Back to the Banks
The KBW Bank Index ( I:BKX) rose 1% to close at 53.90, with all but three of the 24 index components showing gains for the session. Shares of Bank of America ( BAC) were up 2% to close at $11.35, reversing their 5% slide during the previous two sessions. The company on Thursday reported meager fourth-quarter earnings of three cents a share, springing from its large mortgage putback settlement with Fannie Mae ( FNMA) and its portion of the $8.5 billion foreclosure settlement between federal regulators and the largest mortgage loan servicers. With "27 of the top 100 regional banks" having reported their fourth-quarter results through Friday, Oppenheimer analyst Terry McEvoy said in a note on Monday that "revenue increased 10.7% annualized in 4Q12 vs. 4.9% in the prior quarter. With net interest income flat, the growth is coming from fee income largely on the strength of mortgage banking. The ability of banks to increase net interest income in '13 will rest on whether loan growth can offset
Regions Financial of Birmingham, Ala., reported adjusted fourth-quarter operating earnings of $311 million, or 22 cents a share, beating the consensus estimate 21 cents. The adjusted earnings excluded roughly $42 million in pretax costs for the termination of a third-party investment in a REIT subsidiary. Fourth-quarter GAAP earnings available to common shareholders were $261 million, or 18 cents a share, compared to $312 million, or 21 cents a share, in the third quarter, and a net loss to common shareholders of $135 million, or 48 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2011. Fourth-quarter net interest income was $818 million, increasing slightly from $817 million the previous quarter, but declining from $849 million a year earlier. The net interest margin -- the spread between the average yield on loans and investments and the average cost for deposits and borrowings -- was a tax-adjusted 3.10% in the fourth quarter, widening from 3.08%, both in the third quarter and in the fourth-quarter of 2011. While the company's average total loans declined 1% sequentially and 5% year-over-year to $74.622 billion in the fourth quarter as commercial real estate and residential mortgage loans continued to decline, average commercial and industrial loans grew 1% quarter-over-quarter and 9% year-over-year, to $26.414 billion. Meanwhile, average indirect auto loans grew by 7% sequentially and 26% year-over-year, to $2.295 billion in the fourth quarter.