Bank earnings solid in 1Q

Earnings released this week for banks with a presence in the Milwaukee market have been generally positive.

Chicago-based Northern Trust Corp. Tuesday reported first quarter net income of $181.4 million, or 75 cents per share, up from $169.7 million, or 67 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2013.

Revenue was $1.04 billion, up 7 percent from $976.4 million in the same period a year ago.

“Our first quarter 2013 results improved compared to a year ago with trust, investment and other servicing fees increasing 8 percent, total revenue increasing 7 percent and net income and earnings per share increasing 11 and 12 percent, respectively,” said Frederick Waddell, chairman and chief executive officer of Northern Trust. “We also experienced strong growth in client assets under custody and under management of 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively.”

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp reported first quarter net income of $1.39 million, or 73 cents per share, up slightly from $1.42 million, or 73 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2013.

Total net revenue was $4.8 million, flat from $4.8 million in the same period a year ago.

“Our first quarter earnings … demonstrated our company’s ability to generate strong results in the face of a slow-growing and uncertain economy,” said Richard Davis, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp. “Our industry-leading returns on average assets of 1.56 percent and average common equity of 14.6 percent, combined with our strong efficiency ratio of 52.9 percent, remain among the top performance ratios in our peer group. Our performance clearly reflects the advantage of our diversified business mix and disciplined expense management which has enabled us to withstand the revenue challenges facing our industry in this slow-growth economy.”

Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc. reported first quarter net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.82 per share, up from $995 million, or $1.74 per share, in the first quarter of 2013.

But total revenue was just $3.7 million, down 5 percent from $3.9 million in the same period a year ago. The company attributed the drop to lower net interest income, because there were fewer days in the quarter and the bank has achieved lower returns on loans and securities while holding higher borrowed funds balances.

“PNC had a successful first quarter – our fourth straight quarter with net income of $1 billion or more,” said William S. Demchak, president and chief executive officer. “We grew loans and deposits, and we lowered expenses even as we continue to make investments across our businesses to enhance the customer experience and become more efficient. Based on the strength of our performance and balance sheet, we were pleased to announce plans to return more capital to our shareholders through a 9 percent increase in our quarterly dividend and reinstituted share repurchase programs.”

All of the banks mentioned increasing productivity and efficiency while investing in the people and technology needed to advance in today’s banking and regulatory environment.

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