Hancock Whitney Corporation’s ( HWC Quick Quote HWC - Free Report) fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of $1.51 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.35. The bottom line improved 29% from the prior-year quarter. Results benefited from higher non-interest income, fall in non-interest expenses and provision benefit. However, a decline in net interest income, which reflected lower interest rates, was the undermining factor. Results excluded the impact of non-operating items. Including these, net income came in at $137.7 million, up 32.9% from the prior-year quarter. In 2021, Hancock Whitney’s earnings of $5.22 per share surpassed the consensus estimate of $4.98 and were up from the loss of 54 cents in the prior year. Net income was $463.2 million against a loss of $45.2 million in 2020. Revenues and Expenses Fall
Total quarterly revenues were $318.9 million, down marginally year over year. The top line also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $321.7 million.
In 2021, net revenues increased 2.4% to $1.29 billion. However, the top line lagged the consensus estimate of $1.30 billion. Net interest income on a tax-equivalent basis declined 3.9% to $231.9 million. Net interest margin ("NIM") (on a tax-equivalent basis) was 2.80%, contracting 42 basis points (bps). Non-interest income was $89.6 million, growing 8.8% year over year. The rise was driven by a jump in almost all fee income components, except for secondary mortgage market operations fees. Total non-interest expenses declined 5.5% to $182.5 million. The decline was mainly attributable to lower other expenses, net occupancy and equipment expenses, as well as personnel expenses.
Efficiency ratio decreased to 56.57% from 58.23% in the year-ago quarter. A decline in efficiency ratio indicates an improvement in profitability.
As of Dec 31, 2021, total loans were $21.1 billion, up 1.2% from the prior-quarter end. Total deposits increased 4.3% to $30.5 billion. Credit Quality Improves
Provision for loan losses was a benefit of $28.4 million against a provision of $24.2 million in the prior-year quarter. Net charge-offs (annualized) were 0.01% of average total loans, down 43 bps from the year-ago quarter.
Total non-performing assets plunged 57.1% from the prior-year quarter to $66.8 million. Capital & Profitability Ratios Improve
As of Dec 31, 2021, Tier 1 leverage ratio was 8.25%, up from 7.88% at the end of the year-earlier quarter. Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 11.16%, up from 10.61% as of Dec 31, 2020.
At the end of the fourth quarter, return on average assets was 1.53%, up from the year-ago period’s 1.25%. Return on average common equity was 15%, up from 12.1% in the prior-year quarter. Share Repurchase Update
During the quarter under review, Hancock Whitney repurchased 393,527 shares at an average price of $48.98 per share.
Management projects core loans to grow 6-8%.
The company expects deposits to be flat to slightly down. NIM is expected to remain stable to slightly down through mid-2022 and then rise. The tax rate is expected to be in the quarterly range of 19-20% without any changes in tax laws. Our Take
Supported by a solid balance-sheet position and an improving credit quality, Hancock Whitney remains well poised for growth. However, near-zero interest rates and a risky loan portfolio are near-term concerns.
Currently, Hancock Whitney carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see
. the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here Earnings Release Schedule of Other Banks Associated Banc-Corp ( ASB Quick Quote ASB - Free Report) is scheduled to release fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 results on Jan 20. Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Associated Banc-Corp’s quarterly earnings has remained unchanged at 43 cents. This implies a 7.5% increase from the prior-year quarter. Bank OZK ( OZK Quick Quote OZK - Free Report) is scheduled to release fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 results on Jan 20. Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Bank OZK’s quarterly earnings has remained unchanged at 98 cents. This suggests a 5.4% increase from the prior-year quarter. East West Bancorp, Inc. ( EWBC Quick Quote EWBC - Free Report) , is slated to report fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 results on Jan 27. Over the past 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for East West Bancorp’s quarterly earnings has remained unchanged at $1.55. This indicates a 34.8% increase from the prior-year quarter.