A bank's earnings performance affects its long-term survivability. Earnings can be retained by the bank, increasing its capital cushion, or be used to address problematic loans, likely making the bank better able to withstand financial trouble. Obviously, banks that are losing money are less able to do those things.
Fifth Third Bank beat the national average on Bankrate's test of earnings, achieving a score of 22 out of a possible 30.
Return on equity, calculated by dividing net income (profit, basically) by total equity, is one widely used measure of a bank's earnings. Fifth Third Bank's most recent annualized quarterly return on equity was 13.52 percent, above the national average of 8.10 percent.
The bank reported net income of $2.29 billion on total equity of $16.89 billion for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017. The bank experienced an annualized return on average assets, or ROA, of 1.65 percent, above the 1 percent deemed satisfactory in accordance with industry standards, and above the average for U.S. banks of 1.00 percent.