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Fifth Third Bancorp Q1 earnings down

Fifth Third Bancorp has reported earnings of $292 million, or $0.55 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2008, compared to $359 million, or $0.65 per diluted share reported for the same period of 2007.

The reported results include a gain of $273 million pre-tax, or $0.33 per share after-tax, related to the redemption of a portion of the company’s ownership interests in Visa as well as the reversal of $152 million pre-tax in expenses, or $0.19 per share after-tax, representing a portion of the previously recorded litigation reserves, both related to Visa’s initial public offering.

The reported results also include a non-cash estimated charge of $144 million pre-tax, or $0.21 per share after-tax, to further reduce the current cash surrender value of one of its Bank-Owned Life Insurance (BOLI) policies, and expenses related to acquisitions and severance expenses totaling $16 million pre-tax, or $0.02 per share after-tax.

The company has reported noninterest expense of $715 million decreased by $225 million for the first quarter of 2008 from the fourth quarter of 2007 and $38 million from the same period of 2007.

Kevin Kabat, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bancorp, said: This quarter we produced excellent loan and deposit growth that drove impressive performance in net interest income and continued strong fee growth from our businesses. However, strong operating performance continues to be offset by higher credit costs, primarily reflecting further deterioration of residential real estate, homebuilder and residential development loans.