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SunTrust Banks 4Q earnings rise 18%

Bank improves after clearing up mortgage legacy matters in 3Q

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SunTrust Banks (STI) reported a significant jump in profit after facing the negative impact of legacy mortgage issues in late 2013.

The Atlanta-based lender reported net income of $413 million, or 77 cents per share for 4Q 2013, up from $179 million, or 33 cents a share, in the third quarter. STI beat analyst estimates by a wide margin, with the average analyst predicting earnings in the 69 cent-per-share range.

Comparatively, the company recorded income of $350 million, or 65 cents a share, a year earlier, which means earnings grew 18% year-over-year.

"Broad-based loan growth, increased revenue, and further credit quality improvement led to core earnings expansion over the prior quarter," said William H. Rogers, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of SunTrust Banks. "We closed the year with 25% core annual earnings growth and substantial efficiency ratio improvement.  Our focus in 2014 will remain on meeting more of our clients' needs, driving profitable growth, and further improving the efficiency of the company."

The firm rose from a much rougher third quarter, which felt the sting of legacy mortgage issues.

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