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First Citizens BancShares Reports Earnings for Fourth Quarter 2017

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RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 31, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Citizens BancShares Inc. (BancShares) (NASDAQ:FCNCA) reports earnings for the quarter ended December 31, 2017. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2017 was $54.4 million, or $4.53 per share, compared to $52.7 million, or $4.39 per share, for the corresponding period of 2016, and $67.1 million, or $5.58 per share, for the third quarter of 2017, according to Frank B. Holding, Jr., chairman of the board. BancShares' current quarter results generated an annualized return on average assets of 0.62 percent and an annualized return on average equity of 6.48 percent, compared to respective returns of 0.77 percent and 8.10 percent for the third quarter of 2017 and 0.63 percent and 6.86 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016. Earnings in the fourth quarter of 2017 included income tax expense of $25.8 million due primarily to the re-measurement of deferred taxes as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (Tax Act).

For the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, net income was $323.8 million, or $26.96 per share, and $225.5 million, or $18.77 per share, respectively. Returns on average assets and average equity were 0.94 percent and 10.10 percent during 2017, compared to 0.70 percent and 7.51 percent during 2016. Earnings in 2017 included pre-tax gains of $134.7 million recognized in connection with the FDIC-assisted transactions of Harvest Community Bank (HCB) of Pennsville, New Jersey, and Guaranty Bank (Guaranty) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Earnings in 2016 included $26.7 million in investment securities gains, $16.6 million of pre-tax income due to the early termination of certain FDIC shared-loss agreements and pre-tax gains of $5.8 million recognized in connection with the FDIC-assisted transactions of North Milwaukee State Bank (NMSB) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and First CornerStone Bank (FCSB) of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

MERGER AGREEMENT WITH HOMEBANCORP INC.

On December 18, 2017, BancShares' bank subsidiary, First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company (First Citizens Bank), and HomeBancorp, Inc. (HomeBancorp) entered into a definitive merger agreement. The agreement provides for the acquisition of Tampa, Florida-based HomeBancorp by First Citizens Bank. Under the terms of the agreement, cash consideration of $15.03 will be paid to the shareholders of HomeBancorp for each share of HomeBancorp's common stock. The transaction is expected to close no later than the third quarter of 2018, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and the approval of HomeBancorp's shareholders. As of September 30, 2017, HomeBancorp reported $954.9 million in consolidated assets, $699.4 million in deposits and $637.5 million in loans.

INCOME TAXES

Income tax expense totaled $68.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from $36.6 million and $28.4 million in the third quarter of 2017 and fourth quarter of 2016, respectively. Effective tax rates were 55.8 percent, 35.3 percent and 35.0 percent during the respective periods. The increases in income tax expense and effective tax rate during the fourth quarter were primarily due to the impact of the Tax Act, which was enacted on December 22, 2017. Earnings in the fourth quarter of 2017 included income tax expense of $25.8 million due primarily to the re-measurement of deferred taxes as a result of the Tax Act reducing the federal tax rate to 21 percent effective January 1, 2018.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Loans grew by $447.8 million during the fourth quarter as a result of originated portfolio growth and by $1.86 billion for the year, reflecting originated portfolio growth and the HCB and Guaranty acquisitions.
  • The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total loans declined to 0.94 percent during the fourth quarter compared to 1.00 percent and 1.01 percent at September 30, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively, primarily due to favorable experiences in certain loan loss factors.
  • Net interest income increased $1.6 million, or by 0.6 percent compared to the third quarter of 2017 and $30.9 million, or by 12.6 percent, compared to the fourth quarter of 2016. The increase from the fourth quarter of 2016 was primarily due to originated loan growth and higher interest income earned on non-purchased credit impaired (non-PCI) loans, investment securities and overnight investments.
  • The taxable-equivalent net interest margin was 3.34 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, an increase of 20 basis points from the same quarter in the prior year, primarily due to improved loan and investment yields and higher loan balances.
  • BancShares remained well-capitalized at December 31, 2017, under Basel III capital requirements with a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio and common equity Tier 1 ratio of 12.88 percent, total risk-based capital ratio of 14.21 percent and leverage capital ratio of 9.47 percent.

LOANS AND DEPOSITS

Loans at December 31, 2017, were $23.60 billion, a net increase of $447.8 million compared to September 30, 2017, representing growth of 7.7 percent on an annualized basis. Originated loan growth was $518.9 million, primarily due to continued growth in the commercial and residential mortgage portfolio. Purchased credit impaired (PCI) loans decreased by $71.1 million, primarily as a result of loan runoff.

Loan balances during 2017 increased by a net $1.86 billion, or 8.6 percent, since December 31, 2016. This increase was primarily driven by $1.46 billion of organic growth in the non-PCI portfolio and the addition of $447.7 million in non-PCI loans from the Guaranty acquisition. The PCI portfolio declined over this period by $46.2 million, as a result of continued loan runoff of $208.8 million, offset by net loans acquired from Guaranty and HCB, which were $97.6 million and $65.0 million, respectively, at December 31, 2017.

At December 31, 2017, deposits were $29.27 billion, a decrease of $67.7 million, or by 0.2 percent, since September 30, 2017. The decrease was due to run-off in time deposits and lower demand deposit account balances, offset by organic growth in money market accounts and interest-bearing savings and checking accounts. Deposits increased by $1.10 billion, or 3.9 percent, since December 31, 2016, due to organic growth of $553.4 million primarily in demand deposit account balances, interest-bearing savings and checking accounts, and the deposit balances from the Guaranty and HCB acquisitions of $541.3 million and $10.3 million, respectively, at December 31, 2017. This increase was offset by continued runoff in time deposits and lower money market account balances.

ALLOWANCE AND PROVISION FOR LOAN AND LEASE LOSSES

The allowance for loan and lease losses was $221.9 million at December 31, 2017, a decrease of $9.9 million since September 30, 2017, and a decrease of $3.1 million since December 31, 2016. The allowance as a percentage of total loans at December 31, 2017, was 0.94 percent, compared to 1.00 percent and 1.01 percent at September 30, 2017, and December 31, 2016, respectively.

BancShares recorded a net provision credit of $2.8 million for loan and lease losses during the fourth quarter of 2017, and net provision expense of $7.9 million and $16.0 million for the third quarter of 2017 and fourth quarter of 2016, respectively.

Non-PCI loan provision credit was $172 thousand for the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to provision expense of $8.5 million and $13.9 million for the third quarter of 2017 and fourth quarter of 2016, respectively. The PCI loan portfolio provision credit was $2.6 million during the fourth quarter of 2017, compared to a net provision credit of $537 thousand and a provision expense of $2.1 million during the third quarter of 2017 and fourth quarter of 2016, respectively. The total net provision credit in the current quarter was primarily due to favorable experiences in certain loan loss factors.

NONPERFORMING ASSETS

At December 31, 2017, BancShares' nonperforming assets, including nonaccrual loans and other real estate owned (OREO), were $144.3 million, down from $145.1 million and $147.0 million at September 30, 2017, and December 31, 2016, respectively. The decrease from September 30, 2017, was due to a $2.9 million decline in OREO balances, offset by a $2.1 million increase in nonaccrual loans. The decrease from December 31, 2016, was due to a $10.1 million decline in OREO balances as a result of problem asset resolutions, offset by a $7.4 million increase in nonaccrual loans, primarily in residential and revolving mortgage loans. The ratio of nonperforming assets to total loans, leases and other real estate owned was 0.61 percent, 0.63 percent and 0.67 percent at December 31, 2017, September 30, 2017, and December 31, 2016, respectively.

NET INTEREST INCOME

Net interest income increased $1.6 million, or by 0.6 percent, to $274.8 million from the third quarter of 2017. The increase was primarily due to a $1.6 million increase in investment securities interest income due to improved yields and portfolio growth.

Net interest income increased $30.9 million, or by 12.6 percent, from the fourth quarter of 2016. The increase was primarily due to higher non-PCI loan interest income of $21.0 million as a result of originated loan growth and the contribution from the Guaranty acquisition, a $5.7 million improvement in interest income earned on investments and a $3.7 million increase in interest income earned on excess cash held in overnight investments. Interest income earned on overnight investments was positively impacted by three 25 basis point increases in the federal funds rate since the fourth quarter of 2016. These favorable impacts were offset by an increase in interest expense of $324 thousand primarily related to higher rates paid on short-term borrowings.

The taxable-equivalent net interest margin was 3.34 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, a decrease of 1 basis point from the third quarter of 2017 and an increase of 20 basis points from the same quarter in the prior year. The margin decline compared to the third quarter of 2017 was primarily due to lower interest income earned on PCI loans resulting from continued run-off partially offset by higher loan balances and higher investment yields. The margin improvement compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 was primarily due to improved loan and investment yields and higher loan balances.

NONINTEREST INCOME

Total noninterest income for the fourth quarter of 2017 was $140.2 million, an increase of $14.8 million from the third quarter of 2017. The increase was primarily due to a $12.5 million gain related to the early termination of two forward-starting Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) advances and a $1.4 million increase in wealth management fees. Furthering the growth in noninterest income were increases of $1.3 million in service charges on deposit accounts, primarily due to higher individual overdraft charges, and $1.1 million in recoveries of PCI loans previously charged-off. Partially offsetting these increases were declines in mortgage income of $2.8 million, primarily resulting from third quarter mortgage servicing rights gains related to the sale of certain residential mortgage loans as well as lower hedge income and a decrease of $1.7 million in securities gains.

Noninterest income increased $15.5 million from the fourth quarter of 2016, primarily driven by a gain of $12.5 million related to the early termination of two forward-starting FHLB advances. Noninterest income also benefited from higher merchant and cardholder income of $6.0 million resulting from higher sales volume, a $4.8 million increase in service charges on deposit accounts, primarily related to the Guaranty acquisition, and a $3.2 million increase in wealth management fees. These increases were partially offset by lower securities gains of $9.5 million and a decrease of $3.9 million in mortgage income, primarily due to mortgage servicing rights valuation adjustments in the fourth quarter of 2016.

NONINTEREST EXPENSE

Noninterest expense increased by $7.7 million to $294.6 million compared to the third quarter of 2017. The increase was a result of higher personnel expenses of $5.4 million, primarily due to increases in wages, benefits and incentives. Additionally, there were increases in cardholder reward programs of $1.8 million due to updated redemption rate estimates, consultant services of $1.8 million and collection and foreclosure-related expenses of $1.4 million. These increases were partially offset by a $2.4 million reduction in processing fees paid to third parties, primarily related to the Guaranty and HCB acquisitions.

Noninterest expense increased by $23.1 million from the same quarter last year due to a $16.1 million increase in personnel expenses, primarily due to higher wages from the Guaranty and HCB acquisitions, annual merit increases and higher benefit costs. Noninterest expense also increased due to growth in cardholder and merchant processing expense of $3.0 million resulting from higher sales volume and an increase of $2.4 million and $1.4 million in consultant services and processing fees paid to third parties, respectively.

ABOUT FIRST CITIZENS BANCSHARES

BancShares is the financial holding company for Raleigh, North Carolina-headquartered First Citizens Bank. First Citizens Bank provides a broad range of financial services to individuals, businesses, professionals and the medical community through branch offices in 21 states, digital banking, ATMs and telephone banking. As of December 31, 2017, BancShares had total assets of $34.5 billion.

For more information, visit First Citizens' website at firstcitizens.com. First Citizens Bank. Forever First®.

CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 
  Three months ended   Year ended December 31
(Dollars in thousands, except share data; unaudited) December 31,
2017
  September 30,
2017
  December 31,
2016
  2017   2016
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS                  
Interest income $ 285,958     $ 284,333     $ 254,782     $ 1,103,690     $ 987,757  
Interest expense 11,189     11,158     10,865     43,794     43,082  
Net interest income 274,769     273,175     243,917     1,059,896     944,675  
(Credit) provision for loan and lease losses (2,809 )   7,946     16,029     25,692     32,941  
Net interest income after provision for loan and lease losses 277,578     265,229     227,888     1,034,204     911,734  
Gain on acquisitions             134,745     5,831  
Noninterest income 140,150     125,387     124,698     506,284     482,240  
Noninterest expense 294,617     286,967     271,531     1,131,535     1,048,738  
Income before income taxes 123,111     103,649     81,055     543,698     351,067  
Income taxes 68,704     36,585     28,365     219,946     125,585  
Net income $ 54,407     $ 67,064     $ 52,690     $ 323,752     $ 225,482  
Taxable-equivalent net interest income $ 276,002     $ 274,272     $ 245,330     $ 1,064,415     $ 949,768  
PER SHARE DATA                  
Net income $ 4.53     $ 5.58     $ 4.39     $ 26.96     $ 18.77  
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