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Citizen Financial (CFG) Stock Moves Up on Q1 Earnings Beat

Driven by higher revenues, Citizens Financial Group, Inc. CFG delivered a positive earnings surprise of nearly 8% in first quarter 2016. Earnings per share came in at 41 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 38 cents. Also, the reported figure improved 5% year over year, on an adjusted basis. Notably, the reported quarter did not record any restructuring charges or significant one-time items.

Following the earnings release, Citizens Financial gained over 2% at the beginning of the trading session. This is perhaps due to the earnings beat which came on the back higher net interest income and relatively stable expenses. Also the quarter benefited from the rate hike as net interest margin (NIM) improved. However, we will get a fair idea about price reaction following the completion of today’s trading session.

Notably, the quarter witnessed continued growth in loan as well as deposit balances, while maintaining a strong capital position. On the flip side, the company recorded fall in non interest income and a significant rise in provisions.

Net income available to common shareholders increased 3% year over to $216 million.

Performance in Detail

Total revenue for the quarter was $1.23 billion, almost in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, it increased 4% year over year, primarily led by an increase in net interest income (NII).

Citizens Financial’s NII rose 8% year over year to $904 million. The rise was primarily attributable to higher average loan growth.

Also, NIM improved 9 basis points year over to 2.86%, reflecting the benefit from higher interest rates and an improved loan mix.

However, non-interest income decreased 5% year over year to $330 million. The decline was mainly driven by reduced mortgage banking fees, other income, card and foreign exchange fees, partially offset by higher service charges & fees, and trust & investment services fees.

Non-interest expense remained almost stable year over year at $811 million. A $10 million decline in restructuring charges, significant items and other expenses was offset by a rise in costs tied with outside services, salaries and employee benefits, amortization and equipment.  On an adjusted basis non-interest expenses increased 1% year over year.

Efficiency ratio decreased to 66% in first-quarter 2016 from 68% in the prior year quarter. A fall in efficiency ratio indicates improvement in profitability.

As of Mar 31, 2016, period end total loan and lease balances increased 7% year over year to $101.7 billion, reflecting a growth in commercial and retail loan portfolios. Period end total deposits rose 4% from the prior-year quarter to $102.6 billion.

Credit Quality

Citizens Financial’s several credit metrics deteriorated in the reported quarter. Notably, the quarter included additional reserves tied with the company’s oil and gas portfolio following the Shared National Credit review.

As of Mar 31, 2016, allowance for loan and lease losses inched up 2% year over year at $1.22 billion. Provision for credit losses jumped 57% year over year to $91 million.

Further, net charge-offs for the quarter was $83 million or 33 bps of total loans and leases down from $54 million or 23 bps in the prior-year quarter. However, total nonperforming loans and leases were $1.08 billion, down 5% from the year-ago period.

Capital Position

Citizens Financial remained well capitalized in the quarter. As of Mar 31, 2016, Common equity Tier 1 capital ratio stood at 11.6% compared with 12.2% at the end of the prior-year quarter. Further, leverage ratio came in at 10.4% versus 10.5% as of Mar 31, 2015.

Outlook – 2Q16

Compared with the first quarter 2016, average loans are predicted to grow approximately 2%, while NIM is expected to remain stable. The company expects mid-single digit growth in non interest income.

However, a modest rise in expense is anticipated. Also, provisions are likely to trend higher moderately. Loan to deposit ratio at the end of the quarter is estimated at 98%.

Our Viewpoint

Results reflect a decent quarter for Citizen Financial. We remain optimistic as the company remains focused on several of its initiatives to grow revenues and improve efficiency.  Notably, the company aims to achieve savings target of $200 million by the end of 2016.

With a diversified traditional banking platform, Citizens Financial remains well poised to benefit from a recovery in the economy of regions where it has a footprint. However, continuous decline in mortgage banking revenues, regulatory issues as well as competitive pressure remain matters of concern.

Currently, Citizens Financial carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Among others, People's United Financial Inc. PBCT reported first-quarter 2016 earnings of 21 cents per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, the reported figure beat the prior-year quarter by a penny. Higher revenues driven by increased net interest income supported earnings. Further, growth in loans and deposits balances was other positives. However, fall in non-interest income and higher provisions acted as dampeners.

Flagstar Bancorp Inc. FBC and EverBank Financial Corp. EVER are slated to release results on Apr 26 and Apr 27, respectively.

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PEOPLES UTD FIN (PBCT): Free Stock Analysis Report
FLAGSTAR BANCP (FBC): Free Stock Analysis Report
CITIZENS FIN GP (CFG): Free Stock Analysis Report
EVERBANK FIN CP (EVER): Free Stock Analysis Report
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