loan growth, declining mortgage banking income, etc.," according to KBW analyst Christopher Mutascio. But most of the big banks have been using "cash to aggressively repurchase shares," and if one-time items are excluded, the analyst has identified two large-cap banks that showed year-over-year growth in revenue-per-share:

First is Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) of Cincinnati. The company's core third-quarter revenue was $1.521 billion, declining from $1.571 billion in the third quarter of 2012, according to Mutascio. But Fifth Third's share buybacks over the past year reduced its average share count to 888 million in the third quarter from 945 million a year earlier. Therefore, the company's third-quarter revenue came to $1.71 a share, increasing 3% from $1.66 a share, a year earlier.

Fifth Third reported third-quarter net income available to common shareholders of $421 million, or 47 cents a share, increasing from $354 million, or 39 cents a share, during the third quarter of 2012. Both sets of results included one-time items related to the company's investment in Vantiv (VNTV). Please see TheStreet's earnings coverage for more on Fifth Third's third-quarter results.

The other large-cap bank showing year-over-year growth in revenue-per-share was Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) of Columbus, Ohio. The company's third-quarter revenue declined to $682 million from $692 million a year earlier. But Huntington's third-quarter average share count declined to 841 million from 864 million in the third quarter of 2012. So the company's revenue-per-share grew 1.1% to 81 cents in the third quarter from 80 cents a year earlier.

Huntington reported third-quarter earnings of $178.5 million, or 20 cents a share, increasing $167.8 million, or 19 cents a share, during the third quarter of 2012. Please see TheStreet's earnings coverage for details on the company's results and strategy.

Stripping Out the Mortgage Decline

In a note to clients on Tuesday, Mutascio wrote that the large-cap banks were "giving up interest income on earning assets to buy back shares." It may have been worth it. Most of the big banks are continuing to see pressure on net interest margins from the Federal Reserve's policy of keeping the short-term federal funds rate in a range of zero to 0.25%, since late 2008.

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