Fifth Third's Credit Trends Improving

Fifth Third Bancorp narrowed its fourth-quarter loss amid improving credit trends.
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(Updated with stock price movement.)

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

) --

Fifth Third Bancorp

(FITB) - Get Report

narrowed its fourth-quarter loss amid improving credit trends.

Fifth Third reported a net loss of $98 million compared with a net loss a year earlier of $2.14 billion.

The loss available to common shareholders was $160 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $2.2 billion, or $3.78 a share, the previous year.

A Thomson Reuters poll of analysts predicted a net loss of 31 cents a share.

"Fourth-quarter credit trends were better than expected and showed encouraging signs of improvement," said Kevin Kabat, Fifth Third Bancorp's CEO, in a statement. "Net charge-offs were $708 million, down $48 million from the third quarter, with improvement in both commercial and consumer loan losses."

Kabat also expects net charge-offs to decline again in the first quarter, reflecting relatively stable consumer trends and commercial real estate losses.

Fifth Third's net interest margin expanded by 0.12 percentage points in the fourth quarter to 3.55% from the previous quarter.

Fourth-quarter results also included the benefit of a $20 million pretax mark-to-market adjustment on warrants related to the Fifth Third Processing Solutions joint venture.

Fifth Third expects credit and operating results to improve further in the first quarter. The bank said its aggressive actions to address the issues presented by the current cycle will continue to serve Fifth Third well as the economic environment stabilizes and improves.

Fifth Third stock has surged by 6.8% at $12.10 at the start of the trading session.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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