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FDIC-Insured Banks' Q1 Earnings Up on Higher NII, Two Banks Fail

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The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”)-insured commercial banks and savings institutions reported first-quarter 2023 earnings of $79.8 billion, jumping 33.6% year over year. The increase was primarily attributable to a solid improvement in net interest income, which more than offset the rise in provisions and non-interest expenses.

Banks, with assets worth more than $10 billion, accounted for a major part of earnings in the March-ended quarter. Though such banks constitute only 3% of the total number of FDIC-insured institutes, these account for approximately 80% of the industry’s earnings. Some of the notable names in this space are JPMorgan (JPM - Free Report) , Bank of America (BAC - Free Report) , Citigroup (C - Free Report) and Wells Fargo (WFC - Free Report) .

At present, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

A rise in net operating revenues driven by solid growth in net interest income and an increase in non-interest income acted as a major tailwind. Also, higher interest rates and decent loan demand offered support.

Nonetheless, banks’ earnings were adversely impacted by higher provisions on expectations of a deteriorating operating backdrop. Further, a rise in non-interest expenses and lower deposit balance were headwinds.

Community banks, constituting 91% of all FDIC-insured institutions, reported a net income of $7 billion, up 6.1% year over year.

The return on average assets in first-quarter 2023 rose to 1.36% from 1.16% as of Mar 31, 2022.

Net Operating Revenues & Expenses Rise

Net operating revenues came in at $261.7 billion, up 21.9% year over year.

Net interest income (NII) was $175.7 billion, increasing 27.3% year over year.

Net interest margin (NIM) jumped 77 basis points (bps) to 3.31%, which is above the pre-pandemic average of 3.25%. JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo also witnessed an increase in NIM.

Non-interest income grew 12.2% to $86 billion.

Total non-interest expenses were $141.3 billion, increasing 5.6%. The rise was mainly due to higher compensation expenses.

Despite the rise in expenses, the banking industry recorded a fall in efficiency ratio to 53% in the first quarter from 62% in the prior-year quarter. This was mainly attributable to “strong growth in net interest income.”

Credit Quality Deteriorating

Net charge-offs (NCOs) for loans and leases were $12.4 billion, surging 97.5% year over year. NCO rate was 0.41% in the first quarter, up 19 bps from the prior-year quarter. Despite the increase, the NCO rate was below the pre-pandemic average of 0.48%.

Provisions for credit losses were $20.7 billion during the first quarter, up substantially from $5.2 billion in the year-ago quarter. Several lenders, including JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, reported higher provisions.

Loans & Deposits Fall

As of Mar 31, 2023, total loans and leases were $12.21 trillion, which declined marginally from the prior quarter. This was majorly due to loans transferred to the FDIC as receiver and a seasonal fall in credit card loan balances.

Total deposits amounted to $18.74 trillion, down 2.5% sequentially, mainly due to an 8.3% decrease in uninsured deposits. This marked the largest fall on a quarterly basis and the fourth consecutive quarterly decline.  

As of Mar 31, 2023, the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) balance decreased 9.5% from the December 2022 level to $116.1 billion. A decline in the DIF was largely due to loss provisions because of the failure of two banks and amounts set aside for the anticipated failure of First Republic Bank.

Two Bank Failures, One New Bank

During the reported quarter, two banks – Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank – failed, while one new bank was added. Further, 31 banks were absorbed following mergers.

As of Mar 31, 2023, the number of ‘problem’ banks was 45, up from 41 in the prior quarter. Total assets of the ‘problem’ institutions increased to $58 billion from $47.5 billion reported in the fourth quarter of 2022.


The FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, said, “The banking industry continues to face significant downside risks from the effects of inflation, rising market interest rates, slower economic growth, and geopolitical uncertainty. Credit quality and profitability may weaken due to these risks and may result in a further tightening of loan underwriting, slower loan growth, higher provision expenses, and liquidity constraints.”

Though rising deposit costs will weigh on banks’ top-line growth, higher interest rates and decent loan demand will offer much-needed support going forward. Also, banks have been changing the revenue mix toward non-interest sources, which are likely to provide additional support to revenues. Nonetheless, a worsening macroeconomic environment is expected to weigh on banks’ financials in the near term.

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