How profitable a bank is affects its long-term survivability. A bank can retain its earnings, expanding its capital buffer, or put them to work addressing problematic loans, likely making the bank better prepared to withstand financial shocks. However, banks that are losing money have less ability to do those things.
SunTrust Bank outperformed the average on Bankrate's earnings test, achieving a score of 18 out of a possible 30.
Return on equity, calculated by dividing net income (profit, essentially) by the total amount of equity, is one important way to measure a bank's earnings. SunTrust Bank's most recent annualized quarterly return on equity was 9.98 percent, above the national average of 8.10 percent.
For the twelve months ended December 31, 2017, the bank earned net income of $2.38 billion on total equity of $24.55 billion. The bank had an annualized return on average assets, or ROA, of 1.18 percent, above the 1 percent deemed satisfactory in accordance with industry standards, and above the average for U.S. banks of 1.00 percent.