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PNC Financial's


fourth-quarter earnings jumped 12% from a year ago, driven by double-digit growth in its loan and deposit balances.

The bank earned $307 million, or $1.08 a share, in the quarter, compared with $274 million, or 98 cents a share, last year. Analysts had been forecasting $1.04 in the quarter.

PNC said average loan balances jumped 17% in the fourth quarter from last year to $6.3 billion, while average deposit balances rose 16% to $7.1 billion. PNC's ratio of nonperforming loans to total loans was 0.33% at the end of the 2004 quarter compared with 0.73% a year ago.

The company's noninterest income totaled $904 million for the fourth quarter of 2004 compared with $861 million a year ago, reflecting higher asset management and fund servicing fees, higher gains on sales of commercial mortgages and higher capital markets fees.

The stock gained 95 cents, or 1.7%, to $55.60 on Instinet.