We are downgrading our recommendation on Hudson City Bancorp Inc. (NasdaqGS: HCBK - News) to Underperform from Neutral. Though a solid business model and strong capital levels are the upsides, we believe that the elevated levels of credit metrics remain a concern for the company.
The recent regulatory moves are also expected to create pressure on Hudson City’s bottom line. Moreover, the low interest rate environment, which is anticipated to continue in the upcoming quarters, would restrict the company’s margin.
Hudson City’s second-quarter operating earnings came in just a penny ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate, primarily helped by lower interest expense, partially offset by an increase in provision for loan losses and lower interest margin.
Credit metrics at Hudson City continue to expand negatively. Higher provision for loan losses, increased net charge-offs and elevated ratio of nonperforming assets to total assets reflect the risks inherent in the company’s loan portfolio. As the economy is recovering at a slow pace, we do not expect the credit quality to experience any dramatic improvement in the near future.