Fifth Third Bancorp has done enough workouts on troubled loans to know when it's time to give up.

The Cincinnati company, which has been squeezing better recovery values than expected from a wide array of bad credits, surprised analysts Thursday by announcing it had sold $228 million of residential mortgage loans and made $961 million of commercial loans available for sale late in the third quarter. In aggregate, the actions stand to reduce Fifth Third's real estate-related nonperforming loans by 40%.

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