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Fifth Third settles SEC charges over financial crisis accounting

Wednesday, 4 Dec 2013 | 2:53 PM ET

Dec 4 (Reuters) - Fifth Third Bancorp, a Midwest U.S. regional bank, has agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it accounted improperly for commercial real estate loans during the 2008 financial crisis, reducing its reported loss.

As part of the settlement, former Fifth Third Chief Financial Officer Daniel Poston agreed to pay a $100,000 penalty and be suspended from practicing as an accountant for any publicly traded company, the SEC said on Wednesday.

The SEC said Fifth Third decided in the third quarter of 2008 to sell some troubled commercial real estate loans, but the Cincinnati-based bank continued to classify them as "held for investment" rather than "held for sale" as U.S. accounting rules require.

Fifth Third and Poston did not admit or deny wrongdoing in agreeing to settle, the SEC said.