Washington Federal’s (WAFD - Free Report) first-quarter fiscal 2020 (ended Dec 31) adjusted earnings came in at 58 cents per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 60 cents. Results exclude the net positive impact of two significant non-recurring items.
Including such items, net income was $65.7 million or 84 cents per share compared with $52.9 million or 65 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.
Results reflect increase in revenues and improving credit quality. However, higher expenses, decline in loan and deposit balances, and shrinking margins were the undermining factors.
Revenues Up, Expenses Rise
Net revenues came in at $166.1 million, up 20.2% from the year-ago quarter. The figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $135.3 million by a wide margin.
Net interest income was $119.7 million, marginally up from the year-ago quarter. However, net interest margin declined 6 basis points (bps) to 3.15%.
Total other income of $46.4 million increased considerably from the prior-year quarter. This upside was mainly driven by increase in other income and loan fee income.
Operating expenses were up 15.3% year over year to $82.6 million. Higher compensation and benefits, occupancy, product delivery and information technology expenses led to this rise.
The company’s adjusted efficiency ratio was 57.05% up from 51.88% recorded a year ago. A rise in efficiency ratio indicates deterioration in profitability.
At the end of the fiscal first quarter, return on average common equity was 12.89%, up from 10.64% witnessed at the end of the prior-year quarter. Return on average assets was 1.60%, up from 1.32%.
As of Dec 31, 2019, both net loans receivables and customer deposit accounts amounted to $11.9 billion, marginally down from the prior quarter.
Credit Quality Improves
As of Dec 31, 2019, the ratio of non-performing assets to total assets was 0.24%, down 3 bps sequentially. Furthermore, release for loan losses increased to $1 million from $0.5 million recorded a year ago.
Additionally, allowance for loan losses and reserve for unfunded commitments were 1.04% of gross loans outstanding, unchanged from the figure recorded in the prior quarter.
Share Repurchase Update
During the quarter, Washington Federal repurchased 0.9 million shares at weighted average price of $36.62 per share.
Washington Federal’s efforts to grow organically, an improving economy and rising loan demand are likely to support revenues. Also, the company’s impressive credit quality will support financials. However, persistently rising expenses are expected to hamper the bank’s bottom-line growth.
Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Earnings Release Dates of Peers
Associated Banc-Corp (ASB - Free Report) and BankUnited, Inc. (BKU - Free Report) are scheduled to announce fourth-quarter 2019 results on Jan 23, while Prosperity Bancshares, Inc. (PB - Free Report) is slated to report on Jan 29.
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