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Loan Growth and Refinancing Boom Help Drive Regional Banks Earnings in the Fourth Quarter

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jan 22, 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 First Horizon National Corporation ( NYSE : FHN ) and Hudson City Bancorp, Inc. ( NASDAQ : HCBK ).

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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."

Research Driven Investing 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 www.RDInvesting.com and get exclusive access to our numerous stock reports and industry newsletters.

First Horizon National provides financial services through more than 170 First Tennessee Bank locations in and around Tennessee and 19 FTN Financial Group offices in the U.S. and abroad. The company reported a net income of $41 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a net income of $26 million in the third quarter of 2012. Shares of First Horizon are up over 10 percent in the past year.

Hudson City Savings Bank, a well-established community financial institution serving its customers since 1868, is the largest thrift institution headquartered in New Jersey. Hudson City Bancorp is scheduled to release its fourth quarter before market open on Wednesday, January 30th. Shares of the company have gained over 20 percent in the past year.

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