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Fulton Financial's CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

In our last call, I said that during this extended period of slow economic activity, we are focused on managing our assets effectively to generate increased earnings per share and not growing assets by taking undue risk. In the news release, you saw that we increased our return on average assets again this quarter by 6 basis points to 0.97%.

I also mentioned the importance of our return on equity last time. This quarter we saw improvement in both our returns on common and tangible common equity. Our capital position remains strong. We intend to deploy that capital profitably for the right opportunities at the right time. However, until we see stronger indications that the economy is rebounding and until those right opportunities present themselves, we will build capital through organically-generated retained earnings and deploy it prudently to support future organic growth and potential future dividend increases.

Residential mortgage sale gains contributed nicely to non-interest income again this quarter. The persistently low interest rate environment along with our excellent reputation as a mortgage lender in our markets has enabled us to maintain a steady level of both refinanced and purchased activity. Our reputation is also helpful as we seek to attract and hire additional mortgage originators throughout our footprint to help us grow our mortgage business.

You will also recall last quarter we talked about the traction we saw in our investment management and brokerage businesses. This quarter, those lines were negatively impacted by the recent market volatility and by a reduction in new brokerage account activity.

In the credit area, we were pleased to see a reduction in our provision for credit losses this quarter. In the past, we've used the word lumpy to characterize our return to stronger asset quality metrics over time. We believe that description is still appropriate, so we'll provide more credit detail in a few minutes.

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