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Citizens Financial Group CFG has reported underlying third-quarter 2021 earnings per share of $1.22, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.19. Also, the bottom line rose 67% from the year-ago quarter figure.
Benefits from provisions and a marginal rise in loan balances were positives. Further, strong capital and credit quality were the driving factors. However, a decline in revenues on low fee income was a headwind.
Net income was $530 million compared with $314 million reported in the prior-year quarter.
Revenues Decline on Lower Fee Income, Costs Flare Up
Total revenues for the third quarter were $1.66 billion, outpacing the consensus estimate of $1.64 billion. However, the top line was down 7% year over year.
Citizens Financial’s net interest income rose 1% year over year to $1.1 billion. The net interest margin (FTE basis) contracted 11 basis points (bps) to 2.72%. This was, however, partly mitigated by an improved funding mix and deposit pricing.
The non-interest income fell 21% year over year to $514 million. The downside stemmed largely from the $179-million fall in mortgage banking fees and an $11-million decline in other income.
Non-interest expenses shot up 3% year over year to $1 billion.
The underlying efficiency ratio of 61% in the third quarter increased from 55% in the year-ago quarter.
As of Sep 30, 2021, period-end total loan and lease balances rose 1% sequentially to $123.3 billion. Also, total deposits improved 1% to $152.2 billion.
Credit Quality Strong
Reflecting a solid credit performance and improvement in the macroeconomic outlook, the provision for credit losses witnessed a reversal of $33 million compared with $428 million provision expenses witnessed in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, net charge-offs for the quarter plunged 80% to $44 million.
Non-accrual loans and leases were down 42% to $747 million. As of Sep 30, 2021, the allowance for credit losses fell 27% to $2 billion.
Capital Position Robust
Citizens Financial was well-capitalized in the third quarter. As of Sep 30, 2021, the common equity tier-1 capital ratio was 10.3% compared with 9.8% at the end of the prior-year quarter. Further, the tier-1 leverage ratio was 9.7%, up from 9.5% in the prior-year quarter. The total capital ratio was 13.4%, up from 13.3% in the prior-year quarter.
Capital Deployment Update
The company made no share repurchases in the quarter. Notably, including common stock dividends, it returned $167 million to shareholders.
Citizens Financial’s results highlight a decent quarter despite the lower interest rates. Pick-up in credit quality and sound capital levels helped the company offset some margin pressure. We are further optimistic as management continues to make investments in technology to enhance customers’ experience. Apart from these, its progress in TOP programs and balance-sheet-optimization initiatives bodes well for long-term growth.
In third-quarter 2021, Citizens Financial announced or completed three acquisitions. These comprised the company entering definitive agreements to merge with Investors Bancorp, Inc. in July and JMP Group in September, and completing the acquisition of Willamette Management Associates. Such inorganic growth moves bode well for long-term growth.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Quote
Currently, Citizens Financial carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Performance of Other Banks
Fifth Third Bancorp FITB reported third-quarter 2021 earnings (excluding the after-tax impact of certain items) of 94 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 91 cents. Including the impacts of these items, earnings per share were 97 cents per share, indicating a 24% year-over-year rise.
State Street’s STT third-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of $2.00 per share outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.92. Also, the bottom line was 37.9% higher than the prior-year level.
First Republic Bank FRC delivered an earnings surprise of 4.4% in third-quarter 2021 on solid top-line strength. Earnings per share of $1.91 surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.83. Additionally, the bottom line improved 18.6% from the year-ago quarter.
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