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Cost Management Aids Huntington (HBAN), Margin Pressure Ails

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On Aug 31, we issued an updated research report on Huntington Bancshares Incorporated (HBAN - Free Report) . The company has been benefiting from rising loan balances, improving credit quality, cost management and investments through mergers and acquisitions. However, significant exposure to commercial loans along with margin pressure and high debt level is concerning.

The company has been witnessing upward estimate revisions, reflecting analysts’ optimism about its growth prospects. Over the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for its 2020 and 2021 earnings moved north by 37.2% and 4.3%, respectively.

Huntington’s price performance is also encouraging. Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 2.3% in the past three months compared with the industry’s growth of 1.4%.



Looking at its fundamentals, Huntington is focused on cost management. Though non-interest expenses saw a CAGR of 8.3% over the last five years (ended 2019), the same declined in the first six months of 2020. Notably, the company has undertaken an expense-management program, through which it expects to generate $75 million of annual savings in 2020 and 2021.

Huntington witnessed continued growth in deposit balance in the last few years. Also, loans improved, backed by its commendable performance in the commercial and consumer portfolio. Management predicts average loans and leases to remain flat on a linked quarter basis, while average total deposits will likely be down 1%. The company is particularly focused on growing core deposits by acquiring core checking accounts and strengthening customer relationships.

Supported by its robust strong liquidity position, Huntington continues to expand through acquisitions. Over the past few years, the company has expanded its footprint on a number of acquisitions. In 2018, Huntington completed its acquisition of Hutchinson, Shockey, Erley & Co. — a leading public finance investment bank and broker-dealer — which resulted in a larger market presence.

Though margin pressure for Huntington eased in the past years, it declined in 2019 and the first two quarters of 2020 on account of a decline in interest rates. Given, the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy stance and lower yields, the bank’s key metric is likely to remain under pressure in the quarters ahead.

Additionally, Huntington’s loan portfolio consists of nearly 52% of commercial loans. Such high exposure to commercial loans depicts a lack of diversification, which can be risky for the company amid a challenging economy and competitive markets.

Stocks to Consider

TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (AMTD - Free Report) has been witnessing upward estimate revisions for the past 60 days. Moreover, this Zacks #1 Ranked (Strong Buy) stock has lost 1.2% in the past three months. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

E*TRADE Financial Corporation (ETFC - Free Report) has been witnessing upward estimate revisions for the past 60 days. Further, the company’s shares have gained 15.3% in the past three months. At present, it carries a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy).

Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (IBKR - Free Report) has been witnessing upward estimate revisions for the past 60 days. Additionally, the stock has jumped 23.6% in three months’ time. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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