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Huntington Bancshares 1Q Net Soars Amid Lower Loan-Loss Reserve

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Huntington Bancshares Inc.'s (HBAN) first-quarter profit more than tripled and adjusted earnings topped analysts' estimates as it slashed credit-loss provisions and revenue edged up. The Ohio regional bank, like many peers, has improved its bottom line lately by lowering its loan-loss reserves amid signs of better credit quality. It has also seen revenue grow. Huntington posted a profit of $126.4 million, or 14 cents a share, up from $39.7 million, or a penny a share, a year earlier. Additional litigation reserves cut the latest result by a penny. The number of shares outstanding rose 21%. Revenue edged up 1% to $641.3 and was up 1.3% on a fully taxable equivalent basis. Analysts had expected a per-share profit of 12 cents on $664 million in revenue, according to a Thomson Reuters poll. Credit-loss provisions were $49.4 million, down from $235 million a year earlier and $87 million in the prior quarter. Net charge-offs, or loans lenders don't think are collectible, fell to 1.73% of average loans from 2.58% and 1.82%, respectively. The nonperforming asset ratio fell to 1.8% from 5.17% and 2.21%. Shares closed Tuesday at $6.44 and were inactive in recent premarket trading. -By Matt Jarzemsky, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2240;

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