Sterling Bancorp ( STL )

Q2 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

July 26, 2010 10:00 am ET


Edward Nebb – IR Advisor

John Millman – President

John Tietjen – EVP and CFO


Damon Delmonte – KBW

Lana Chan – BMO Capital Markets

Rick Weiss – Janney

Collyn Gilbert – Stifel Nicolaus

Frank Barkocy – Mendon Capital

Tim Buckley – Evercore

Kyle Kavanaugh – Palisade Capital



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Sterling Bancorp 2010 second quarter conference call. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Investor Relations Advisor, Edward Nebb. Please go ahead, sir.

Edward Nebb

Thank you, Bob. Good morning, everyone. Thank you all for joining us today. Our news release announcing Sterling's second quarter 2010 results was issued prior to the market open this morning. We hope you had an opportunity to review it. The news release is also available on the company's website,

Before turning to the discussion of the company's financial results, let me remind you that any comments made today about future financial results or other future events are forward-looking statements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ substantially from forward-looking statements. The amounts of any dividends in 2010 and beyond will depend on the company's future results of operations, financial condition and other relevant factors. A discussion of the factors that could cause actual results to vary is contained in Sterling's annual and quarterly reports filed with the SEC. We’ll have introductory remarks today from Mr. John Millman, President of Sterling Bancorp and Mr. John Tietjen, Chief Financial Officer. And then after management's remarks, we’ll open up the call to take your questions.

So without further ado, I’ll turn the call over to Mr. John Millman.

John Millman

Thank you, Ed. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our conference call for the second quarter ended June 30, 2010. Sterling's increased profitability for the 2010 second quarter clearly shows the positive effects of our strategies to grow our business and drive increasing shareholder value. We delivered $2.3 million or $0.09 per diluted share and net income available to common shareholders. This represents a significant increase over the year-ago period and brings our earnings to their highest level since the first quarter of 2009.

Assets reached $2.28 billion at June 30, setting an all time record. We are making progress in deploying the capital raised in our March 2010 stock offering to support further growth initiatives. Our strategies continue to focus on growing the business both organically and through acquisitions, deploying our capital in a disciplined manner while maintaining sound asset quality.

Turning to some key trends in our business, we are continuing to experience organic growth in our lending activities. Loan demand is strong and volume is accelerating. Total loans in portfolio increased nearly 15% from a year ago, excluding the leasing portfolio, where we have been intentionally reducing our volume. The growth in newly approved loan facilities shows that Sterling is winning customers from competing institutions that are no longer serving the market due to mergers, capital constraints and other factors.

In addition to our organic growth, we continue to benefit from our acquisition in the 2009 second quarter of an accounts receivable management factoring and import trade finance business, which has given us an entree into new customers and markets. Continuing a recent trend, accounts receivable management, factoring commissions and related fees were up 22.4% from the second quarter of last year.

Early in 2010 second quarter, we announced the formation of our Sterling warehouse lending group, a natural extension of our established capabilities in asset based finance and mortgage lending. This new group provides funding to highly qualified mortgage banking firms. We are very pleased with the progress of this business to-date. The warehouse lending team has established relationships with several mortgage banking counterparties and its volume in terms of funding commitments is in line with our objectives for this business. The results of our mortgage warehouse lending were not significant to our results for the second quarter, but will be an increasing source revenue in future periods.

Sterling's capacity to implement our strategic growth initiatives is supported by a strong capital base. Shareholders equity was further strengthened by our $69 million capital raise in the first quarter and shareholders equity stood at more than $229 million at June 30, 2010. Our tangible common equity rose to 7.33% at June 30, 2010 from 4.47% a year earlier. Book value per common share increased to $7.04 at June 30, 2010 from $6.51 at June 30, 2009.

In addition to rising earnings and strong capital, results for the second quarter demonstrated a continued improvement in credit quality. The loan loss provision for the 2010 second quarter was $5.5 million, the lowest provision in the past six quarters. Our progress in terms of asset quality is also reflected in a number of other key measures.

Net charge-offs for the second quarter were $5 million down from both a $5.6 million level of a year ago and $5.9 million for the 2010 first quarter. The level of non-accrual loans was $18.7 million for the 2010 second quarter down $1.9 million from the same period a year ago. Included in the 2010 amount is one commercial real estate loan of $2,400,000. We experienced decreases in non-accruals for C&I loans, leasing and residential mortgages as well as other real estate owned, comparing to the first and second quarters of this year.

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