Huntington Bancshares reports strong earnings

WARREN – It was Huntington Bancshares Inc.’s commitment to continue to loan money when many other lending institutions were not that helped propel it to an 18 percent growth in net income for the year.

”We are delivering on the service side the strategy that was employed several years ago,” Frank Hierro, regional president for Huntington Bank, said Thursday. ”We began with a commitment to lend to businesses and small businesses and consumers at a time when many banks were retrenching.”

Huntington on Thursday also announced that its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend on its common stock of 4 cents per common share. The dividend is payable April 1, 2013, to shareholders of record on March 18, 2013.

The parent company of Huntington National Bank Full-year net income for 2012 was reported at $641 million, an increase of 18 percent from the prior year. Earnings per common share for the year and current quarter were 71 cents and 19 cents, respectively.

Wall Street had expected, on average, a profit of 17 cents per share, said the bank’s assistant director of investor relations Todd Beekman.

Bancshares chairman and CEO Stephen D. Steinour said the company expects to see continued growth.

”We expect to continue seeing the strong growth of the Midwest economy relative to the broader United States. However, business sentiment continues to be negatively influenced by the uncertainty in Washington and its direct impact on the U.S. economy. We remain optimistic that when solutions are in place, the strength of the Midwest and the soundness of our strategy will continue to drive growth,” said Steinour.

In the day’s trading, shares of Huntington Bancshares rose 14 cents to $7 after opening at $6.86.