SunTrust Net Income More Than Quadruples as Revenue Climbs

SunTrust Banks Inc., Georgia’s biggest lender, reported fourth-quarter profit that more than quadrupled as revenue climbed.

Net income rose to $356 million, or 65 cents a diluted share, from $74 million, or 13 cents, a year earlier, the Atlanta-based lender said today in a statement. The average adjusted estimate of 33 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for per-share profit of 62 cents.

SunTrust has cut the amount it sets aside for soured loans for 11 of the past 12 quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chief Executive Officer William Rogers said in December the lender is reducing headcount and may increase the pace of branch closings to trim expenses.

“We made significant progress this year as we endeavor to improve our overall risk profile, capitalize on revenue opportunities and improve our efficiency,” Rogers said today on a conference call after earnings were announced.

SunTrust fell 1.5 percent to close at $29.14 in New York as 10 of 24 companies in the KBW Bank Index slumped. The shares have gained 39 percent in the past 12 months, the fourth-best performer in the index, which climbed 23 percent in that time.

“Over the past several quarters, SunTrust has significantly improved its asset quality, loan mix, and profitability,” Standard & Poor’s said last month when it revised its outlook on the company to positive. “The bank’s asset quality metrics are now approaching those of its regional banking peers.”

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