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Steadily Improving U.S. Economy Sees U.S. Banks Post Second Highest Earnings on Record in 2012

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Mar 7, 2013) - The U.S. Banking Industry has benefited from a slowly, but steadily improving economy over the past few years. Recent data has shown that U.S. banks posted their second highest earnings on record in 2012. The SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF (KRE) and the SPDR KBW Bank ETF (KBE) over the past year have posted gains of 15 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Regional Banking Industry and provides equity research on SunTrust Banks, Inc. ( NYSE : STI ) and U.S. Bancorp ( NYSE : USB ).

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported that 2012 full year earnings for U.S. banks totaled $141.3 billion, an increase of $22.9 billion (19.3 percent) when compared to a year ago. Earnings for U.S. banks reached their peak in 2006 with $145.2 billion. The earnings growth in 2012 was largely attributed to a decrease in capital set aside for loan losses, the FDIC stated. Earnings for the fourth quarter grew 36.9 percent year-over-year to $34.7 billion.

"On the positive side, income has been rising for more than three years; asset quality has been improving for more than two years; and for over a year, banks have been lending more in support of a recovering U.S. economy," FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said in a statement.

Five Star Equities 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.FiveStarEquities.com and get exclusive access to our numerous stock reports and industry newsletters.

As of December 31, 2012, SunTrust had total assets of $173.4 billion and total deposits of $132.3 billion. Shares of the company have gained approximately 22 percent over the past year. SunTrust reported a net income of $350 million, or $0.65 per average common diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to earnings per share of $0.13 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

U.S. Bancorp, with $354 billion in assets as of December 31, 2012, is the parent company of U.S. Bank National Association, the 5th largest commercial bank in the United States. Shares of the company have gained approximately 15 percent over the past year. U.S. Bancorp reported record net income of $5.65 billion for the full year 2012.

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