Fifth Third
Fifth Third Bancorp posted loss of $2.18 billion, or $3.82 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $16 million, or 3 cents a share a year earlier.

The $116 billion-asset company performance fell short of Wall Street estimates of 1 cent a share, according to Thomson Reuters.

The Cincinnati banking company was weighed down by a $965 million goodwill impairment charge and an $800 million writedown related to a portfolio of troubled commercial real estate loans in Michigan and Florida.

Loan loss provisions rose 153% from the third quarter and 729% from a year earlier to $2.36 billion.

Fifth Third sold $3.4 billion worth preferred shares in the quarter to government in the quarter under the U.S. Treasury's Capital Purchase Program.—Matthew MonksKeyCorp
KeyCorp said Thursday it swung to a fourth-quarter loss of $554 million, or $1.13 a share, compared with a year earlier profit of $25 million, or 6 cents a share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast a loss of 2 cents a share loss.

The Cleveland company's loan-loss provision soared 64% from a year earlier, to $594 million. Net charge-offs of average loans from continuing operations jumped to 1.77% from 0.67%, while nonperforming assets rose to 2.36% from 1.69%, as it continued to suffer steep losses on soured loans to homebuilders.

KeyCorp's revenue dropped 16% from a year earlier, to $1.05 billion.

"There is weakness in residential markets really pretty much across the board to one degree or another," Chuck Hyle, chief risk officer, said on a conference call with analysts Thursday. "We have seen some migration in broader consumer and commercial portfolios, very much driven, I believe, by the economy and the rather dramatic shift the economy took in the fourth quarter."

Huntington Bancshares Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss of $417.3 million, or $1.20 a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $239.3 million, or 65 cents a share.

The loss deepened on problems linked to its 2007 acquisition of subprime mortgage lender Franklin Credit Management. Huntington posted 81 cents a share in chargeoffs tied to Franklin.

Excluding special items, analysts on average had forecast a profit of 20 cents a share.

Also on Thursday, the Columbus banking company cut its dividend from 13 cents a share to a penny.

"Although painful," slashing the dividend "was the right thing to do, given the economic environment," Stephen Steinour, who replaced Thomas Hoaglin as Huntington's chief executive last week, said in an interview Thursday. "The stance we've taken is one of caution."—Kevin DobbsM&T Bank Corp.
M&T Bank Corp. in Buffalo said Thursday that fourth quarter net income rose 57% from a year earlier, to $102 million, or $92 cents a share.

The $65.8 billion-asset M&T's earnings were reduced by 24 cents a share by an OTI charge of $24 million on write downs of certain investment securities, and a $19 million change in valuation for residential mortgage service rights. The company's provision for loan losses rose 50% from a year earlier, to $151 million.

The average analyst estimate was $1.10, according to Thomson Reuters.

On Thursday, M&T's stock fell 4.4%, to $36.24.—Katie Kuehner-HebertComerica
Comerica Inc. in Dallas said Thursday that fourth quarter net income fell 97% from a year earlier, to $3 million, or 2 cents a share.

The company cited a 16% rise in its loan loss provision from the third quarter and a 78% rise from a year earlier, to $192 million.

Analysts on average had expected the $67.5 billion-asset company to earn 24 cents a share.

Comerica also said that it cut its workforce by 5%, or about 600 positions, in 2008, and plans to cut another 5% this year, about 570 positions, mostly by the end of the first quarter. In the fourth quarter, the company paid $29 million in severance-related expenses ($18 million after-tax, or 12 cents a share).

Comerica has also frozen the salaries for the top 20% of its workforce, and is slowing the planned expansion of its branches.

Comerica's stock rose 9.3%, to $15.15 on Thursday.—Katie Kuehner-HebertSunTrust
SunTrust Banks Inc. lost $379.2 million, or $1.08 a share, in the fourth quarter while also cutting its dividend by 81%, to 10 cents a share.

The $189.3 billion-asset Atlanta company had been expected to earn 7 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. SunTrust had earned $307.3 million in the third quarter and $3.3 million a year earlier.

SunTrust's loan-loss provision rose 91.1% from the third quarter and 169.8% from a year earlier, to $962.5 million.

The company also lost $236.1 million tied to fraud by borrowers, and $100 million tied to mortgage reinsurance reserves. The company also incurred $334 million in credit-related expenses separate from the provision. Additionally, the company had $43.6 million in losses tied to illiquid trading securities and loans carried at fair value, and losses of $44.3 million from tightening credit spreads on public debt and related hedges carried at fair value.—Paul Davis

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