SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

May 25, 2011 08:16 ET

Mortgage Market Halts Regional Banking Recovery

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Regions & Fifth Third Bancorp

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 25, 2011) - Companies in the regional banking sector have posted better numbers of late as most firms are finally setting aside less money to cover loan losses. More thorough and cautious credit checks have led to fewer delinquent loans and greater financial stability. While the improving margins helped narrow losses, long-term growth worries still loom. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Regional Banking Sector and provides research reports on Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE: RF) and Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ: FITB). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

Although employment numbers are improving, analysts argue loan demand remains low due to the average American's weaker appetite for debt following the financial crisis. It is believed that many banks will not see much revenue growth because of this, but that instead declining credit costs will be the primary driver of profits moving forward.

Several Banks in the industry have warned that the increased role of government-owned companies in the mortgage market may weigh on results moving forward. Housing market reform could create opportunities for companies in the savings and loans industry with marginal debt issues. Smaller banks may be able to originate more housing loans as Washington mulls its options regarding government sponsored enterprises.

The Bedford Report releases regular market updates on the Regional Banking Industry so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

In order to offset a poor mortgage market, Regions Financial has begun to diversify its loan portfolio by lending to defense and technology companies. Regions Financial posted a surprise first quarter net income of $17 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with a loss of $255 million, or 21 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Regions' chief executive, Grayson Hall, believes the bank is making "solid headwind towards sustainable profitability and key credit metrics continue to improve."

Fifth Third Bancorp reported first quarter net income available to common shareholders of $88 million or 10 cents per share. The results compared favorably with net loss of $72 million or 9 cents in the prior-year quarter.

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