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Fifth Third Bank gets 'needs to improve' CRA rating, which may limit M&A for some time, says analyst

Cincinnati-basedFifth Third Bank receiveda "needs to improve" Community Reinvestment Act rating from the FederalReserve for the 2011-2013 evaluation period.

The Fed disclosedthe rating publicly July 14. In a Form 8-K, FifthThird Bancorp said the rating "reflects legacy issues" thathave already been addressed over the last three years.

Also on July14, Evercore ISI analyst John Pancari put out a report commenting on the rating,stating that it could potentially restrict the company's future M&A effortsfor some time, at least until the Fed releases its next CRA rating for Fifth Third.And the timeline for the release of its assessment for the 2014-2016 period is notknown yet. The analyst noted that the company has reiterated interest in bank acquisitions,such as in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Chicago.

Pancari alsoobserved that the company is reporting its second-quarter earnings "almosta week later" than usual, but clarified that it may not be related to the CRArating results.

The Evercore ISI analyst reiterated his "hold" ratingon Fifth Third Bancorp. He has a price target of $18.00 on the stock.

He also noted that, as disclosed in February, the Federal Reservedowngraded its overall CRA rating on Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Financial Corp. unit Regions Bank to "needs to improve" from "satisfactory."