Truist Tops Earnings Estimates on Lower Expected Credit Losses

Truist Financial (NYSE: TFC), the nation's sixth largest bank, beat earnings estimates in the third quarter with net income rising 45% to $1.1 billion.

The company's earning per share were down 16.8% to $0.79, including merger-related and restructuring costs stemming from the merger of BB&T and SunTrust that formed Truist last December. The adjusted net income was $1.3 billion, or $0.97 per share.

The provision for credit losses was $421 million in the third quarter, down from $844 million in the second quarter. Net charge-offs were $326 million this past quarter, up from $316 million in the second quarter. The credit build reflects continued uncertainty due to the coronavirus and the expiration of relief packages.

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"Our earnings reflect a modest build in our allowance for loan and lease losses, benefiting from our relatively stable asset quality," CEO Kelly King said. "We also benefited from our diverse noninterest-income generating businesses and disciplined core expense control."

The bank's fee income ratio is about 40%.

Officials said the significant increases in earning assets and liabilities are mainly due to the merger, as well as the pandemic and stimulus programs.

Noninterest expense was $3.8 billion in the quarter, up $1.9 billion year over year. Merger-related and restructuring charges increased expenses by $202 million, while other operating expenses related to the merger increased $100 million. The company also made a $50 million charitable contribution to the Truist Charitable Fund. Also, operating costs were elevated by another $26 million due to the coronavirus for various measures, including advanced cleaning.

As part of the restructuring, the bank reportedly eliminated 769 jobs in the third quarter. It is a continuation of the integration plan that saw 735 jobs eliminated in the second quarter.

Truist reported an efficiency ratio of 67.4%, up from 66.1% the prior quarter. The adjusted efficiency ratio, excluding merger-related costs, was 57.4%. Return on tangible common equity (ROTCE) was 13.3%, while the return on assets was 0.91%.

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