published Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

SunTrust, Cornerstone report higher earnings in quarter

The Suntrust Bank building in downtown Chattanooga.
The Suntrust Bank building in downtown Chattanooga.
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SunTrust and Cornerstone banks reported higher earnings in the second quarter as the economy continued to mend.

SunTrust Banks Inc., the parent company of Chattanooga's second largest bank, said Monday it earned $387 million, or 72 cents per share, in the three months ending June 30.

Results for the Atlanta-based banking company were hurt by one-time expenses from a mortgage settlement announced this spring that cut 9 cents per share from the second quarter earnings. Excluding one-time items, SunTrust earnings were up 13 cents per share from a year ago and 5 cents per share above analysts' expectations. From ongoing operations, SunTrust earned 81 cents per share, up from 68 cents per share in the same period a year earlier.

During the second quarter SunTrust Mortgage took a $204 million charge from the settlement regarding its administration of the federal Home Affordable Modification Program and recorded a $105 million pre-tax gain from the sale of its asset management subsidiary, RidgeWorth Capital Management Inc.

"Favorable revenue trends, particularly growth in loans, deposits and fee income, coupled with continued expense discipline and further asset quality improvements led to solid core earnings growth this quarter," SunTrust CEO William H. Rogers Jr., said in a statement.

Cornerstone Bank, one of the largest independent banks in Chattanooga, also reported better earnings as loans increased by 5.9 percent and non-accruing loans shrank by nearly 59 percent.

Cornerstone said Monday it earned $409,000, up 3.3 percent from the same quarter in 2013.

"There is a lot of positive momentum and major investments are being made in our market right now," Cornerstone Chairman Miller Wellborn said. "With Volkswagen's recent announcement of another production line here in Chattanooga, the economic forecast for Chattanooga is very bright."

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