PNC Financial Services Group (PNC)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 19, 2011 10:00 am ET


William H. Callihan - Senior Vice President and Director of Investor Relations

Richard J. Johnson - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

James E. Rohr - Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Risk Committee


Gerard S. Cassidy - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Matthew O'Connor - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

John E. McDonald - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Leanne Erika Penala - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Christopher Gamaitoni - Compass Point Research & Trading, LLC

David A. George - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Paul J. Miller - FBR Capital Markets & Co., Research Division

Kenneth M. Usdin - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Betsy Graseck - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Brian Foran - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Todd L. Hagerman - Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., Research Division

Ed Najarian - ISI Group Inc., Research Division



Good morning. My name is Brian, and I'll be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the PNC Financial Services Group Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this call is being recorded. I would now like to turn the call over to Director of Investor Relations, Mr. Bill Callihan. Please go ahead, sir.

William H. Callihan

Thank you, and good morning. Welcome to our conference call today for the PNC Financial Services Group. Participating on this call are PNC's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Rohr; and Rick Johnson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Today's presentation contains forward-looking information. Actual results and future events could differ possibly materially from those anticipated in our statements and from historical performance due to a variety of risks and other factors. Information about such factors, as well as GAAP reconciliation and other information or non-GAAP financial measures we discussed is included in today's conference call, earnings release, related presentation materials and in our 10-K and 10-Q and various other SEC filings and investor materials. These are all available on our corporate website at under the Investor Relations section. These statements speak only as of October 19, 2011, and PNC undertakes no obligation to update them.

Now I'd like to turn the call over to Jim Rohr.

James E. Rohr

Thank you, Bill. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. First of all, I'd just like to say that we're pleased with the quarter. We believe it's a very good quarter in an environment where we have very slow economic growth and clearly, interest rates continue to be a challenge. We saw good loan growth, good customer growth and we saw credit quality trends that continue to go in the right direction. So we're very pleased with the quarter.

In the presentation today, I'll talk about PNC's third quarter financial accomplishments, and I think we believe that given the trends that we've seen, we believe that PNC is well positioned to deliver short- as well as long-term value.

Last month, I outlined strategic priorities in this current environment, which we know what kind of environment is very well. And we are focused on 4 things. One, growing customers, managing risk, managing expenses and managing our capital. And I think our strong third quarter performance demonstrates progress in all of these areas.

We earned $834 million in net income or $1.55 per diluted common share. Second, due to our innovative product offerings and our strong cross-selling ability, we grew the number of customers we serve at record levels. In fact, our retail checking relationships and corporate business clients are growing faster than we have ever expected, and we continue to deepen our relationships with them.

Thirdly, due to our success in adding new clients and improved utilization from existing ones, we saw a strong commercial loan growth of $3.7 billion in the quarter. And consumer loans grew an additional $500 million during the quarter. Our overall credit metrics showed significant improvement on a year-over-year basis. Our balance sheet remained highly liquid and core funded with an 82% loan-to-deposit ratio, and our expenses were well managed, reflecting our focus on continuous improvement while continuing to invest in our businesses.

Our strong Tier 1 common ratio is estimated to be 10.5%, which held steady from the second quarter. The third quarter benefited from retained earnings. That benefit was offset by higher risk-weighted assets, primarily from loan growth. Overall, our Tier 1 common ratio remains very strong, and we believe we are well positioned for the Basel capital requirements.

And last but not least in the quarter, we issued $1 billion in preferred stock in July, which enhanced our Tier 1 ratio, and we also issued $1.25 billion in debt in the third quarter, further improving our liquidity. Overall, we produced excellent results during the first 3 quarters, and we believe this will be another strong year for PNC.

So let's turn to the business segments. Our business segments reported strong third quarter results as well. Let's begin with Retail Banking. Now we recognize that customer banking trends are changing as check-writing continues to decline and technology, including tablets and smartphones, becomes more popular. Our Virtual Wallet meets those needs and is helping to drive our customer growth.

In the third quarter, we added an average of 10,000 new Virtual Wallet customers per week, a significant increase from the second quarter average of 6,000 per week. In some weeks, a number of the new accounts reached as high as 14,000 due to new student accounts. Our Virtual Wallet website was also ranked as the best bank website for user experience in 2011 when compared to 14 other major competitors.

We also, on the retail side, we launched a new suite of checking and credit card products in late March. And we're seeing stronger acceptance by new and existing customers. In fact, an average of nearly 70% of new checking accounts that were opened in August and September were relationship accounts, and only 30% of the new customers opted for free checking. That's exactly the mix we hope to achieve as relationship to customers, in general, produced 2x to 3x more revenue than free checking account customers. We are reaching that goal much sooner than we had expected.

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