ATLANTA - SunTrust Banks Inc. said Thursday that it expects a "modest increase" in nonperforming assets this year.

In its annual report, the company said the slowing economy is likely to lead to continuing commercial loan trouble in some sectors, which it did not identify.

SunTrust was among a collection of large banking companies hit last year with problems on loans to movie theater operators, retailers, and health-care companies.

The company said nonperforming assets last year rose 55% from a year earlier, to $428.3 million. The ratio of nonperforming assets to total loans plus other real estate owned climbed 17 basis points, to 0.59%.

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