SOURCE: Research Driven Investing

Research Driven Investing

January 23, 2013 08:20 ET

Regional Banks Success Continues as Loan Growth Drives Fourth Quarter Earnings

Research Driven Investing Provides Stocks Research on Comerica and Zions

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jan 23, 2013) - Strong earnings from regional banks have helped them outperform their larger counterparts in recent weeks. The SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF (KRE) has gained 2.25 percent in the past week, while the broader SPDR KBW Bank ETF (KBE) has gained 1.45 percent over the same period. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Regional Banking Industry and provides equity research on Comerica Inc. (NYSE: CMA) and Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION).

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Loan growth has been a key driver for regional banks' earnings in recent quarters. An increased number of smaller business loans helped regional banks offset the low spreads and profit margins the larger banks face. Another key factor for growth has been the recent refinancing boom.

"We've benefited from a refinancing boom and that has augmented our results fairly significantly," said Dan Poston, Fifth Third's chief financial officer. "The bigger banks have more onerous regulatory concerns, whether that's the capital they are required to hold, or new regulations that impact their trading or derivatives books."

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Comerica Incorporated is a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and strategically aligned by three business segments: The Business Bank, The Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Comerica reported total assets of $63.3 billion at September 30, 2012. For the full year 2012, the company reported net income increased 33 percent year-over-year to $521 million.

Zions Bancorporation is one of the nation's premiere financial services companies, consisting of a collection of great banks in select Western U.S. markets with combined total assets exceeding $50 billion. The company is scheduled to release its fourth quarter 2012 results on January 28th. Shares of Zions have gained 20 percent in the past year.

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