Washington Federal (WAFD) Stock Down 2.9% on Q2 Earnings Lag

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Shares of Washington Federal Inc. WAFD decreased 2.9%, following the release of second-quarter fiscal 2018 (ended Mar 31) results. Earnings of 57 cents per share lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 60 cents. However, the figure reflects year-over-year growth of 21.3%.

An increase in expenses hurt results to quite an extent. However, higher net interest revenues and non-interest income were among the positives. Also, rise in loan and deposit balances, and improving asset quality supported results.

The company's net income for the quarter was $49.3 million, up 17.1% from the prior-year quarter.

Revenues Improve, Expenses Rise

Net revenues came in at $129.9 million, up 10.2% from the year-ago quarter. However, the figure missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $131.9 million.

Net interest income was $117.3 million, up 8.9% from the year-ago quarter. Also, net interest margin expanded 10 basis points year over year to 3.25%.

Other income jumped 24.2% year over year to $12.6 million. The rise was mainly driven by an increase in deposit fee income and other income.

Operating expenses rose 14.5% from the prior-year quarter to $65.8 million. The rise was largely due to higher compensation and benefit, product delivery, information technology costs and other expenses.

The company's efficiency ratio was 50.65%, up from 48.76% a year ago. A rise in efficiency ratio indicates deterioration in profitability.

At the end of the reported quarter, return on average common equity was 9.81%, up from 8.37% at the end of the prior-year quarter. Return on average assets was 1.26% compared with 1.13% in the year-ago quarter.

Loans & Deposits Rise

As of Mar 31, 2018, net loans receivables were $11.2 billion, up from $10.9 billion recorded as of Sep 30, 2017. Also, customer deposit accounts were $11.2 billion, up from $10.8 billion as of Sep 30, 2017.

Improvement in Credit Quality

As of Mar 31, 2018, the ratio of non-performing assets to total assets was 0.45% compared with 0.53% as of Mar 31, 2017. Further, the allowance for loan losses and reserve for unfunded commitments were 1.07% of gross loans outstanding, in line with the Sep 30, 2017 level.

Notably, provision for loan losses was a benefit of nearly $1 million compared with benefit of $1.6 million in the prior-year quarter.

Share Repurchases

During the reported quarter, Washington Federal repurchased 1.7 million shares at an average price of $34.66 per share.

Our View

Washington Federal is well positioned to grow organically, supported by the continued rise in loan balances. Also, its solid capital and liquidity position make it well poised to grow through acquisitions. However, persistently rising expenses might hurt bottom-line growth. Moreover, the company's significant exposure to risky loan portfolios continues to be a major near-term concern.

Washington Federal, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Washington Federal, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Washington Federal, Inc. Quote

Currently, Washington Federal has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

Earnings Release Dates for Other Banks

Among other northeast banks, First Bank FRBA is scheduled to release quarterly results on Apr 23, while Community Bank System, Inc. CBU and First Commonwealth Financial Corporation FCF are slated to report results on Apr 24.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Business , Earnings , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: WAFD , CBU , FCF , FRBA

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