Fifth Third Bancorp Earnings Call Nuggets: 1Q Growth Rates and Main Points of Uncertainty

Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

1Q Growth Rates

Ian Foley – Jefferies and Company: It’s actually (Ian Foley) for Ken. First question, on the commercial loan growth, obviously huge growth towards the end of the quarter, I was wondering if you could provide any details on just timing and how that could impact 1Q growth rates?

Kevin T. Kabat – President and CEO: Let me just start and then Dan can finish in terms of talking about forward perspective. It was strong in the end of – and you noticed in terms of our end-of-period loans. It was very broad; came from a wide swatch across our geographies. It was strong particularly in terms of healthcare, energy, manufacturing; we feel very good about that. Pipeline was good and we were able to really work hard through year end to accommodate our clients and our client needs. That, as Dan mentioned, really does give us a good foundation and a good jump-off point relative to starting the quarter. So, that feels pretty good. I don’t know there’s anything else Dan you’d like to say in terms of that point?

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Daniel T. Poston – EVP and CFO: No, not a lot more. As Kevin said, fourth quarter was very strong. Some of that may have been some acceleration of some transactions, but overall, we expect that we will continue to post quarterly loan growth that’s consistent with what we’ve seen over the past several quarters, and you can see our annual expectations for loan growth for mid-to-high single-digit growth for the year, and I’m not sure we’re necessarily expecting there to be significant variations during the year. So, I think we would expect continue consistent solid loan growth throughout 2013.