SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

February 08, 2011 08:46 ET

Regional Banks Follow the Employment Numbers Up

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Citizens Republic & Huntington Bancshares

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 8, 2011) - Last week the US economy was given a boost when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that the US unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in January from 9.4 percent in December. Paul Zemsky, the head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management, argues that "The U.S. economy is all about jobs and anything that leads folks to believe that there's a better job market will be good for equities." This is especially true for regional banks. When the Obama Administration administered the much publicized stress tests on the banking sector, banks were tested for their ability to withstand the pressure stemming from a hefty 10% unemployment rate. High unemployment has led to a wave of foreclosures, a series of delinquencies in consumer lending and has compressed most banks' bottom lines. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Regional Banking Sector and provides research reports on Citizens Republic Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRBC) and Huntington Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: HBAN). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

www.bedfordreport.com/2011-02-CRBC

www.bedfordreport.com/2011-02-HBAN

In recent quarters, regional banks have begun to post improved credit quality. More thorough and cautious credit checks have led to fewer delinquent loans and greater financial stability. As such, Banks are setting aside less money to cover bad loans, and some are seeing loan losses recede. While credit quality improved, the high unemployment rate has been damaging to banks' long term loan growth. Improving employment numbers will hopefully, in time, lead to a boost in loan growth across the banking sector.

The Bedford Report releases regular market updates on the Regional Banking sector 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 www.bedfordreport.com and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

In the company's fourth quarter earnings call, Citizens Republic posted a net loss from continuing operations of $106.2 million. Citizens said that it resolved $466.2 million of problem assets in the fourth quarter through bulk sales and individual workouts, recording a provision for loan losses of $131.3 million and net charge-offs of $159.3 million.

The Bedford Report provides Analyst Research focused on equities that offer growth opportunities, value, and strong potential return. We strive to provide the most up-to-date market activities. We constantly create research reports and newsletters for our members. The Bedford Report has not been compensated by any of the above-mentioned publicly traded companies. The Bedford Report is compensated by other third party organizations for advertising services. We act as an independent research portal and are aware that all investment entails inherent risks. Please view the full disclaimer at http://www.bedfordreport.com/disclaimer

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