Among other large regional lenders, two stand out with stronger third-quarter loan growth. However, the comparisons are not necessarily fair, considering their differing geographic footprints. U.S. Bancorp ( USB) of Minneapolis on Wednesday reported core loan growth of 2.2% during the third quarter from the second quarter, with average loans growing 7.5% year over year. Huntington Bancshares ( HBAN) of Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday reported sequential loan growth of 2% during the third quarter, with average loans growing 5% year over year. "BB&T posted solid results in a challenging environment this quarter," said CEO Kelly King in the company's earnings release. "Our 7% year-over-year growth in adjusted earnings was driven by a substantial improvement in credit quality to the best levels in almost six years," he said. King said that BB&T was "pleased to achieve 3% annualized loan growth in a sluggish economic environment," and added that "While average total deposits were lower this quarter, noninterest-bearing deposits grew 8% annualized consistent with our mix improvement goals." BB&T's coveted noninterest bearing deposits totaled $34.846 billion as of Sept .30 and made up 27% of total deposits as of Sept. 30, increasing from 24% a year earlier. Jefferies analyst Ken Usdin, in a note to clients following the earnings release, called BB&T's third-quarter results "a bit soft," and predicted Thursday's market reaction would "be dictated by management's commentary on the expense trajectory" during the earnings conference call with analysts," which started at 8 a.m. EDT. Usdin wrote that BB&T's "affiliate restructuring, along with lower future mortgage-related and regulatory costs, should provide a path for additional improvement over the next few quarters." He rates BB&T a "hold," with a price target of $36.00. BB&T's shares were down 1% in premarket trading to $33.92. BBT data by YCharts Interested in more on BB&T? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.