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KeyCorp

(KEY) - Get KeyCorp Report

earned $163 million, or 19 cents a share, from its ongoing businesses in the third quarter, handily topping analysts' estimates and more than tripling its second-quarter profit.

The Cleveland-based bank's third-quarter profit compares to a gain of 6 cents a share in the second quarter and a loss of 50 cents in the third quarter of 2009.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had been looking for KeyCorp to earn 3 cents a share.

KeyCorp benefited from higher pre-provision net revenue and by setting aside less capital to cover potential losses in its loan portfolio. The bank cited improving credit quality across most of its loan portfolios and higher capital ratios vs. the previous quarter.

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The bank has opened 35 new branches in the first nine months of the year, and expects to open five more in 2010.

"Our third quarter results reflect a higher net interest margin, continued credit quality improvement, well-controlled expenses and improvements in several fee based businesses," read a statement from KeyCorp CEO Henry Meyer.

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Written by Dan Freed in New York

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