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Westamerica (WABC) Stock Falls on Earnings Miss in Q1

Shares of Westamerica Bancorp WABC fell over 1% following its first-quarter 2016 earnings miss. Earnings of 56 cents per share lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. Also, the bottom line fell 1.8% year over year.

Lower-than-expected quarterly results were largely due to a decline in revenues. Further, decreasing loan balance was an undermining factor. However, a fall in operating expense and absence of provisions were the positives.

Westamerica’s net income amounted to $14.2 million, down 2.3% year over year.

Performance in Detail

Total net revenue came in at $44.8 million, down 1.6% year over year. The fall was caused by a decline in both net interest income and non-interest income.

Net interest income fell 0.5% year over year to $33.1 million. The 0.8% decline in interest and fee income was partially offset by a 16.4% fall in interest expense. Further, net interest margin slipped 9 basis points (bps) year over year to 3.34%.

Non-interest income totaled $11.7 million, down 4.6% year over year. The decline was mainly due to lower merchant processing services, service charges on deposit accounts, trust fees and other service fees. These were, however, partly offset by higher ATM processing fees, debit card fees and financial services commissions.

Non-interest expenses fell 3.3% year over year to $25.9 million. Lower salaries and benefits expenses, other real estate owned, occupancy costs, amortization of identifiable intangibles and other operating costs were partially mitigated by a rise in professional fees, furniture & equipment costs and outsourced data processing costs.

Efficiency ratio declined to 53.7% from 54.3% in the prior-year quarter. A decrease in efficiency ratio indicates a rise in profitability.

Westamerica’s total loans declined 12.5% year over year to $1.47 billion as of Mar 31, 2016. However, total deposits summed to $4.52 billion, up 3.1% year over year.

Credit Quality

Westamerica’s credit quality displayed a mixed picture. The company reported nil provision for loan losses in the reported quarter similar to the year-ago quarter. However, nonperforming assets totaled $26.4 million as of Mar 31, 2016, up 15.9% year over year.

Profitability Ratios

Westamerica’s profitability ratios deteriorated. As of Mar 31, 2016, annualized return on assets was 1.11%, down from 1.17% as of Mar 31, 2015. Likewise, annualized return on common equity declined to 10.9% from 11.4% as of Mar 31, 2015.

Share Repurchase

In the reported quarter, Westamerica repurchased around 130,000 shares at an average repurchase price of $41.53.

Our Viewpoint

Westamerica’s efforts to reduce its exposure to rising interest rates by buying shorter-duration investment securities with lower yields will procure positive results. Also the company’s impressive credit quality continues to work in its favor.

Though the company’s stable balance sheet position is expected to support growth; soft revenues and persistent margin compression, as a result of a still low interest rate scenario, will likely weigh on profitability in the near term.

Currently, Westamerica carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Among other Western banks, Zions Bancorporation ZION and Bank of Hawaii Corporation BOH are scheduled to report results on Apr 25, while BofI Holding, Inc. BOFI is slated to report on Apr 28.

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
WESTAMER BANCP (WABC): Free Stock Analysis Report
ZIONS BANCORP (ZION): Free Stock Analysis Report
BANK OF HAWAII (BOH): Free Stock Analysis Report
BOFI HLDG INC (BOFI): Free Stock Analysis Report
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