First Horizon National Corp.
) reported first-quarter 2013 earnings per share of 17 cents, in
line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 17 cents, but well
ahead of the year-ago earnings of 12 cents.
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The results were driven by lower non-interest expenses,
reflecting the company's expense control measures. However, the
pressure on revenue growth persisted owing to declining net
interest as well as non-interest income. Further, considerably
higher provision for credit losses was another dampener.
First Horizon reported net income available to common
shareholders of $45.0 million, up 35% from $33.4 million reported
in the prior-year quarter.
Total revenue came in at $317.8 million, missing the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of $330.0 million. Moreover, revenues fell 15%
from the year-ago quarter.
First Horizon's provision for loan losses elevated 88% to $15
million in the quarter under review.
Quarter in Detail
Net interest income went down 6% year over year to $161.4
million. Net interest margin dipped 17 basis points (bps) year
over year to 2.95%. Non-interest income slipped 23% from the
prior-year quarter to $156.4 million.
However, non-interest expense declined 25% from the prior-year
quarter to $240.5 million. For the reported quarter, the impact
from First Horizon's expense control measures yielded positive
results. Personnel costs decreased following the completion of
the voluntary separation program on Mar 31 and earlier
modifications to the pension plan.
Further, First Horizon's efficiency ratio decreased to 75.7% from
86.1% in the prior-year quarter. A decline in efficiency ratio
indicates better profitability.
Period-end loans were down 1% year over year to $15.9 billion.
Moreover, total deposits declined 4% year over year to $16.2
First Horizon's credit quality metrics generally improved in the
quarter under review. Allowance for loan losses were down 23%
year over year and 4% sequentially to $265.2 million. As a
percentage of period-end loans on an annualized basis, allowance
for loan losses were 1.67%, down 50 bps from the prior-year
quarter and up 1 basis point from the prior quarter.
Net charge-offs went down 42% on a year-over-year basis but
elevated 35% sequentially to $26.7 million. As a percentage of
average loans and on an annualized basis, net charge-offs were
0.67%, down from 1.16% reported in the year-ago quarter but up
from 0.48% in the prior quarter.
Non-performing assets fell 18% year over year and inched down
0.2% sequentially to $418.4 million. As a percentage of
period-end loans plus foreclosed real estate and other assets,
non-performing assets came in at 1.81%, down 75 bps year over
year and 3 bps sequentially.
Evaluation of Capital
First Horizon's capital ratios remained a mixed bag in the
reported quarter. Adjusted tangible common equity ratio to risk
weighted assets was 9.88%, down from 10.88% as of Mar 31, 2012
and from 9.93% as of Dec 31, 2012. Also, book value came in at
$9.16 per share, down 3% from $9.42 per share in the prior-year
quarter but up 1% from $9.09 in the year-ago quarter.
Capital Deployment Update
First Horizon continued its healthy capital deployment
activities. The company repurchased $30.0 million worth common
shares during the quarter under its $300 million share repurchase
On Mar 12, First Tennessee Bank - a subsidiary of First Horizon -
announced that it will strategically expand its footprint and
develop its services in N.C., S.C. and Va. Earlier, First
Tennessee Bank forayed into Mid-Atlantic Region to recreate the
success of the existing locations in West, Middle and East
Tennessee. The regional bank is focused on opportunistically
diversifying its footprints in regions with vast growth potential
to combat declining revenues.
Although winding down of the non-strategic part of its loan
portfolio bodes well, it will remain a drag on First Horizon's
earnings going forward. In addition to shrinking revenue base,
regulatory issues, tepid economic recovery along with a low
interest rate environment serve as headwinds for its results.
Yet, First Horizon's endeavor to lower its exposure to problem
loans is impressive. It is also aiming at controlling costs and
improving long-term profitability by focusing on strengthening
its core Tenn. banking franchise, which would augur well going
forward. Moreover, share buybacks boost investors' confidence in
First Horizon retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other Southeast
banks that are performing better than First Horizon are
Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc.
Crescent Financial Bancshares, Inc.
). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).