SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

November 01, 2011 08:16 ET

Huntington Bancshares and Regions Financial Show Promising Loan Growth

The Bedford Report Provides Equity Research on Regions Financial & Huntington Bancshares

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 1, 2011) - It appears Regional Banks have finally put the worst of the recession behind them. For well over a year banks have posted improved credit quality and in the second half of 2011 have begun to report adequate loan growth. Analysts said business borrowers are increasingly relying on banks for financing that they used to get from the bond markets and elsewhere. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Regional Banking sector and provides equity research on Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE: RF) and Huntington Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: HBAN). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

Regional bank stocks struggled as the European crisis deepened over the last two months. The concern is that a debt default by Greece could severely harm European banks that hold Greek debt. Although many Regional Banks do not have a lot of -- if any -- direct exposure to the debts of European countries or banks, analysts warned that a the European debt crisis could push the US economy into recession, which would surely hurt regional banks.

With the Eurozone debt crisis showing signs of calming last week, investors can once again focus on domestic operations at US regional banks.

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Huntington Bancshares reported a third quarter profit of $143.4 million, up from $100.9 million a year earlier. The regional bank's loan-loss provisions declined to $43.6 million from $119.2 million a year earlier while its total loans and leases grew 4% from the prior year, helped by 5.3% growth in consumer loans.

At Regions Financial, loan growth in the middle market commercial and industrial customer segment continued, with ending loans in this segment up 12.9 percent from one year ago.

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