CINCINNATI — Fifth Third Bancorp said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it is “cautious” about the second half of 2001 because of a worsening economic environment and turbulent financial markets.

Fifth Third also discussed its first quarter in the filing, saying that it expected credit quality to remain stable from the fourth quarter but also expected a “moderate” rise in nonperforming assets for the quarter and year. The company said it has added “fewer than 10” midsize commercial credits, totaling $15 million to $20 million, to nonaccrual status in the first quarter.

Fifth Third said it would continue to lessen its exposure to interest rate fluctuations by selling and securitizing assets.

The company also said it expects to complete the divestiture of out-of-market residential mortgage origination and subprime origination activities in the second quarter and that it plans to discontinue “minor” businesses in commercial banking.

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