The bank also expects commercial and industrial loan growth to continue, as the "C&I sales pipeline remains robust with much of this reflecting the positive impact from our strategic initiatives, focused OCR sales process, and continued support of middle market and small business lending in the Midwest."
Average loans and leases totaled $40.1 billion as of Sept. 30, declining 3% from the previous quarter, although they increased from 2% from a year earlier. Average commercial and industrial loans increased 2% sequentially and 20% year-over-year, to $16.3 billion. Contributing to the decline if the loan portfolio was a "$0.9 billion decrease in average automobile loans, reflecting the prior quarter's reclassification of $1.3 billion of automobile loans into held for sale, and a $0.4 billion decrease in commercial real estate loans."
The company completed a securitization of auto loans in October, which will boost its fourth-quarter results.
The bank's focus continues to be on building its core deposits, particularly noninterest bearing checking account deposits, which grew 2% during the third quarter and 41% year-over-year, to $12.3 billion.Steinour says that "we've added more than 250,000 households in the last two years, which puts us at a rate to double in roughly eight years without acquisitions. Importantly, the total household base every month is buying more products and services from us." In the company's earnings release, Steinour said that "not only are we gaining customers, we are selling deeper with 76% of consumer checking account households and 33% of commercial relationships now with 4 or more products or services." Huntington's noninterest expenses increased to $458.3 million during the third quarter, from $444.3 million the previous quarter, and $439.1 million a year earlier. The company said that the sequential increase in expenses reflected "higher healthcare costs and a $4.4 million increase in the cost associated with early extinguishment of debt including the trust preferred securities" redeemed during the third quarter, and also "$4.5 million of expense related to the development of infrastructure and systems to support the Federal Reserve CCAR process." CCAR stands Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review, which is the Federal Reserve's annual stress test process.