Market Overview

Hancock Whitney reports first quarter 2020 results


GULFPORT, Miss., April 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Whitney Corporation (NASDAQ:HWC) today announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2020, a loss of $111.0 million, or ($1.28) per diluted common share (EPS), driven by a reserve build in response to deterioration in the macroeconomic environment from COVID-19 and lower oil prices.

  • Includes $246.8 million, or $2.24 per share provision for credit losses related to COVID-19 and declining oil prices
  • Includes $9.8 million, or $.11 per share related to write-offs of equity interests in two energy companies which were received in bankruptcy restructurings
  • The allowance for expected credit losses was increased to $475 million, or 2.21% of total loans
  • The company remains well capitalized with a tangible capital (TCE) ratio of 8% and regulatory ratios well in excess of required levels including capital conservation buffers

The company reported a profit of $92.1 million, or $1.03 EPS, in the fourth quarter of 2019 and $79.2 million, or $.91 EPS, in the first quarter of 2019. The fourth quarter of 2019 included $3.9 million ($.03 per share after-tax impact) of final merger costs associated with the September 21, 2019 acquisition of MidSouth Bancorp, Inc.

Pre-provision net revenue (PPNR) totaled $115.7 million, down $10.0 million linked-quarter. The decline is mainly due to the energy-related equity write-offs. Excluding these two write-offs, PPNR was virtually unchanged linked-quarter, an indicator of both the company's strong underlying earnings in the first quarter, and a guide for investors in evaluating the potential earnings capacity of the company in future periods.  

"While the first quarter's results show a reported loss, there were two distinct themes," said John M. Hairston, President & CEO. "A blend of very strong performance in loan growth, strength in net interest income and fee income, well managed expenses, and solid capital and liquidity levels, was offset by pandemic and industry-related pressure on our remaining energy portfolio, plus pressure on markets and loan segments most impacted by mandated economic restrictions in our footprint. Because of the uncertainty related to COVID-19, we built what we believe is an appropriate loan loss reserve for potential problems. We believe pre-provision net revenue results provide a better picture of the company's quarterly performance. Our company has weathered many environmental storms historically, and today we are open and running the company under similar guidelines and principles for our customers and employees --- Your Needs. Our Mission."

First Quarter 2020 Highlights

  • Strengthened Allowance for Credit Losses (ACL)/Total Loans to 2.21%
  • Capital remains solid with TCE at 8% and other regulatory ratios are well in excess of required levels including capital conservation buffers
  • Loan growth totaled $303 million linked-quarter; DDA deposits up $429 million
  • NIM declined 2 basis points (bps) linked-quarter; purchase accounting accretion (PAA) down $2.5 million or 4 bps; excluding PAA, NIM was up 1 bp
  • Criticized commercial loans down $51 million, or 9%, and nonperforming loans down $19 million, or 6%, linked-quarter
  • Solid liquidity with approximately $14 billion available in additional sources of funding

In early March of 2020, the United States began to see signs of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting the country. By mid-March, spread of the virus was apparent in many U.S. states. By the end of March, counties, parishes and states began implementing stay-at-home orders to help contain the spread of the virus. As a result, businesses deemed nonessential were shuttered, leading to significantly reduced revenue, employee layoffs and requests for deferrals on certain expenses.

Hancock Whitney operates in markets hard hit by COVID-19, most notably Greater New Orleans, Louisiana. While deemed an essential business, the company has closed all of its branch lobbies (offering by appointment and drive-up service only) and is still assisting clients via online and mobile banking and through the call center. We are currently offering fee waivers on certain products, and loan payment deferrals on business and consumer loans and lines of credit, credit cards and auto loans. We are fully participating in the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The following information relates to the company's first quarter 2020 results. Additional information on the impact of these programs noted above and trends since quarter-end are included in the presentation deck posted on our IR website and will be discussed in management's conference call. The details for both are noted below.

Total loans at March 31, 2020 were $21.5 billion, up $303 million, or 1%, linked-quarter. Average loans totaled $21.2 billion for the first quarter of 2020, up $196 million, or 1%, linked-quarter. Growth in the first quarter was notable in all regions across our footprint, including the healthcare team in Nashville.

Net growth also includes a net reduction in our energy portfolio of $23.7 million, reflecting our goal of reducing our overall exposure to that particular industry. At March 31, 2020, loans to the energy industry totaled $939.5 million, or 4.4% of total loans. The linked-quarter change reflects $42 million in payoffs and paydowns, and $36 million in net charge-offs, partially offset by $54 million in fundings. The portfolio is comprised of credits to exploration and production (E&P) companies (32%), midstream companies (15%), drilling support companies (13%) and nondrilling support companies (40%). See slide presentation for additional energy details.

As noted above, the company has made loan deferrals available to customers impacted by COVID-19. At March 31, 2020 there were 1,618 notes deferred totaling $839.4 million in outstandings. The company is participating in the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that began on April 3, 2020. There were no loans originated as of March 31, 2020. The company originated 4,893 loans totaling $1.7 billion in round one of the program.

Line utilization at March 31, 2020 was 49.4% compared to 47.6% at December 31, 2019. As of March 31, 2020, approximately $525 million of additional funding had been provided to clients via existing and expanded lines of credit. Mortgage banking applications doubled in the first quarter of 2020. We expect the trend to continue in light of the low rate environment. Between 50%-60% of the mortgages we originate are sold in the secondary market, and generate fee income. Additional concentration and loan portfolio information is included in the slide presentation.

Total deposits at March 31, 2020 were $25.0 billion, up $1.2 billion, or 5%, from December 31, 2019. An increase of $913 million in brokered time deposits was the largest driver of the increase from December 31, 2019 in addition to very strong growth in noninterest-bearing demand deposits (DDAs).

DDAs totaled $9.2 billion at March 31, 2020, up $429 million, or 5%, from December 31, 2019 and comprised 37% of total period-end deposits at March 31, 2020.

Interest-bearing transaction and savings deposits totaled $8.9 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2020, up $86 million, or 1%, from December 31, 2019. Compared to December 31, 2019, time deposits of $3.6 billion were up $803 million, or 28%, primarily due to the increase of brokered CDs noted above.

Interest-bearing public fund deposits declined $113 million, or 3%, to $3.3 billion. The decrease in public funds is seasonal and primarily related to tax payments collected by local municipalities at year-end that typically begin to runoff in the first quarter of each year.

Average deposits for the first quarter of 2020 were $24.3 billion, up $479 million, or 2%, linked-quarter.

Asset Quality
The total allowance for credit losses (ACL) was $475.0 million at March 31, 2020, up $279.8 million, or 144%, from December 31, 2019. The components of the increase are as follows. Effective 1/1/2020 the company adopted the new accounting standard for determining an allowance for credit losses – CECL (Current Expected Credit Losses). The CECL implementation added $76.7 million to the ACL as of January 1, 2020 with an after-tax adjustment to capital of $44.1 million and a reclassification of $19.7 million from purchased discount on acquired loans, not earnings. The remainder of the ACL build, via the credit loss provision, reflects both the uncertain impact COVID-19 will have on our customers and their ability to repay loans in our portfolio, coupled with the impact of declining oil prices on our remaining energy portfolio.

During the first quarter of 2020, the company recorded a total provision for credit losses of $246.8 million, compared to $9.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Approximately $160.0 million of the provision for credit losses was for credits collectively evaluated under macroeconomic forecast scenarios that reflect today's recessionary environment. Credits that were individually evaluated for loss added $87.0 million to the provision, most of which were energy-related. Reserve-based energy loans (RBL) have been impacted recently not only by declining oil prices, but also from recent liquidity stress in the industry. Resolution of these RBL credits has resulted in larger than anticipated charge-offs.

Net charge-offs were $43.8 million, or 0.83% of average total loans on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2020, up from $9.5 million, or 0.18% of average total loans in the fourth quarter of 2019. Included in the first quarter's total were $35.9 million of energy charge-offs.

The ratio of ACL to period-end loans was 2.21% at March 31, 2020, compared to 0.92% at December 31, 2019. The allowance for credits in the energy portfolio totaled $88.4 million, or 9.4% of funded energy loans, at March 31, 2020. The allowance for credits in the nonenergy portfolio totaled $386.6 million, or 1.88% of funded nonenergy loans, at March 31, 2020.

Nonperforming assets (NPAs) totaled $306.8 million at March 31, 2020, down $30.7 million, or 9%, from December 31, 2019. During the first quarter of 2020, total nonperforming loans decreased $18.8 million while foreclosed and surplus real estate (ORE) and other foreclosed assets decreased $11.9 million. Nonperforming assets as a percent of total loans, ORE and other foreclosed assets was 1.42% at March 31, 2020, down 17 bps from December 31, 2019. Approximately $21.4 million of loans were added to nonperforming loans with the adoption of CECL.

Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin (NIM)
Net interest income (TE) for the first quarter of 2020 was $234.6 million, down $2.1 million from the fourth quarter of 2019. The net interest margin (TE) was 3.41% for the first quarter of 2020, down 2 bps from the fourth quarter of 2019. The slight decline in net interest income reflects one less accrual day in the first quarter and the impact of a lower rate environment. The net interest margin was relatively stable linked-quarter, with the reported decline mainly the result of a $2.5 million, or 4 bps, decrease in purchase accounting accretion related to the MidSouth transaction. A decline in Prime and Libor rates negatively impacted the yield on loans by 7 bps. Proactive deposit pricing, and changes in wholesale funding related to a lower rate environment, positively impacted the NIM by 8 bps. There were no interest reversals in the first quarter as compared to one basis point of interest reversals in the prior quarter.  

Average earning assets were $27.6 billion for the first quarter of 2020, up $189.2 million, or 1%, from the fourth quarter of 2019.

Noninterest Income
Noninterest income totaled $84.4 million for the first quarter of 2020, up $1.5 million, or 2%, from the fourth quarter of 2019. For most of the first quarter of 2020, fees were collected as normal. Beginning in mid to late March, the company began waiving certain fees as noted earlier. The company is providing fee waivers for certain products such as penalty-free CD withdrawals, MMDA and savings excessive withdrawal fees, overdraft protection transfer fees and checking account reopening fees. Depending on the duration of the impact of COVID-19 on our customers, fee waivers will impact our results in future quarters.

Service charges on deposits totaled $22.8 million for the first quarter of 2020, down $0.5 million, or 2%, from the fourth quarter of 2019. Bank card and ATM fees totaled $17.4 million, down $0.6 million, or 3%, from the fourth quarter of 2019.

Trust fees totaled $14.8 million, down $0.7 million, or 4%, linked-quarter. Investment and annuity income and insurance fees totaled $7.2 million, up $0.7 million, or 12% linked-quarter. Fees from secondary mortgage operations totaled $6.0 million for the first quarter of 2020, virtually unchanged linked-quarter.

Other noninterest income totaled $16.2 million, up $2.4 million, or 18%, from the fourth quarter of 2019. The increase in other noninterest income is primarily due to increases in specialty income specifically related to $1.5 million sale of tax credits and $0.8 million in BOLI income.

Noninterest Expense & Taxes
Noninterest expense totaled $203.3 million, up $5.5 million, or 3% linked-quarter. Total expense included $9.8 million of equity write-offs noted above. There were $3.9 million of MidSouth merger-related expenses in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Total personnel expense was $113.5 million in the first quarter of 2020, down $3.5 million, or 3%, from the fourth quarter of 2019. A lower level of incentive pay in the first quarter drove most of the decline linked-quarter.

Occupancy and equipment expense totaled $17.1 million in the first quarter of 2020, down $0.4 million, or 2%, from the fourth quarter of 2019.

Amortization of intangibles totaled $5.3 million for the first quarter of 2020, down $0.4 million, or 7%, linked-quarter.

ORE and other foreclosed asset (OFA) expense totaled $10.1 million in the first quarter of 2020. The linked-quarter change includes $9.8 million of energy-related equity write-offs noted above.

Other operating expense totaled $57.2 million in the first quarter of 2020, down $1.1 million, or 2%, from the fourth quarter of 2019.

The effective income tax rate for the first quarter of 2020 was 17.5%. This rate reflects a 10.4% expected effective rate for the year, resulting from the first quarter loss, as well as $9.5 million in discrete tax benefits. The effective income tax rate continues to be less than the statutory rate due primarily to tax-exempt income and tax credits.

Common stockholders' equity at March 31, 2020 totaled $3.4 billion, down $46.6 million, or 1%, from December 31, 2019. The tangible common equity (TCE) ratio was 8.00%, down 45 bps from December 31, 2019. The decline in capital reflects the quarterly loss mainly due to the impact of COVID-19 on the credit loss provision. The company remains well capitalized, with both bank and holding company capital levels in excess of required regulatory minimums and a TCE ratio at the company's target level of 8%.

During the first quarter of 2020, the company settled the accelerated share repurchase (ASR) announced October 21, 2019. The company received an additional 1,001,472 shares and $12.1 million in cash as final settlement of the ASR. Also as previously disclosed, the company repurchased 315,851 shares of its common stock in a privately negotiated transaction. Under the company's now suspended buyback authorization of up to 5.5 million shares, the company has repurchased 4.9 million shares at an average price of $37.65. Additional capital ratios are included in the financial tables.

The company is suspending all previous guidance, including near-term, 2020 or 3-year Corporate Strategic Objectives (CSOs). Given the uncertainty related to COVID-19, at this time we will not provide the level of formal guidance we have provided in the past, but will share any expectations as best as we can during the conference call noted below.

Conference Call and Slide Presentation
Management will host a conference call for analysts and investors at 8:00 a.m. Central Time on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 to review the results. A live listen-only webcast of the call will be available under the Investor Relations section of Hancock Whitney's website at A link to the release with additional financial tables, and a link to a slide presentation related to first quarter results are also posted as part of the webcast link. To participate in the Q&A portion of the call, dial (877) 564-1219 or (973) 638-3429. An audio archive of the conference call will be available under the Investor Relations section of our website. A replay of the call will also be available through May 6, 2020 by dialing (855) 859-2056 or (404) 537-3406, passcode 5856304. 

About Hancock Whitney
Since the late 1800s, Hancock Whitney has embodied core values of Honor & Integrity, Strength & Stability, Commitment to Service, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility. Hancock Whitney offices and financial centers in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas offer comprehensive financial products and services, including traditional and online banking; commercial and small business banking; private banking; trust and investment services; healthcare banking; certain insurance services; and mortgage services. The company also operates a loan production office in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as trust and asset management offices in New Jersey and New York. BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation's leading independent bank rating and analysis firm, consistently recommends Hancock Whitney as one of America's most financially sound banks. More information is available at

Non-GAAP Financial Measures
This news release includes non-GAAP financial measures to describe Hancock Whitney's performance. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered alternatives to GAAP-basis financial statements and other bank holding companies may define or calculate these non-GAAP measures or similar measures differently. The reconciliations of those measures to GAAP measures are provided either in the financial tables or in Appendix A thereto.

Consistent with Securities and Exchange Commission Industry Guide 3, the company presents net interest income, net interest margin and efficiency ratios on a fully taxable equivalent ("TE") basis. The TE basis adjusts for the tax-favored status of net interest income from certain loans and investments using the statutory federal tax rate to increase tax-exempt interest income to a taxable equivalent basis. The company believes this measure to be the preferred industry measurement of net interest income and it enhances comparability of net interest income arising from taxable and tax-exempt sources.

The company presents certain additional non-GAAP financial measures to assist the reader with a better understanding of the company's performance period over period, as well as to provide investors with assistance in understanding the success management has experienced in executing its strategic initiatives. These non-GAAP measures may reference the concepts "core" or "operating." The company uses the term "core" to describe a financial measure that excludes income or expense arising from accretion or amortization of fair value adjustments recorded as part of purchase accounting. The company uses the term "operating" to describe a financial measure that excludes income or expense considered to be nonoperating in nature. Items identified as nonoperating are those that, when excluded from a reported financial measure, provide management or the reader with a measure that may be more indicative of forward-looking trends in the company's business.

Important Cautionary Statement about Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements that we may make include statements regarding our expectations regarding our performance and financial condition, balance sheet and revenue growth, the provision for credit losses, loan growth expectations, management's predictions about charge-offs for loans, including energy-related credits, the impact of significant decreases in oil and gas prices on our energy portfolio, the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and our operations, the adequacy of our enterprise risk management framework, the impact of the MidSouth acquisition, or future business combinations on our performance and financial condition, including our ability to successfully integrate the businesses, success of revenue-generating initiatives, the effectiveness of derivative financial instruments and hedging activities to manage risks, projected tax rates, increased cybersecurity risks, including potential business disruptions or financial losses, the adequacy of our internal controls over financial reporting, the financial impact of regulatory requirements and tax reform legislation, the impact of the referenced rate reform, deposit trends, credit quality trends, changes in interest rates, net interest margin trends, future expense levels, future profitability, improvements in expense to revenue (efficiency) ratio, purchase accounting impacts, accretion levels and expected returns.

Given the many unknowns and risks being heavily weighted to the downside, our forward-looking statements are subject to the risk that conditions will be substantially different than we are currently expecting. If efforts to contain COVID-19 are unsuccessful and restrictions on movement last into the third quarter or beyond, the recession would be much longer and much more severe. Ineffective fiscal stimulus, or an extended delay in implementing it, are also major downside risks. The deeper the recession is, and the longer it lasts, the more it will damage consumer fundamentals and sentiment. This could both prolong the recession, and/or make any recovery weaker. Similarly, the recession could damage business fundamentals, and an extended global recession due to COVID-19 would weaken the U.S. recovery. As a result, the outbreak and its consequences, including responsive measures to manage it, have had and are likely to continue to have an adverse effect, possibly materially, on our business and financial performance by adversely affecting, possibly materially, the demand and profitability of our products and services, the valuation of assets and our ability to meet the needs of our customers.

In addition, any statement that does not describe historical or current facts is a forward-looking statement. These statements often include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "intends," "plans," "forecast," "goals," "targets," "initiatives," "focus," "potentially," "probably," "projects," "outlook", or similar expressions or future conditional verbs such as "may," "will," "should," "would," and "could." Forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of management and on information currently available to management. Our statements speak as of the date hereof, and we do not assume any obligation to update these statements or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those contained in such statements in light of new information or future events. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Any forward-looking statement made in this release is subject to the safe harbor protections set forth in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on such statements. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Part I, "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 and in other periodic reports that we file with the SEC.

    Three Months Ended
(dollars and common share data in thousands, except per share amounts)   3/31/2020   12/31/2019   9/30/2019   6/30/2019   3/31/2019
NET INCOME                    
Net interest income   $ 231,188     $ 233,156     $ 222,939     $ 219,868     $ 219,254  
Net interest income (TE) (a)     234,636       236,736       226,591       223,586       223,078  
Provision for credit losses     246,793       9,156       12,421       8,088       18,043  
Noninterest income     84,387       82,924       83,230       79,250       70,503  
Noninterest expense     203,335       197,856       213,554       183,567       175,700  
Income tax expense (benefit)     (23,520 )     16,936       12,387       19,186       16,850  
Net income (loss)   $ (111,033 )   $ 92,132     $ 67,807     $ 88,277     $ 79,164  
Nonoperating items, pre-tax (for informational purposes)                    
Merger-related costs   $     $ 3,856     $ 28,810     $     $  
Loans   $ 21,515,681     $ 21,212,755     $ 21,035,952     $ 20,175,812     $ 20,112,838  
Securities     6,374,490       6,243,313       6,404,719       5,725,735       5,577,522  
Earning assets     28,834,072       27,622,161       27,565,973       26,088,759       25,881,559  
Total assets     31,761,693       30,600,757       30,543,549       28,761,863       28,490,231  
Noninterest-bearing deposits     9,204,631       8,775,632       8,686,383       8,114,632       8,158,658  
Total deposits     25,008,496       23,803,575       24,201,299       23,236,042       23,380,294  
Common stockholders' equity     3,421,064       3,467,685       3,586,380       3,318,915       3,190,575  
AVERAGE BALANCE SHEET DATA                    
Loans   $ 21,234,016     $ 21,037,942     $ 20,197,114     $ 20,150,104     $ 20,126,948  
Securities (b)     6,149,432       6,201,612       6,004,688       5,586,390       5,656,689  
Earning assets     27,630,652       27,441,459       26,437,613       25,992,894       26,020,447  
Total assets     30,663,601       30,343,293       29,148,106       28,537,810       28,451,548  
Noninterest-bearing deposits     8,763,359       8,601,323       8,092,482       8,099,621       8,227,698  
Total deposits     24,327,242       23,848,374       23,091,355       23,137,563       23,114,139  
Common stockholders' equity     3,509,727       3,473,693       3,383,738       3,230,503       3,118,051  
COMMON SHARE DATA                    
Earnings (loss) per share - diluted   $ (1.28 )   $ 1.03     $ 0.77     $ 1.01     $ 0.91  
Cash dividends per share     0.27       0.27       0.27       0.27       0.27  
Book value per share (period-end)     39.65       39.62       39.49       38.70       37.23  
Tangible book value per share (period-end)     28.56       28.63       28.73       28.46       26.92  
Weighted average number of shares - diluted     87,186       88,315       86,462       85,835       85,800  
Period-end number of shares     86,275       87,515       90,822       85,759       85,710  
Market data                    
High sales price   $ 44.24     $ 44.42     $ 42.11     $ 44.74     $ 44.34  
Low sales price     14.32       35.45       33.63       37.03       34.11  
Period-end closing price     19.52       43.88       38.30       40.06       40.40  
Trading volume     49,297       30,850       29,038       27,874       28,124  
PERFORMANCE RATIOS                    
Return on average assets     (1.46 )%     1.20 %     0.92 %     1.24 %     1.13 %
Return on average common equity     (12.72 )%     10.52 %     7.95 %     10.96 %     10.30 %
Return on average tangible common equity     (17.51 )%     14.62 %     10.77 %     15.07 %     14.38 %
Tangible common equity ratio (c)     8.00 %     8.45 %     8.82 %     8.75 %     8.36 %
Net interest margin (TE)     3.41 %     3.43 %     3.41 %     3.45 %     3.46 %
Noninterest income as a percentage of total revenue (TE)     26.45 %     25.94 %     26.86 %     26.17 %     24.01 %
Efficiency ratio (d)     62.06 %     58.88 %     58.05 %     58.95 %     58.10 %
Average loan/deposit ratio     87.28 %     88.22 %     87.47 %     87.09 %     87.08 %
Allowance for loan losses as a percent of period-end loans     1.98 %     0.90 %     0.93 %     0.97 %     0.97 %
Allowance for credit losses as a percent of period-end loans     2.21 %     0.92 %     0.93 %     0.97 %     0.97 %
Annualized net charge-offs to average loans     0.83 %     0.18 %     0.25 %     0.14 %     0.36 %
Allowance for loan losses to nonperforming loans + accruing loans 90 days past due     139.17 %     60.97 %     67.06 %     61.60 %     56.81 %
FTE headcount     4,148       4,136       3,894       3,930       3,885  
(a) Taxable equivalent (TE) amounts are calculated using a federal income tax rate of 21%.
(b) Average securities does not include unrealized holding gains/losses on available for sale securities.
(c) The tangible common equity ratio is common shareholders' equity less intangible assets divided by total assets less intangible assets.
(d) The efficiency ratio is noninterest expense to total net interest income (TE) and noninterest income, excluding amortization of purchased intangibles and nonoperating items.

For more information
Trisha Voltz Carlson, EVP, Investor Relations Manager
504.299.5208 or

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