Market Overview

Bank Mutual Corporation Reports Net Income for the Third Quarter of 2017

Share:

MILWAUKEE, Oct. 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bank Mutual Corporation (NASDAQ:BKMU) reported net income of $3.8 million or $0.08 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2017 compared to $4.5 million or $0.10 per diluted share in the same quarter of last year.  Year-to-date in 2017, Bank Mutual Corporation ("Bank Mutual") reported net income of $11.7 million or $0.25 per diluted share compared to $12.9 million or $0.28 per diluted share in the same nine-month period in 2016.  During the third quarter of 2017 Bank Mutual recorded $1.3 million in expenses related to its pending merger with Associated Banc-Corp ("Associated,") (NYSE:ASB), which was announced on July 20, 2017.  Bank Mutual's results in the 2017 periods were favorably impacted by higher net interest income, reduced provision for loan losses, higher gains on sales of real estate held for investment, lower advertising and marketing expenses, and a decline in other non-interest expenses in the 2017 periods compared to the same periods in 2016.  In addition, the third quarter of 2017 was favorably impacted by lower net losses and expenses on foreclosed real estate compared to net losses in the same period of the previous year.  These favorable developments were largely offset by lower deposit-related fees, reduced mortgage banking revenue, and a decrease in loan-related fees compared to the same periods in 2016.  In addition, the 2017 periods included a $197,000 loss on the sale of five retail branch offices and related loans and deposits to another financial institution, as well as higher compensation and benefit expenses and increased occupancy and data processing costs.  Finally, the 2017 year-to-date period was also impacted by lower brokerage, advisory, and insurance revenue and higher net losses and expenses on foreclosed real estate.   

David A. Baumgarten, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank Mutual, commented, "Excluding the after-tax effect of $1.3 million in expenses related to our pending merger with Associated, our earnings would have increased slightly in the third quarter of 2017 compared to the same quarter last year."  He added, "We continue to be pleased with the year-over-year growth in our loans and the expansion of our net interest margin, although we continue to struggle a bit with our sources of non-interest income, which has declined in 2017."  Mr. Baumgarten concluded, "We remain on track with efforts to complete our pending merger with Associated and we are looking forward to next week's shareholder meeting on this important matter." 

Bank Mutual's net interest income increased by $976,000 or 5.2% and $3.4 million or 6.3% during the three- and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2017, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2016. Included in the three- and nine-month periods in 2016 were $577,000 and $1.1 million, respectively, in call premiums that Bank Mutual received on a mortgage-related securities that were called by the issuer in those periods.  Excluding these call premiums, net interest income in the first three- and nine-month periods of 2017 increased by $1.6 million or 8.6% and $4.5 million or 8.4% compared to the same periods in 2016.  Most of this increase was caused by an increase in Bank Mutual's average earning assets, which increased by $122.5 million or 5.2% during the nine months ended September 30, 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.  This increase was primarily attributable to an increase in average loans receivable.  Also contributing to the increase in net interest income in the 2017 periods was an improvement in Bank Mutual's net interest margin, excluding the impact of the aforementioned call premiums.  Finally, an increase in funding from non-interest bearing checking accounts also contributed to the increase in net interest income in the 2017 periods. 

Bank Mutual's net interest margin was 3.12% and 3.07% during the three- and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2017, respectively, which compared to 2.98% and 2.97% during the same periods in 2016 (excluding ten and six basis points of benefit related to the aforementioned call premiums in the three- and nine-month periods of 2016, respectively).  Management has noted in recent periods that increases in the yield on Bank Mutual's earning assets have been modestly greater than the increases in its cost of funds.  This has occurred in an environment of rising interest rates, due in part to recent increases in the fed funds rate by the Federal Reserve.  Management attributes the modest increases in Bank Mutual's net interest margin to an overall interest rate risk exposure that is slightly asset sensitive.  That is, management believes that the sensitivity of Bank Mutual's earning assets to changes in market interest rates is slightly greater than its interest-bearing liabilities. As such, management anticipates that Bank Mutual's net interest margin may continue to show slight improvement in the immediate future, although there can be no assurances. 

Bank Mutual's net interest margin is subject to competitive pricing pressures for loans and deposits, changes in borrower and depositor preferences, and other economic and market factors that are outside of management's control.  Of particular concern to management are possible future changes in the competitive environment for interest rates on interest-bearing checking, savings, and money market deposit accounts.  If competitive or market pressures require Bank Mutual to increase the interest rates it pays on these deposit accounts, and such increases are not exceeded or matched by increases in the yield on its earning assets, Bank Mutual's net interest margin could be adversely impacted in future periods.  Also of concern to management are possible future changes in depositor preferences for certain types of deposit products. Specifically, management believes that the relatively low interest rate environment that has persisted for the past few years has encouraged many deposit customers to switch to transaction deposits in an effort to retain flexibility in the event market interest rates increase.  If market interest rates continue to increase in the future, customers' preferences may shift from transaction deposits to certificates of deposit, which generally have a higher interest cost.  This development could also have an adverse impact on Bank Mutual's net interest margin in future periods.

Bank Mutual's provision for loan losses was $472,000 in the third quarter of 2017 compared to $1.4 million in the same quarter last year. On a year-to-date basis, provision for loan losses was $1.6 million in 2017 compared to $2.0 million in 2016.  Bank Mutual's non-performing and other classified loans have declined in recent periods and its net charge-offs continue to be nominal.  As a result, Bank Mutual's provision for loan losses has decreased relative to prior periods.    

In general, management believes that overall economic, employment, and real estate conditions are relatively stable in Bank Mutual's local markets.  However, trends in the credit quality of Bank Mutual's loan portfolio are subject to many factors that are outside of Bank Mutual's control, such as economic and market conditions that can fluctuate considerably from period to period.  As such, there can be no assurances that there will not be significant fluctuations in Bank Mutual's non-performing loans, classified loans, and/or loan charge-off activity from period to period, which may result in significant variability in Bank Mutual's provision for loan losses. 

Deposit-related fees and charges declined by $56,000 or 1.9% and $193,000 or 2.2% during the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, respectively, compared to the same periods in the previous year.  Deposit-related fees and charges consist of overdraft fees, ATM and debit card fees, merchant processing fees, account service charges, and other revenue items related to services performed by Bank Mutual for its retail and commercial deposit customers.  Management attributes the decline in deposit-related fees and charges to changes in customer spending behavior in recent periods which has resulted in lower revenue from overdraft charges and ATM usage.  These developments have been partially offset by increased deposit account service charges and increased treasury management fees from commercial depositors. 

Mortgage banking revenue, net, was $788,000 and $2.4 million during three- and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2017, respectively.  This compared to $1.4 million and $3.3 million during the same periods in 2016, respectively.  The following table presents the components of mortgage banking revenue, net, for the periods indicated:

       
  Three Months Ended
September 30
  Nine months Ended 
September 30
    2017     2016       2017     2016  
  (Dollars in thousands)
Gross loan servicing fees $ 608   $ 633     $ 1,839   $ 1,915  
MSR amortization   (384 )   (650 )     (1,100 )   (1,636 )
Change in MSR valuation allowance                  
Loan servicing revenue, net   224     (17 )     739     279  
Gain on loan sales activities, net   564     1,371       1,662     3,042  
Mortgage banking revenue, net $ 788   $ 1,354     $ 2,401   $ 3,321  
                           

Loan servicing revenue, net, increased during the three- and nine-month periods in 2017 compared to the same periods in 2016.  These increases were primarily caused by a decline in amortization of mortgage servicing rights ("MSRs").  These declines were caused by generally higher market interest rates for one- to four-family loans in 2017, which has resulted in reduced loan prepayment activity and slower amortization of the related MSRs compared to the prior year.  The favorable impact of this development was partially offset by declines in gross servicing fees in the 2017 periods due to an overall decline in loans serviced for third-party investors.  As of September 30, 2017, Bank Mutual serviced $957.8 million in loans for third-party investors compared to $1.0 billion one year earlier.  

The change in valuation allowance that Bank Mutual establishes against its MSRs is recorded as a recovery or loss, as the case may be, in the period in which the change occurs.  As of September 30, 2017, Bank Mutual had no valuation allowance against its MSRs, which had a carrying value of $6.3 million as of that date.  MSR valuation allowances typically increase in periods of lower market interest rates, which results in a charge to earnings in the period of the increase.  During such periods loan refinance activity and expectations for future loan prepayments typically increase, which generally reduces the fair value of MSRs and could result in an increase in the MSR valuation allowance.  However, in recent periods market interest rates for one- to four-family loans have generally been higher.  As such, there was no requirement for an MSR valuation allowance as of September 30, 2017, and management does not expect one to be necessary in the near future.  In addition, management expects that amortization of MSRs may continue to be lower in the near term in response to reduced levels of loan refinance activity.  However, these developments cannot be assured, particularly if market interest rates for one- to four-family residential loans decline in the future.

Gain on loan sales activities, net, was $564,000 and $1.7 million during the three- and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2017, respectively, compared to $1.4 million and $3.0 million during the same periods in 2016.   Bank Mutual typically sells most of the fixed-rate, one- to four-family mortgage loans that it originates.  Market interest rates for one- to four-family loans have been higher in recent periods, which is a development that typically results in lower originations and sales of such loans.  The origination and sale of residential loans is subject to variations in market interest rates and other factors outside of management's control.  Accordingly, there can be no assurances that such originations and sales will increase or will not vary considerably from period to period.

Brokerage, advisory, and insurance revenue was $824,000 during the third quarter of 2017, which was slightly higher than the same quarter in the previous year.  Year-to-date this source of revenue was $2.4 million, which was $167,000 or 6.6% lower than the same period in 2016.  This revenue item generally consists of commissions earned on sales of tax-deferred annuities, mutual funds, and certain other securities, fees earned for investment advisory services, and commissions earned on sales of personal and business insurance products.  Management attributes the recent fluctuations in this revenue line item to changes in commissions earned from sales of tax-deferred annuities and other sources of transaction-based income.  In recent periods management has begun to shift the mix of revenue in this line of business from commission income, which tends to be transaction-based, to advisory fee income, which is generally based on assets under management rather than execution of individual transactions.  Management believes that advisory-based fee income will be a more stable source of revenue in the future and expects that it will continue to grow due to new products, services, systems, and investment advisors that Bank Mutual has added in prior periods, although there can be no assurances.  

Loan-related fees were $381,000 and $1.5 million during the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, respectively.  These amounts compared to $1.1 million and $4.0 million during the same periods in 2016, respectively.  The largest source of fees in this revenue category has historically been interest rate swap fees related to commercial loan relationships.  Bank Mutual mitigates the interest rate risk associated with certain of its loan relationships by executing interest rate swaps, the accounting for which results in the recognition of a certain amount of fee income at the time the swap contracts are executed.  The decrease in loan-related fees in the 2017 periods was primarily due to reduced originations of multi-family, commercial real estate, and construction loans, which are the types of loans that generate most of Bank Mutual's interest rate swap fees.  Management anticipates that originations of these types of loans will remain lower during the remainder of 2017.

During the three- and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2017, Bank Mutual recorded $56,000 and $325,000 in gains on the disposition of real estate that it held for investment purposes, respectively.  This compared to $12,000 in both the three- and nine-month periods of the prior year.  Bank Mutual continues to actively market certain of the properties that it holds for investment purposes.  There can be no assurances that Bank Mutual will be able to sell such properties for gains or that gains or losses on such sales, if any, will not fluctuate considerably from period to period.

In the third quarter of 2017 Bank Mutual completed the sale of five retail branch offices to another financial institution, which included $46.1 million in deposits and $13.0 million in loans associated with the offices.  Bank Mutual recorded a loss of $197,000 on this transaction.  In addition, during the nine months ended September 30, 2017, Bank Mutual also recorded $187,000 in one-time costs related to this transaction, as well as its decision to consolidate two other retail branch offices into other offices earlier in the year.  These costs consisted primarily of asset disposition costs, employment severance costs, data processing costs, and professional fees. 

Compensation-related expenses increased by $167,000 or 1.6% and $1.4 million or 4.4% during the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2016.  These increases were due in part to normal annual merit increases granted to most employees at the beginning of 2017.  Also contributing were certain signing bonuses and commission guarantees that Bank Mutual paid to a team of four experienced residential loan originators that it recruited from another financial institution earlier in the year.  Finally, contributing to a lesser degree was higher share-based compensation and employer 401k contributions in the 2017 periods compared to the same periods in the prior year.   These developments were partially offset in the third quarter of 2017 by reduced compensation and related costs from the aforementioned sale of five retail banking offices, as well as the consolidation of two other retail banking offices earlier in the year.

Occupancy, equipment, and data processing expenses increased by $111,000 or 3.3% and $524,000 or 5.2% during the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2016.  These increases were primarily caused by increased data processing, software, and equipment costs associated with various initiatives undertaken by Bank Mutual in recent periods.   These developments were partially offset in the third quarter of 2017 by reduced occupancy, equipment, and data processing costs from the aforementioned sale of five retail banking offices, as well as the consolidation of two other retail banking offices earlier in the year.

Advertising and marketing-related expense was $535,000 and $1.8 million during the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017, respectively, compared to $737,000 and $2.3 million during the same periods in 2016.  Management anticipates that spending on advertising and marketing-related expenses during the full year 2017 will be about 10 to 20% lower than it was in 2016.  However, this outcome depends on future management decisions and there can be no assurances.

Net losses and expenses on foreclosed real estate were $15,000 and $169,000 during the three-month periods ended September 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively.  Net losses and expenses during the nine-month periods ended as of those same dates were $286,000 and $80,000.   In general, Bank Mutual has experienced only modest gains, losses, and expenses on foreclosed real estate in recent periods due to relatively low levels of foreclosed properties and improved market conditions.  

During the three months ended September 30, 2017, Bank Mutual recorded $1.3 million in expenses related to its pending merger with Associated.  These expenses consisted primarily of professional advisory, consulting, and legal fees. 

Other non-interest expense was $2.2 million in the third quarter of 2017 compared to $2.3 million in the same quarter of last year.   In a year-to-date comparison, these expenses were $6.4 million in 2017 compared to $7.0 million in 2016. The 2016 quarter and year-to-date periods included $134,000 and $341,000, respectively, in prepayment penalties related to the early retirement of certain fixed-rate advances from the FHLB of Chicago in those periods. 

View Comments and Join the Discussion!
 
Don't Miss Any Updates!
News Directly in Your Inbox
Subscribe to:
Benzinga Premarket Activity
Get pre-market outlook, mid-day update and after-market roundup emails in your inbox.
Market in 5 Minutes
Everything you need to know about the market - quick & easy.
Fintech Focus
A daily collection of all things fintech, interesting developments and market updates.
Thank You

Thank you for subscribing! If you have any questions feel free to call us at 1-877-440-ZING or email us at vipaccounts@benzinga.com