NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -08/24/12)- Regional Banking stocks have been some of the strongest performers on the markets despite facing a slowing global economy. The SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE) is up roughly 14 percent in 2012 as investor optimism continues to improve within the sector. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Regional Banking Industry and provides equity research on Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB) and KeyCorp (KEY).
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Results from a Federal Reserve survey, released earlier this month, have shown that U.S. banks have relaxed their lending standards on credit cards and lending for autos and commercial real estate in the second quarter. Despite facing an economy bearing unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, lending from U.S. banks are at the highest levels since the end of the recession.
While foreign bank branches have tightened their lending standards, "domestic banks reported that their business had increased due to decreased competition from European banks and that they remain willing to accommodate additional such business," the Fed said.
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Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company with $118 billion in assets as of June 30, 2012. The company recently reported that the Federal Reserve did not object to their plan of a dividend increase to $0.10 in the third quarter of 2012 and repurchase of common stock. Fifth Third's Board of Directors approved a new share repurchase authorization of up to 100 million shares, replacing the one from 2007 which approximately 14 million shares remained.
KeyCorp is one of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies with assets of approximately $87 billion. The company reported a second quarter net income of $221 million, or $.23 per common share, compared to $199 million, or $.21 per common share for the first quarter of 2012. Shares of the company are up over 11 percent in the last three months.
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