Hancock Whitney Corporation (Nasdaq: HWC) today announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2021. Net income for the first quarter of 2021 was $107.2 million, or $1.21 per diluted common share (EPS), compared to $103.6 million, or $1.17 per diluted common share, in the fourth quarter of 2020. The company reported a net loss for the first quarter of 2020 of $111.0 million, or ($1.28) per diluted common share resulting from a COVID-19 reserve build.
First Quarter 2021 Highlights
- Net income of $107.2 million, or $1.21 per diluted share, up $3.6 million, or $0.04 per share
- Pre-provision net revenue (PPNR) totaled $131.5 million, up $0.9 million
- Negative provision for credit losses of $4.9 million; $23.2 million reserve release, $18.3 million in net charge-offs
- Allowance Credit Losses (ACL) remained strong at 2.11%
- Nonperforming loans declined 20% and criticized commercial loans declined 11%
- Net interest margin (NIM) 3.09%, down 13 bps linked-quarter mainly from the impact of excess liquidity
- CET1 ratio estimated at 11.02%, up 41 bps linked-quarter
- TCE ratio 7.26%, down 38 bps, resulting from balance sheet growth (7.80% excluding PPP)
- Loans declined $125.1 million linked-quarter, as core loans decreased $465.5 million, partly offset by net PPP growth of $340.4 million
- Deposits increased $1.5 billion linked-quarter, mainly from pandemic-related PPP and stimulus deposit funding
“2021 is starting off on an encouraging note with earnings up almost $4 million, or $.04, linked quarter,” said John M. Hairston, President & CEO. “Today’s operating environment is heading in a decidedly more positive direction compared to the end of last year, and as such, we are releasing a modest amount of loan loss reserves, while maintaining solid capital ratios and reporting improved operating leverage. We see signs of cautious optimism across our footprint, however loan growth remains limited net of PPP. Asset quality metrics continue to improve across our lines of business and geographic areas as businesses and consumers have received PPP and stimulus funding. This funding has also led to excess liquidity on our balance sheet, thereby further compressing NIM. Net interest income does benefit from the growth however, and we are seeing green shoots in fee income. We are continuing our focus on expense and efficiency initiatives all leading to pre-provision, net revenue (PPNR) growth for the quarter.”
Loans totaled $21.7 billion at March 31, 2021, down $125.1 million, or 1%, linked-quarter. New PPP loans totaling $836.4 million were originated under the extended CARES Act program, with $496.0 million in PPP loans forgiven during the quarter. Core loans declined $465.5 million as indirect loans continue to runoff with no new production planned, residential mortgage payoffs increased, line utilization slowed and normal payoffs and paydowns, coupled with slower levels of loan production, led to declines in the central and western regions of our footprint.
Average loans totaled $21.7 billion for the first quarter of 2021, down 1% linked-quarter.
Management expects core loans to remain stable in the second quarter of 2021, as opportunities for new organic growth remain low in light of the slow economic environment. We also expect significantly more PPP loans will be forgiven in the second quarter of 2021, leading to an overall decline in total loans.
Total deposits at March 31, 2021 were $29.2 billion, up $1.5 billion, or 5%, from December 31, 2020. Excess liquidity related to stimulus and other pandemic-related client funds contributed significantly to the growth in the first quarter.
DDAs totaled $13.2 billion at March 31, 2021, up $975.2 million, or 8%, from December 31, 2020 and comprised 45% of total period-end deposits at March 31, 2021. Interest-bearing transaction and savings deposits totaled $11.2 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2021, up $786.5 million, or 8%, linked-quarter. Compared to December 31, 2020, time deposits of $1.6 billion were down $212.6 million, or 11%. Interest-bearing public fund deposits were down $36.4 million, or 1%, linked-quarter to $3.2 billion.
Average deposits for the first quarter of 2021 were $28.1 billion, up $1.1 billion, or 4%, linked-quarter.
The total allowance for credit losses was $456.9 million at March 31, 2021, down $23.2 million from December 31, 2020. During the first quarter of 2021, the company recorded a negative provision for credit losses of $4.9 million, compared to a provision expense of $24.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. Net charge-offs totaled $18.3 million in the first quarter of 2021, or 0.34% of average total loans on an annualized basis, down from $24.3 million, or 0.44% of average total loans in the fourth quarter of 2020. Included in the first quarter’s net charge-offs is $13.8 million from one legacy energy credit. The ratio of ACL to period-end loans was 2.11% (2.35% excluding PPP loans) at March 31, 2021, compared to 2.20% (2.42% excluding PPP loans) at December 31, 2020.
The company continues to evaluate certain credits in light of the ongoing financial challenges some companies are having as a result of COVID-19. Included on slide 10 in the earnings deck are current sectors under focus related to the changing economic impact of the pandemic, and details regarding the status of loans within those lines of business.
Despite today’s economically challenging environment, the company’s overall asset quality metrics continued to improve with both commercial criticized and total nonperforming loans down linked-quarter. Nonperforming assets (NPAs) totaled $124.2 million at March 31, 2021, down $31.6 million, or 20%, from December 31, 2020. During the first quarter of 2021, total nonperforming loans decreased $29.4 million, or 20%, while ORE and foreclosed assets decreased $2.2 million, or 19%, linked-quarter. Nonperforming assets as a percent of total loans, ORE and other foreclosed assets was 0.57% at March 31, 2021, down 14 bps from December 31, 2020.
Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin (NIM)
Net interest income (TE) for the first quarter of 2021 was $237.5 million, down $3.9 million, or 2%, from the fourth quarter of 2020. The decrease linked-quarter is related to two less accrual days in the first quarter. Otherwise net interest income was relatively stable.
The net interest margin (NIM) was 3.09% in the first quarter of 2021, a decline of 13 basis points linked-quarter. Factors driving NIM compression linked-quarter include the impact of lower LIBOR and refinancing rates (-7 bps) and an increase in average excess liquidity (-13 bps), partially offset by interest recoveries on nonaccrual loans (+5 bps) and purchase accounting accretion (+2 bps).
Average earning assets were $31.0 billion for the first quarter of 2021, up $1.1 billion, or 4%, from the fourth quarter of 2020.
Management expects continued NIM compression in the second quarter of 2021, however net interest income should remain relatively stable.
Noninterest income totaled $87.1 million for the first quarter of 2021, up $4.7 million, or 6%, from the fourth quarter of 2020. Improvement was noted in many fee categories as local economies continue to re-open and consumer spending increases.
Decreased activity was noted in service charges on deposits, down $0.7 million, or 4%, from the fourth quarter of 2020, due to the impact of higher account balances (related to stimulus payments) driving lower overdraft fees, while bankcard and ATM fees were up $0.5 million, or 3%, from the fourth quarter due to increased activity.
Investment and annuity income and insurance fees were up $1.6 million, or 28%, linked-quarter primarily due to increased underwriting and annuity fees. Trust fees were up $0.2 million, or 1% linked-quarter, primarily from increased value of assets under management.
Fees from secondary mortgage operations totaled $11.7 million for the first quarter of 2021, up $0.2 million, or 2%, linked-quarter, as refinancing activity remains solid, however refinancing activity has slowed from peak levels in 2020.
Other noninterest income totaled $15.7 million, up $2.9 million, or 23%, from the fourth quarter of 2020. The increase in other noninterest income is primarily due to a higher level of specialty income, including BOLI and derivatives.
Noninterest Expense & Taxes
Noninterest expense totaled $193.1 million, flat linked-quarter. As noted last quarter, our focus on expense control in light of the current environment was enhanced, with initiatives put in place to improve overall efficiency. These initiatives included closing 12 financial centers in the fourth quarter of 2020 with an additional eight set to close April 30, 2021. We also closed the two trust offices in the NE corridor and reduced headcount by 270 FTE since June 30, 2020 via attrition and other initiatives. Last quarter we announced a voluntary early retirement package (VERP) for certain employees, which to-date has a 40% acceptance rate with most employees departing by April 30, 2021. The annualized impact of the VERP is approximately $19.0 million (including estimated incentives, benefits and is net of backfill costs).
Total personnel expense was $119.6 million in the first quarter of 2021, up $7.4 million, or 7%, from the fourth quarter of 2020. The increase is related to higher incentives, benefit costs, and seasonally higher payroll taxes.
Occupancy and equipment expense totaled $17.7 million in the first quarter of 2021, down $0.1 million, or 1%, from the fourth quarter of 2020. Amortization of intangibles totaled $4.4 million for the first quarter of 2021, down $0.2 million, or 4%, linked-quarter.
Other real estate and foreclosed assets (ORE) expense was virtually zero in the first quarter, a decrease of $0.4 million linked-quarter.
Other operating expense totaled $51.3 million in the first quarter of 2021, down $6.8 million, or 12%, linked-quarter, mostly related to nonrecurring hurricane-related expenses and efficiency initiative expenses in the previous quarter.
The effective income tax rate for first quarter 2021 was 19.7%. The effective income tax rate continues to be less than the statutory rate due primarily to tax-exempt income and tax credits.
Common stockholders’ equity at March 31, 2021 totaled $3.4 billion, down $22.1 million, or 1%, from December 31, 2020. The tangible common equity (TCE) ratio was 7.26%, down 38 bps from December 31, 2020, mainly the result of excess liquidity driving balance sheet growth. A full reconciliation of the quarterly change is included in our slide presentation. The company remains well capitalized, with both bank and holding company capital levels in excess of required regulatory minimums. The company’s CET1 ratio is estimated to be 11.02% at March 31, 2021.
Conference Call and Slide Presentation
Management will host a conference call for analysts and investors at 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 to review the results. A live listen-only webcast of the call will be available under the Investor Relations section of Hancock Whitney’s website at investors.hancockwhitney.com. A link to the release with additional financial tables, and a link to a slide presentation related to first quarter results are also posted as part of the webcast link. To participate in the Q&A portion of the call, dial 866-270-1533 or 412-317-0797.
An audio archive of the conference call will be available under the Investor Relations section of our website. A replay of the call will also be available through April 25, 2021 by dialing 877-344-7529 or 412-317-0088, access code 10153345.
About Hancock Whitney
Since the late 1800s, Hancock Whitney has embodied core values of Honor & Integrity, Strength & Stability, Commitment to Service, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility. Hancock Whitney offices and financial centers in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas offer comprehensive financial products and services, including traditional and online banking; commercial and small business banking; private banking; trust and investment services; healthcare banking; certain insurance services; and mortgage services. The company also operates a loan production office in Nashville, Tennessee. BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent bank rating and analysis firm, consistently recommends Hancock Whitney as one of America’s most financially sound banks. More information is available at www.hancockwhitney.com.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
This news release includes non-GAAP financial measures to describe Hancock Whitney’s performance. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered alternatives to GAAP-basis financial statements and other bank holding companies may define or calculate these non-GAAP measures or similar measures differently. The reconciliations of those measures to GAAP measures are provided either in the financial tables or in Appendix A thereto.
Consistent with the provisions of subpart 229.1400 of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation S-K, “Disclosures by Bank and Savings and Loan Registrants”, the company presents net interest income, net interest margin and efficiency ratios on a fully taxable equivalent (“TE”) basis. The TE basis adjusts for the tax-favored status of net interest income from certain loans and investments using the statutory federal tax rate to increase tax-exempt interest income to a taxable equivalent basis. The company believes this measure to be the preferred industry measurement of net interest income and it enhances comparability of net interest income arising from taxable and tax-exempt sources.
The company presents certain additional non-GAAP financial measures to assist the reader with a better understanding of the company’s performance period over period, as well as to provide investors with assistance in understanding the success management has experienced in executing its strategic initiatives. These non-GAAP measures may reference the concept “operating.” The company uses the term “operating” to describe a financial measure that excludes income or expense considered to be nonoperating in nature. Items identified as nonoperating are those that, when excluded from a reported financial measure, provide management or the reader with a measure that may be more indicative of forward-looking trends in the company’s business.
Important Cautionary Statement about Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements that we may make include statements regarding our expectations regarding our performance and financial condition, balance sheet and revenue growth, the provision for credit losses, loan growth expectations, management’s predictions about charge-offs for loans, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and our operations, the adequacy of our enterprise risk management framework, the impact of future business combinations on our performance and financial condition, including our ability to successfully integrate the businesses, success of revenue-generating initiatives, the effectiveness of derivative financial instruments and hedging activities to manage risks, projected tax rates, increased cybersecurity risks, including potential business disruptions or financial losses, the adequacy of our internal controls over financial reporting, the financial impact of regulatory requirements and tax reform legislation (including potential future legislation enacted as a result of the 2020 election), the impact of the change in the referenced rate reform, deposit trends, credit quality trends, the impact of PPP loans and forgiveness on our results, changes in interest rates, net interest margin trends, future expense levels (including the impact of the Voluntary Employee Retirement Program), future profitability, improvements in expense to revenue (efficiency) ratio, purchase accounting impacts, accretion levels and expected returns.
Given the many unknowns and risks being heavily weighted to the downside, our forward-looking statements are subject to the risk that conditions will be substantially different than we are currently expecting. If efforts to contain and inoculate our population against COVID-19 are unsuccessful and restrictions on movement are imposed, the economic impact could continue to be substantial. The COVID-19 outbreak and its consequences, including responsive measures to manage it, have had and are likely to continue to have an adverse effect, possibly materially, on our business and financial performance by adversely affecting, possibly materially, the demand and profitability of our products and services, the valuation of assets and our ability to meet the needs of our customers.
In addition, any statement that does not describe historical or current facts is a forward-looking statement. These statements often include the words “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “plans,” “forecast,” “goals,” “targets,” “initiatives,” “focus,” “potentially,” “probably,” “projects,” “outlook", or similar expressions or future conditional verbs such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “would,” and “could.” Forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of management and on information currently available to management. Our statements speak as of the date hereof, and we do not assume any obligation to update these statements or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those contained in such statements in light of new information or future events. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Any forward-looking statement made in this release is subject to the safe harbor protections set forth in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on such statements. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Part I, “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and in other periodic reports that we file with the SEC.
|HANCOCK WHITNEY CORPORATION|
|QUARTERLY FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS|
Three Months Ended
|(dollars and common share data in thousands, except per share amounts)|
|Net interest income|
|Net interest income (TE) (a)|
|Provision for credit losses|
|Income tax expense (benefit)|
|Net income (loss)|
|For informational purposes - included above, pre-tax|
|Provision for credit loss associated with energy loan sale|
|PERIOD-END BALANCE SHEET DATA|
|Common stockholders' equity|
|AVERAGE BALANCE SHEET DATA|
|Common stockholders' equity|
|COMMON SHARE DATA|
|Earnings (loss) per share - diluted|
|Cash dividends per share|
|Book value per share (period-end)|
|Tangible book value per share (period-end)|
|Weighted average number of shares - diluted|
|Period-end number of shares|
|High sales price|
|Low sales price|
|Period-end closing price|
|Return on average assets|
|Return on average common equity|
|Return on average tangible common equity|
|Tangible common equity ratio (c)|
|Net interest margin (TE)|
|Noninterest income as a percentage of total revenue (TE)|
|Efficiency ratio (d)|
|Average loan/deposit ratio|
|Allowance for loan losses as a percentage of period-end loans|
|Allowance for credit losses as a percentage of period-end loans (e)|
|Annualized net charge-offs to average loans|
|Allowance for loan losses to nonperforming loans + accruing loans 90 days past due|
|(a) Taxable equivalent (TE) amounts are calculated using a federal income tax rate of 21%.|
|(b) Average securities does not include unrealized holding gains/losses on available for sale securities.|
|(c) The tangible common equity ratio is common shareholders' equity less intangible assets divided by total assets less intangible assets.|
|(d) The efficiency ratio is noninterest expense to total net interest income (TE) and noninterest income, excluding amortization of purchased intangibles and nonoperating items.|
|(e) The allowance for credit losses includes the allowance for loan and lease losses and the reserve for unfunded lending commitments.|
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