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SunTrust Banks posts big jump in 4Q net income

ATLANTA (AP) -- SunTrust Banks Inc. said Friday that its fourth-quarter net income soared, helped by mortgage-related and investment banking income.

The Atlanta-based regional bank earned $350 million, or 65 cents per share, for the last three months of 2012, up from $71 million, or 13 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The results beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 61 cents per share, according to FactSet. SunTrust operates mainly in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Noninterest income, which includes fees for services and other sources of revenue, rose 40 percent to $1.02 billion from $723 million. It got a boost from $241 million in mortgage production income, which compared with a loss of $62 million in the prior-year quarter. That jump stemmed from a drop in the amount of money the bank set aside to buy back mortgages.

In addition, investment banking income jumped 29 percent to $112 million.

Net interest income, or earnings from deposits and loans, fell 3.6 percent to $1.28 billion from $1.32 billion, as a result of lower earning asset yields.

Total revenue rose 12 percent to $2.29 billion from $2.05 billion, while analysts expected $2.32 billion.

The company's provision for credit losses, or the amount of money it set aside to cover soured loans, was relatively flat at $328 million.

SunTrust shares fell 76 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $28.81 in midday trading. They have traded in a range of $19.81 almost a year ago to $30.79 in mid-September.