Depending upon your place of origin, KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) stock will provoke either a "meh" or a "feh." Shares of this large Midwest-based bank are down a bit more than 4% for the year, trading between $30 and $35 since January. Exciting, huh? Then again, with consistently inconsistent earnings growth, maybe it's not that strange to see the stock in a holding pattern as investors wait for more definitive signs on future earnings.

Third-quarter results were solidly average. Revenue was up just about 9%, net income grew more than 10%, and earnings per share grew just under 10%. Companywide net interest income climbed 8%, and non-interest income grew 10%, while non-interest expense growth was contained to 7%. Overall average loans grew about 6%, while core deposits increased more than 8%.

You'll find some turbulence beneath KeyCorp's calm exterior. Consumer banking revenue was down nearly 1%, and net income dropped more than 1%, while corporate banking revenue and net income both grew nearly 19%. At the risk of oversimplification, I think you could characterize business as "three steps forward, two steps back."

The consumer lending business saw net interest income decline 2% as margins narrowed, and the company saw its average loan balance decline more than 8%, due primarily to loan sales. In addition, deposit growth of about 6% was hardly robust. By comparison, the corporate business saw net interest income up 26%, with loans up almost 22% and deposits up nearly 30%.

Operating matters aside, KeyCorp also hit a compliance issue this quarter. Along with its earnings, the company announced a memorandum of understanding with the Fed and a consent order with the Comptroller of the Currency regarding some compliance matters relating to the Bank Secrecy Act. While there were no fines or civil penalties, so long as the memorandum is in place, the company will not receive expedited approval for any acquisitions. That could hurt KeyCorp's ability to buy other banks.

The company has a dividend yield above 4%, but that's not especially rare these days, and the company's return on assets and return on equity aren't anything to shout about. That said, KeyCorp has attractive borrowing costs (assuming they don't raise rates to stimulate deposit growth) and a good interest spread. Should the commercial business stay strong and the consumer business revive, the company could unlock some share price appreciation.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).