First Republic Bank (FRC)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 18, 2012 2:00 pm ET


Dianne Snedaker - EVP and CMO

Jim Herbert - Chairman and CEO

Katherine August-deWilde - President and COO

Willis Newton - CFO


Dave Rochester - Deutsche Bank

Ken Zerbe - Morgan Stanley

Erika Penala - Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Joe Morford - RBC Capital Markets

Aaron Deer - Sandler O'Neill & Partners

Chris McGratty - KBW

Lana Chan - BMO Capital Markets

Casey Haire - Jefferies & Company

Brian Zabora - Stifel Nicolaus

Tim Coffey - FIG Partners

Mikhail Goberman - Portales Partners



Welcome to the First Republic Bank first quarter 2012 earnings conference call. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the call over to Dianne Snedaker, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.

Dianne Snedaker

Thank you, and welcome to First Republic Bank's first quarter 2012 conference call. Speaking today will be the Bank's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Herbert; President and Chief Operating Officer, Katherine August-deWilde; and Chief Financial Officer, Willis Newton.

Before I hand the call over to Jim, please note that any forward-looking statements made during this call are made as of today are based on management's current expectations and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. Potential risks and uncertainties that can cause the bank's business and financial results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements are described in the bank's periodic reports filed with the FDIC including the bank's current report on Form 8-K filed today.

In addition, some of the financial information discussed on this call includes non-GAAP financial measures. The bank's earnings release which was issued this morning and is available on the bank's website, presents reconciliations to the appropriate GAAP measures and explains why the bank believes such measures are useful to investors.

And now, I'd like to turn the call over to Jim Herbert.

Jim Herbert

Thank you, Dianne, and thanks to everyone for joining our call today. We are very pleased with our first quarter results. Loan, deposits, bank and wealth management asset growth were all very strong and credit quality remains excellent. First Republic is experiencing considerable success in attracting clients across all of its businesses and markets, particularly in the San Francisco Bay area, where economic activity is very robust.

Our first quarter results point to the underlying strength of the franchise even as we continue to make considerable investments and new personnel and offices. Katherine will speak more about this in a moment.

I'd like to briefly summarize the numbers for the quarter. Core earnings per share excluding all purchase accounting adjustments were up 20% year-over-year to $0.49 a share. Core net income was up 25% to $68 million. Loan volume for the quarter totaled $3.2 billion. This is our largest first quarter ever and was 70% higher than the first quarter a year ago.

Loans outstanding increased by 3% during the quarter. Deposits rose by 4% during the quarter. Total wealth management assets grew by 8% during the quarter. This was the result of both a strong market as well as significant new client additions. Quite importantly, our asset quality remained strong. Non-performing assets remained at a very low 11 basis points of total asset, less than one-eighth of 1%.

At quarter end the bank continues to exceed all the current regulatory guidelines to be well capitalized. Our Tier 1 leverage ratio was 9.48%. This includes our newly issued noncumulative perpetual preferred stock, which added a net $164 million of Tier 1 capital in the quarter.

First Republic's performance is primarily the result of its concentrated focus on exceptional client service coupled with a very disciplined asset underwriting. It is also the result of meaningful improvement and economic conditions in our six, very carefully chosen, coastal geographic market. In short, the bank continues to perform very well.

On that note, I am particularly pleased to announce that in light of our continuing strong performance we would expect, subject to Board's declaration, and begin paying a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share following the second quarter of this year. All dividend payments beyond 2012 will be subject to ongoing regulatory oversight.

Now, let me turn the call over to Katherine.

Katherine August-deWilde

Thank you, Jim. Growth in the quarter was strong across all of our businesses, deposits, loan, and wealth management. We're pleased with the success of our deposit taking initiative in the first quarter. Total deposits grew to $23.3 billion. Importantly, mix of deposits continued to grow and were up 7% in the quarter. Checking balances are more than $10 billion and represents 43% of total deposits.

We saw growth across all of our deposit taking channels during the quarter. Deposits in our banking offices were up 2%. Preferred banking deposits those sourced by Relationship Managers and business bankers were up 6% and deposits from wealth management client were up 4%.

Looking at real-estate markets in our specially selected geographies, home values are relatively strong. Los Angeles is improving and Boston and New York are doing well. The San Francisco Bay Area with its economy and robust technology sector is very strong. Home purchase activity in the Bay Area is accelerating. Inventory is limited and multiple offers are becoming common. We are very well positioned in San Francisco and Silicon Valley and stand to gain from the increased economic activity in the region.

Our average loan balance has grew 6% in the first quarter of 2012. Home loans were 59% of total in the quarter and of those 29% were for home purchases. For the past several quarters, purchases have been about one-third of home loan origination and our pipeline remains very strong.

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