Comerica Incorporated (CMA)

Q2 2010 Earnings Call

July 21, 2010 08:00 am ET


Darlene Persons - Director of IR

Ralph Babb - Chairman and CEO

Beth Acton - EVP and CFO

John Killian - EVP and CCO

Dale Greene - EVP of Business Bank


Ken Zerbe - Morgan Stanley

Steven Alexopoulos - JPMorgan

Craig Siegenthaler - Credit Suisse

Dave Rochester - FBR Capital Markets

Brian Foran - Goldman Sachs

Brian Klock - KBW

Jed Gore - Diamondback

Ian Foley - Bank of America



Good morning, my name is [Jenica] and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the Comerica’s second quarter 2010 earnings conference call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speaker’s remarks there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions). Thank you.

I would now like to turn the call over to Miss Darlene Persons, Director of Investor Relations. You may begin.

Darlene Persons

Thank you, Jenica. Good morning and welcome to Comerica’s second quarter 2010 earnings conference call. Participating on this call will be our Chairman Ralph Babb; our Chief Financial Officer, Beth Acton; our Chief Credit Officer, John Killian; and Dale Greene, Executive Vice President of the Business Bank.

A copy of our press release and presentation slides are available on the SEC’s website, as well as on the investor relations section of our website. Before we can start it, I would like to remind you that this conference call contains forward-looking statements, and in that regard, you should be mindful of the risks and uncertainties that can cause future results to vary from expectations.

Forward-looking statements state only as of the date of this presentation and we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. I refer you to the Safe Harbor Statement contained in the release issued today, as well as slide two of this presentation which I incorporate into this call as well as our filings with the SEC. Also, this conference call will reference non-GAAP measures, in that regard, I will direct you to the reconciliation of these measures within this presentation. Now, I’ll turn the call over to Ralph.

Ralp h Babb

Good morning. Today we reported second quarter net income of $70 million or $0.39 per share. Second quarter total revenue increased over the first quarter and was up almost 5% compared to the second quarter last year, excluding securities gains. Our financial results will reflect the positive trends we have seen over several quarters. This includes three consecutive quarters of broad based improvement in credit quality with leading indicators of future credit quality also pointing positive. Our net interest margin continued to expand and our expenses remain well controlled.

We have strong capital and liquidity to support future growth with the flexibility to grow organically, as well as by acquisition. We continue to reach out to our customers taking their pulse on the economy, their current financial needs and future plans. As a relationship-focused ‘Main Street’ bank, this type of proactive outreach is how we differentiate ourselves. Since the onset of the economic downturn, we stepped-up our calling efforts to be sure we were ideally positioned to assist our customers in navigating the economic environment and to meet their needs as the economy improves.

While the pace of the economic recovery remains uncertain and our customer remain cautious, they are preparing for future growth. This is reflected in our loan pipeline, which is at its highest level in more than two years. Also, economic factors which support loan growth such as business, fixed investment and inventories continue to rise. We view these as encouraging and hopeful signs for the future.

The Middle Market banking teams and all of our markets report they are seeing more opportunities again due to the consistent calling efforts of our relationship managers and executive teams. The resulting new business gains include customers and prospects with an eye on acquisitions or expansions. These are full service relationships with good companies that look to us as a trusted financial advisor. We continue to see good opportunities in Texas and are adding a new small business Healthcare Profession Group to capitalize on this growing segment.

In California, our Technology and Life Sciences division has seen an increase in opportunities too, including the recent addition of more than 35 customers in the alternative energy sector. As the economy continues to improve, technology and life sciences firms are turning to Comerica because of our experience and expertise in serving this segment.

In Michigan, backlogs are continuing to grow and we are getting more interest from prospects as the economy continues to improve in that state. New and renewed loan commitments for our bank as a whole totaled $10.5 billion in the second quarter, reflecting an uptick in new commitments and the seasonality of renewals. The pace of decline in loan outstandings continued to slow in the second quarter. We are pleased to see that line utilization has remained relatively stable since the middle of the first quarter.

Second quarter average core deposits increased $1.7 billion from the first quarter. The continued broad based improvement in credit quality reflects our early recognition of issues and our ability to quickly and proactively work through problem loans. Overall, charge-offs declined in the second quarter with a notable decrease in commercial real estate charge-offs. The pace of improvement in credit quality is significant and faster than we had expected. A key indicator of future credit quality is our watch list loans, which are down $851 million from the first quarter. As a result of the positive trends we have seen, we have reduced our charge-off outlook for full-year 2010.

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