M&T Bank Corporation (MTB - Free Report) pulled off fourth-quarter 2019 positive earnings surprise of 3.7% on higher mortgage banking revenues. Earnings per share of $3.60 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.47. However, the bottom line compares unfavorably with $3.76 reported in year-ago quarter.
The company’s results were supported by higher fee income and improved loans balance. Further, strong capital position was a tailwind. However, rise in expenses and deteriorating credit metrics were key concerns.
Net income for the quarter was $493 million, down 10% from the $546 million recorded a year ago.
On an operating basis, M&T Bank reported fourth-quarter net income of $496 million or $3.62 per share compared with $550 million or $3.79 in the prior-year quarter.
For full-year 2019, M&T Bank reported net income of $1.93 billion or $13.75 per share compared with $1.92 billion or $12.74 in the previous year.
Revenues Decline, Loans Climb, Expenses Escalate
M&T Bank’s revenues came in at $1.53 billion, marginally down from the year-ago quarter. Also, it surpassed the consensus estimate of $1.52 billion.
For 2019, the company reported revenues of $6.19 billion, up 4.4% year over year. Further, it topped the consensus estimate of $6.17 billion.
Taxable-equivalent net interest income declined 5% year over year to $1.01 billion in the quarter. The fall stemmed from lower net interest margin, partially offset by higher average earning assets. Net interest margin contracted 14 basis points (bps) to 3.64%.
The company’s non-interest income came in at $521 million, up 8% year over year. Higher mortgage banking revenues, trust income, trading account and foreign exchange gains, along with service charges on deposit accounts, primarily led to this upsurge.
Non-interest expenses totaled $824 million, up 3% from the prior-year quarter. Excluding certain non-operating items, non-interest operating expenses were $819 million, up 2.8%. This upside mainly stemmed from rise in almost all components of expenses, partly mitigated by lower amortization of core deposit and other intangible assets.
Efficiency ratio came in at 53.1%, up from the 51.7% recorded in the prior-year quarter. A higher ratio indicates fall in profitability.
Loans and leases, net of unearned discount, came in at $90.9 billion at the end of the reported quarter, up 1.2% from the prior quarter. However, total deposits declined marginally to $94.8 billion.
M&T Bank's net operating income indicated an annualized rate of return on average tangible assets and average tangible common shareholder equity of 1.67% and 19.08%, respectively, compared with 1.93% and 22.16% recorded in the prior-year quarter.
Deteriorating Credit Quality
For M&T Bank, credit metrics deteriorated during the October-December quarter. Provision for credit losses rose 42% on a year-over-year basis to $54 million. Also, net charge-offs of loans were $41 million, up 9%.
The ratio of non-accrual loans to total net loans was 1.06%, up 5 bps year over year. Non-performing assets increased 8% to $1.05 billion.
M&T Bank’s estimated Common Equity Tier 1 to risk-weighted assets under regulatory capital rules were 9.72%. Tangible equity per share came in at $75.44, up 8.9% year over year from $69.28.
During the December-ended quarter, M&T Bank repurchased a total of 1.72 million shares of its common stock for a total cost of $282 million, at an average price of $163.69 per share.
In 2019, the company repurchased 8.26 million shares for a total cost of $1.35 billion.
M&T Bank’s results displayed a decent performance in the quarter. Rise in loans balance continues to aid revenues. However, deterioration in credit quality was a major headwind. Additionally, rise in expenses and fall in margin were concerns. Nevertheless, we believe the company, with its sturdy business model and strategic acquisitions, is well poised for growth.
M&T Bank Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Currently, M&T Bank carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Performance of Other Banks
Signature Bank (SBNY - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2019 earnings of $2.78 per share, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.69. However, the bottom line decreased 5.4% from the prior-year quarter’s reported figure.
Regions Financial Corporation’s (RF - Free Report) fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of 40 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 39 cents. Moreover, the figure reflects 5.3% rise year over year.
People's United Financial Inc. (PBCT - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2019 operating earnings of 37 cents per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 33 cents. Also, the bottom line increased 2.8% year over year.
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