Fifth Third swings to Q1 net earnings of US$88M compared with loss of US$72M a year ago; US$3.4B repayment in government bailout money enabled bank to boost quarterly dividend

CINCINNATI, Ohio , April 21, 2011 () – Regional bank Fifth Third Bancorp posted a profit for the first quarter, recovering from a year-ago loss as it emerged from the government-funded bailout of the financial system.

Cincinnati's Fifth Third reported Thursday that it earned $88 million, or 10 cents per share, for the period ended March 31. That compares with a loss of $72 million, or 9 cents a share, for the same three-month period last year.

The bank in February repaid $3.4 billion in government TARP rescue money. That allowed it to boost its quarterly dividend on common shares to 6 cents, from the previous 5 cents.

Fifth Third posted a profit in the last three quarters of 2010.

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