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Edited Transcript of EGBN earnings conference call or presentation 17-Oct-19 2:00pm GMT

Q3 2019 Eagle Bancorp Inc Earnings Call

BETHESDA Nov 12, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Eagle Bancorp Inc earnings conference call or presentation Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Charles D. Levingston

Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO

* Janice L. Williams

Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - EVP

* Susan G. Riel

Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Casey Cassiday Whitman

Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research

* Catherine Fitzhugh Summerson Mealor

Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD and SVP

* Christopher William Marinac

Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division - Director of Research and Banks & Thrifts Analyst

* Erik Edward Zwick

Boenning and Scattergood, Inc., Research Division - Director and Analyst of Northeast Banks

* Steven Comery

Morgan Group Holding Co. - Research Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Eagle Bancorp, Inc. Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to hand the conference to your speaker today, Charles Levingston, Chief Financial Officer. Please go ahead, sir.

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [2]

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Thank you, Victor. Good morning. This is Charles Levingston, Chief Financial Officer of Eagle Bancorp. Before we begin the presentation, I would like to remind everyone that some of the comments made during this call may be considered forward-looking statements. Our Form 10-K for the 2018 fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K identify certain factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements made this morning.

The company does undertake to update any forward -- does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events or developments. Our periodic reports are available from the company or online on the company's website or the SEC website. I would like to remind you that while we think that our prospects for continued growth and performance are good, it is our policy not to establish with the markets any earnings, margin or balance sheet guidance.

Now I would like to introduce Susan Riel, the President and CEO of Eagle Bancorp.

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Thank you, Charles. I'd like to welcome all of you to our earnings call for the third quarter of 2019. We appreciate your calling in this morning and your continued interest in EagleBank. As usual, Jan Williams, our Chief Credit Officer, is also with us this morning. Jan and Charles will be available later in the call for questions.

I'm pleased to announce that we achieved another quarter of strong profitability with net income for the third quarter of $36.5 million. While that is a decrease from our earnings of $38.9 million in the third quarter of 2018 and slightly below the second quarter of 2019, our profitability still ranks among the highest levels of community banks in the United States. The return on average assets for the quarter was 1.62%, and the return on average tangible common equity was 13.25%. We're also very pleased to report that with solid growth in loans, deposits and market share during the quarter, at September 30, we reached $9 billion in total assets.

For the quarter, the earnings were $1.07 per fully diluted share as compared to $1.13 per share in the third quarter of 2018. As mentioned in the press release, there were 2 significant nonrecurring expense items which somewhat offset each other so that exclusive of those items, our earnings for the quarter would have been $37.1 million or $1.08 per fully diluted share. I will discuss the details of the FDIC insurance credit and the changes to our Board structure later in my remarks.

Given the trend of margin compression across the industry, it is not surprising that the major factor influencing our profitability in the third quarter was the decrease of the net interest margin to 3.72% for the quarter. That was compared to 4.14% a year ago and 3.91% in the second quarter of 2019.

Like many of our peers, our margin has been significantly impacted by the very difficult interest rate environment. We clearly felt the effects of the flat yield curve and the disconnect in the markets between the loan pricing and deposit rates. The decrease in the margin was attributable to several factors. The yield on our loan portfolio was 5.39% for the third quarter as compared to 5.69% in the third quarter of 2018 and 5.61% in the second quarter of this year. The decrease in loan yields was related to both lower LIBOR rates during the period, which directly impacts 41% of our portfolio and the lower rates on new loans booked during the quarter.

Loan pricing is very competitive in this market, especially as we have become more selective in the transactions we are booking. For the third quarter, we were able to achieve excellent growth in deposits, while keeping our cost of interest bearing deposits at 1.89%, equal to the rate in the second quarter of this year. We reduced our composite cost of funds for the quarter by 2 basis points to 1.28%. Even with the strong deposit growth, we maintained DDAs at 30% of average deposit balances for the quarter. Most importantly, we have been seeing a softening in the pricing of deposits in the Washington region over the last couple of months and believe this bodes well for the fourth quarter.

The margin in the third quarter was also impacted by a change in our asset liability mix. We worked to increase our liquidity and reduce the loan to deposit ratio. During the quarter, we added $453 million in deposits without increasing our cost of funds rate. The additional funding was primarily core deposits, which went into NOW accounts and money market accounts. Average liquidity for the third quarter was $142 million greater than in the second quarter of 2019, and we had an average loan to deposit ratio of 102% for the quarter, which was an important objective.

As we have said many times, at EagleBank, we do not focus on just one factor, but maintain our efforts on all of the key performance indicators. So offsetting the decreased margin were continued strong contributions to profitability from the very favorable efficiency ratio, continued loan and deposit growth, solid asset quality and noninterest income.

The efficiency ratio for the third quarter was 38.34% for the quarter on a GAAP basis, as we continued our prudent approach to expense management. As I mentioned earlier, there were 2 nonrecurring expense items we recognized during the quarter, one was a credit of $1.1 million from a refundable FDIC assessment, which we had paid into the fund over 9 quarters dating back to 2016. The credit was received when the total FDIC insurance fund reached 1.38% of insured deposits. If the fund remains above the 1.38% target level, we will receive an additional credit of approximately $600,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The other nonrecurring item was an expense of $2 million for acceleration of share-based compensation as certain directors resigned and the Boards of the company and the bank were consolidated and reorganized. We'll have some comments later regarding corporate governance. Exclusive of these 2 nonrecurring items, the efficiency ratio for the third quarter would have been 37.95%. Even including the 2 nonrecurring expenses -- expense items for the third quarter, the ratio of noninterest expenses as a percent of average assets was 1.50% as compared to 1.58% in the third quarter of last year. While judiciously managing expenses, we continue to make the necessary investments in systems and personnel and organizational structure as we grow towards the $10 billion regulatory threshold.

Legal, accounting and professional fees were $3.6 million for the quarter as compared to $2.7 million in the second quarter of 2019 and $2.1 million in the third quarter of 2018. Legal fees related to the ongoing investigations were $1.9 million for the third quarter of 2019 as compared to $700,000 for the second quarter of 2019. We expect that the legal fees related to these matters could remain at elevated levels at least through the end of 2019.

In regards to the investigation, there isn't much we can say beyond the fact that we continue to fully cooperate with the various agencies. Most of the work is being handled by the law firms we have engaged. The efforts within the company are concentrated with few members of senior management so that we can continue to focus on providing exceptional customer service and growing the bank.

I might add that there are no regulatory restrictions on our normal operations of the bank due to the investigation. As you know, we began our share repurchase program during the third quarter. We had previously received regulatory approval for that program, but before announcing and commencing the program in August, we went back to our primary regulator and verified their continued approval. We are very pleased with the results to date of the share repurchase program. From inception on August 9 through September 30, we repurchased 822,200 shares at an average price of $40.58 per share. Because the calculations are based on weighted averages, the program did not create much EPS accretion during the third quarter of 2019, but should have a more beneficial impact in the fourth quarter and going forward. The current repurchase program expires on December 31, 2019, and we will evaluate an extension of the program prior to that date.

Another confirmation of the strength and consistent financial performance of the company is the recent announcement by the Kroll Bond Rating Agency that they have reaffirmed our senior unsecured debt rating of BBB+ for the company and A- at the bank level. During the third quarter, we generated loan growth of $167 million on a point-to-point basis, a growth rate of 2.3%. Average loans for the quarter showed an increase of 13% over the third quarter of 2018. The annualized growth rate of 9.2% we saw in the third quarter is in line with our strategic objectives. The total of new loans booked during the quarter was about $360 million, down from the average of $400 million over the last 4 quarters. The largest increase during the quarter was in CRE income-producing loans with a very small increase in ADC loans. While we continue to see strong loan demand in the market, we remain selective throughout the credit approval and monitoring processes.

Loan pricing is very competitive, and we are sensitive to established customers with whom we can structure higher quality loan transactions. EagleBank was built through relationships banking, and we continue to nurture and improve our bonds with our valued customers.

The economy in the Washington area remained strong. While the pace of population and job growth has slowed from the torrid pace of 2017, it is steady at about 25,000 net new jobs per annum, and the new jobs are in the higher income white-collar positions. The tech sector continues to flourish in Northern Virginia. The most recent reports from the Fuller Institute at George Mason University indicate increases in both the co-incident and leading indicators for the metropolitan Washington region.

Average deposits for the third quarter increased 13% over the third quarter of 2018 and 6% over the second quarter of 2019. As I mentioned earlier, we made a concerted effort to build deposits during the quarter to add liquidity and to reduce the loan to deposit ratio. We still prefer to stay relatively short in -- relatively short for the duration of our deposits. Average CDs as a percentage of average total deposits were 20% for the third quarter as compared to 19% at September 30, 2018.

More importantly, DDAs averaged 30% for the third quarter of 2019. Our ability to retain and grow deposits demonstrate the value of our relationship first approach to banking. During the last several months, our customer base has been tremendously supportive of the bank. We have had almost no account or deposit attrition during this period. I would like to commend our relationship managers, support staff and branch personnel who have done a wonderful job of communicating with and providing outstanding service to our customers. We're very pleased to note the recent report from the FDIC on deposit levels and market share in the Washington metropolitan area. For the annual period ending June 30, 2019, shown in the report, EagleBank had deposit growth of 10.5%, while the increase for the entire market was 4.9%. We continue to grow market share, but with a share of only 3.2%, we feel there is still tremendous opportunity for organic growth in what many analysts consider to be the one of the best markets in the country.

We increased our presence and visibility in the Washington area this week when we opened our new loan production office in Prince George's County. We're excited about the opportunities there and have staffed the new office with bankers who know that market. The key for us has been and still is that as we grow, we remain -- we retain the feel and high-touch customer service of a community bank. That is what we continue to deliver through our relationship-first approach to the market. We're adhering to our basic ALCO strategy of maintaining our moderate position for rate sensitivity and avoid taking excessive interest rate risk over the long term. We're slightly asset sensitive with the short duration in the loan portfolio and 60% of the loan portfolio in variable or adjustable rate loans. About 41% of the loan portfolio is indexed to LIBOR, which definitely hurt us in the third quarter, but we feel that it is the correct long-term strategy.

We do have floors in the pricing structure of 42% of our loans, and they will start to kick in if short-term rates decline further. Noninterest income was a plus for us during the third quarter as it grew to $6.3 million as compared to $5.7 million in the third quarter of 2018. The gain on sale of residential mortgages was $2.6 million for the quarter as compared to $1.4 million in the third quarter of 2018 and $1.9 million in the second quarter of 2019. This was the one area where we had a benefit from the decrease in rates during the quarter.

The bank continues to maintain solid credit quality. At September 30, 2019, NPAs as a percentage of total assets were 0.66% as compared to 0.20% a year ago and to 0.45% at June 30, 2019. Nonperforming loans were 0.76% of total loans at the end of the third quarter as compared to 0.22% at September 30, 2018, and 0.51% at June 30, 2019. The total of nonperforming loans at September 30 was $57.7 million, which included one loan in the amount of $16.5 million, which was brought current shortly after the end of the quarter. Excluding that loan, the total of nonperforming loans would have been 0.54% of total loans at September 30, and the NPAs would have been 0.48% of total assets.

We continue to constantly evaluate the portfolio and take an aggressive approach to placing loans on nonaccrual status. Net charge-offs for the third quarter of 2019 were 0.08% as compared to 0.05% in the third quarter of 2018. On an annualized basis, net charge-offs were just 0.12% for 2019 year-to-date. The allowance for loan losses was 0.98% of total loans at the end of the third quarter. The provision expense for the quarter was $3.2 million consistent with our allowance methodology, the current economic climate and our minimal charge-off history.

At September 30, 2019, the coverage ratio was 128%, 173% excluding the cleared loan, as compared to 452% at September 30, 2018, and we believe that we are adequately reserved.

Since our last quarterly press release and earnings call in July, we have had the opportunity to touch base with many of our shareholders and our valued advisers about the status of the company. We have spoken about the realization that our company has been changing from the smaller, rapidly growing bank we were a few years ago to the more mature, perhaps a little slower growing but still a high-performing company. We have been working on and taking steps through the transition process for some time in many instances well before the retirement of Ron Paul 6 months ago and the new roles taken on by our Chairman, Norm Pozez, and myself. Some of the activities you have seen in the last 2 quarters are the results of much planning and development, which we have now implemented. They include the payment of the cash dividend, which we reinstituted in the second quarter, are paying again for the third quarter and plan to continue. It also includes the share repurchase program, which we commenced in the third quarter. These 2 items are clear recognition that we want to provide a return to you, our shareholders, in ways beyond just share price appreciation.

We're also committed to maintaining a sound organization in all aspects. In July, we announced the strategic reorganization of the Board which, combined with earlier changes to our committee structures, will enhance the Board's ability to provide oversight of the company. As a larger organization, we are also revisiting our management committee structures so as to better coordinate all important strategic and risk management matters. We also have discussed with pride the fact that the hit to the margin caused by the current interest rate market, we are still a highly profitable, well-capitalized and growing community bank. We were able to adopt the cash dividend and the share repurchase program because of our strong capital position. Even with the impact on capital of those programs over the past year, the total risk-based capital ratio improved from 15.74% to 16.08% at September 30, 2019. Over the same period, the tangible common equity ratio improved from 12.01% to 12.13%.

I'm going to close with one final but important statistic. Our profitability and capital management over the past year have led to growth in the tangible value -- book value per share from $27.84 at September 30, 2018, to $32.01 today, an increase of 15%.

Thank you, again, for joining the call this morning and for your continued support of EagleBank. That concludes my formal remarks. We would be pleased to take any questions at this time.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions)

And our first question will come from the line of Catherine Mealor from KBW.

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Catherine Fitzhugh Summerson Mealor, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD and SVP [2]

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I'm going to start with the margin and maybe dig into the deposit side. Can you talk a little bit about maybe what deposit costs have done in the most recent months or weeks just given the recent Fed cut and your expectations for your ability to lower maybe some of your money market accounts as soon as the fourth quarter?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [3]

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Sure. Thanks. Catherine, this is Charles. The deposit rates in our market have shown a little bit of softening here in recent weeks. That's something that we've learned in talking to other folks around the country, it had happened in other markets. Unfortunately, in our market, where all the banks here are so loaned up, the competition tends to remain fairly stiff, although, again, some of those stubborn rates are starting to soften up. So my expectation is that we will and we actually have already made changes to our money market rate, and we'll continue to do so as the probability for another rate decrease looks pretty good at the end of this month. I think it's about at 86%. So I would expect there to be some savings in terms of funding costs going forward in the near term.

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Catherine Fitzhugh Summerson Mealor, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD and SVP [4]

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So your money market right now -- or savings and money market are 1.85%. Where

would you say they are today?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [5]

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We're just over 1% on the top tier money market accounts at this point. And often you hear about this notion that once rates fall below 1%, it tends to change the landscape a little bit. So yes, that's right where we are in our top tier.

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Catherine Fitzhugh Summerson Mealor, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD and SVP [6]

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So I'm sorry, right at 1% you said?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [7]

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Just above 1%.

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Catherine Fitzhugh Summerson Mealor, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD and SVP [8]

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Sorry, my phone keeps ringing. Say that one more time?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [9]

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Just above 1%.

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Catherine Fitzhugh Summerson Mealor, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD and SVP [10]

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Just above 1%. Okay. Great. So I mean -- so as we think about next quarter, I mean, directionally do you feel like we still have more NIM compression as LIBOR still pushes loan yields down, but we don't get as commensurate decrease in deposit cost quite yet? I guess directionally, how you're kind of thinking about where the margin goes from here?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [11]

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Sure. Yes, I would not be surprised to see some additional compression in the margin in the near term. We do -- however, I would not expect them to be as dramatic as we saw between the second and third quarter. We feel pretty comfortable with the liquidity position where it is today, which certainly played a role. We do have CDs that on a weighted-average basis have about a 12-month weighted-average life. And those -- we'll be repricing those CDs that we put on over the last year, so we'll be repricing. We also have, as we talked about our money market rates that have been brought down and repricing those deposits as rates continue to drop. We also have floors on our loans.

So on the other side of the balance sheet, we do have a little bit of protection. I think another 25 basis point move and we'll be pretty much sitting at the floors, and if there is yet another move down at the end of the year, we'll see the benefit of some of those rate decreases going into the 2020. So that's a little bit of color around my expectations for the margin, but, yes, to your point, a little bit -- I wouldn't be surprised to see a little bit more compression, but I would expect some stabilization going into '20.

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Catherine Fitzhugh Summerson Mealor, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD and SVP [12]

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Great. Okay. And on loan growth, how do you think about a fair pace for loan growth next year. It feels like -- you made a comment that you're now kind of transitioning to be a highly profitable, but more mature company with kind of slower growth than you have historically. So what level of growth do you feel like is appropriate this part of the economic cycle and given your size?

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [13]

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Catherine, we are still projecting a high single-digit growth rate. We think that's where we will be comfortable at.

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Catherine Fitzhugh Summerson Mealor, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD and SVP [14]

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And within that high single-digit, can you talk a little bit about your focus on where you're pulling back in terms of loan types and where most of that growth will come from?

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [15]

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I would say, we're being far more selective on construction loans. So we're not out of the construction lending business, but we're being far more selective than we have been. Restaurants and hospitality, we've been very cautious with also.

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Operator [16]

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And our next question comes from the line of Casey Whitman from Sandler O'Neill.

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Casey Cassiday Whitman, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [17]

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First, just going to ask on the tax rate. That's ticked up over the last 2 quarters or so. Is 28% a good rate to use going forward? Or could we see some relief?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [18]

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Yes. I think in the fourth quarter, I would expect that tax rate to remain relatively around the same area, but a lot of those expense is associated with Ron's retirement and the lack of deductibility of those expenses will be a loss going into 2020 and I think it will normalize back around the 26% area going forward beyond that.

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Casey Cassiday Whitman, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [19]

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Okay. Got it. Just thinking about expenses, so if we just look at maybe the salary and benefit line this quarter, if I exclude the one-time cost, you had a pretty nice relief there. I guess what do you attribute some of that decline to? And then I also just wanted to get a sense for how talent attrition has gone over the last several months through some of the outside noise? I mean have you been able to keep all the lenders? Or just kind of give us an idea of how your talent attrition has gone.

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [20]

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We have had turnover. I mean we're in a business where there is turnover. We're always looking at bringing on people and there are people unfortunately that leave. Sometimes that turnover is good. We have attracted some good people. We have a strong team in both the lending teams and the support areas, and we're continuing to build on that. We're looking to fill some critical high-level senior management positions, and we have some good leads in that area also.

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [21]

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Casey, in terms of the cost, here we are kind of getting towards the end of the year and some of those incentive accruals that we're making are being trued up based on our expectation for production towards the end of the year, which leads to the result that you see in the financials today. That's part of it.

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Casey Cassiday Whitman, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [22]

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Got it. I guess bigger picture, I mean, do you think you can keep holding the efficiency ratio below 40% as you incur maybe some elevated costs related to going over $10 billion or with other continued IT expenses you guys kind of referenced? Or I guess, can you keep the efficiency ratio this low? Or is that -- should it tick up a little bit?

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [23]

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We think, Casey, that it may pick up a little bit, but we'll be 40% or below. We have spread the cost of going over the $10 billion mark over a period of years. So last year, we did some. We did some this year. We'll add some more next year. So we have been prudent in that and not taking the hit all at one time. So we do expect that the efficiency ratio will still be at 40% or lower.

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [24]

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Also keep in mind, we are saddled with some of these additional legal expenses at this point that we hope to put to a different use going forward in terms of those expenses. So in terms of, again, growing towards that $10 billion, adding the infrastructure, adding people, growing out our risk management apparatus, so yes, I would agree with Susan that 40% or below is the expectation.

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Casey Cassiday Whitman, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [25]

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Okay. Great. I'll just ask one more question and let somebody else to hop on. Maybe, Jan, just a little bit of color on that one nonperforming loan that was brought current. How long was it on nonaccrual? What was the loan type, the location and any kind of color you can give us would be helpful?

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Janice L. Williams, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - EVP [26]

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Sure, Casey. It was one loan in a prime location on Wisconsin Avenue that had matured and wasn't promptly addressed. When it was addressed, the documentation and the funding didn't come in until after the 30th. So it was never on nonaccrual, but it was over 90 days at September 30. So we included it in the over 90-day category. It's a 60% loan-to-value property. It's really a terrific location. So I don't have concerns from a credit standpoint. We just weren't able to get it redocumented and cleared by the end of the quarter.

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Operator [27]

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And the next question comes from the line of Christopher Marinac from Janney Montgomery.

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Christopher William Marinac, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division - Director of Research and Banks & Thrifts Analyst [28]

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Jan, just want to continue along the same lines with you. What's new on the classified fund and criticized? Are those trends going to be similar to what we saw last quarter and do they kind of directionally follow what we saw in the NPAs at 9/30?

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Janice L. Williams, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - EVP [29]

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There's not going to be a tremendous amount of shift, but there is a bit. You might recall that we had a number of loans that were included as a result of one of our customers that had a number of projects with us, the Hitt transaction, which you may have read about Todd Hitt. We're in good shape, but it's still in receivership. So those loans are being carried in that substandard category. We also any time that a loan becomes nonperforming or goes over 90 days were automatically downgrading to a substandard level. So you're going to see that $16.5 million in there this quarter. Typically, we don't have a ton of migration at any given time, but one loan in the $20 million range can make a big difference in what our average risk rating is. It's down from roughly -- it's down about 1% in terms of the criticized and classified portfolio -- the average risk rating, I'm sorry, it's down about 1%. The criticized and classified portfolio has grown by about $22 million in the last quarter. So a lot of it is going to be moving back out of there as we progress through these.

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Christopher William Marinac, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division - Director of Research and Banks & Thrifts Analyst [30]

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So net-net it sounds like you've got some incoming and some outgoing, but it's not materially. Got you. Okay. Great. I appreciate that. Charles, just quickly for you, does the wholesale sort of dependency get incrementally better because you have the deposit growth this quarter and then obviously the loan to deposit ratio just ticked down? I mean does that just where liquidity ratios just get better because of the success in Q3?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [31]

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Yes. I think you will see that. We had a little bit of reduction as we measure our core deposits in NOW, I think, as a result of the regulatory relief, the reciprocal deposits being included as core generally. We did see a little bit of improvement there. So yes, I think that's the right view.

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Christopher William Marinac, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division - Director of Research and Banks & Thrifts Analyst [32]

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Okay. Great. And then last question. How do your typical prepayments work in this type of environment? Do they generally help you? Or does it create more of a turnover, just with customers wanting to refinance as rates go low. I'm just kind of curious on structurally if the way that you're set up sort of helps you with the customers?

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Janice L. Williams, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - EVP [33]

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I think we generally get the first bite at the apple if a customer is looking to have their rate decreased, either through refinance or modification. So we try to take a realistic look at the market and the customer and the particular deal, focus on our risk-based return and our pricing policies and, whenever possible, retain that customer looking at the full relationship. There are some times when customers are with us, say, through construction and stabilization and they're ultimately going agency. That's a situation where we may have roll over. I think in the past you've seen that churn in the portfolio on the construction side. And one of the benefits to adding the income-producing portfolio at a more rapid rate is that we do have a longer stabilization period. Most of those loans carry prepayment penalties. So we're not as vulnerable on those either. We tend to retain our customers based on our relationship if we can be competitive on the pricing.

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Operator [34]

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And our next question comes from the line of Steven Comery from G. Research.

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Steven Comery, Morgan Group Holding Co. - Research Analyst [35]

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Deposit growth is really strong this quarter for you guys, kind of a big tick up from what we've seen in past quarters. Was there anything you guys are doing differently? Or was the market different? Or was it just a lot of winds came this quarter?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [36]

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Yes. I attribute it to continual development of relationships with our customers. There is certainly a market element there as well. Folks are getting perhaps a little skittish about late cycles, moving more into cash and that could certainly have a play -- play a role in some of that movement.

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Steven Comery, Morgan Group Holding Co. - Research Analyst [37]

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Okay. And then the other thing I was really positive, I think, this quarter was the tick up in loan sales. Was there anything going on there other than like mortgage volumes were higher, so there was more there to sell? Or were you guys taking share? Was there anything else there?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [38]

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No, no, I think it was simply a product of tracking with that 10-year treasury, rates were down and volumes are up. So yes, we did see some benefit from that this quarter.

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Operator [39]

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And our next question comes from the line of Erik Zwick from Boenning and Scattergood.

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Erik Edward Zwick, Boenning and Scattergood, Inc., Research Division - Director and Analyst of Northeast Banks [40]

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Are you able to hear me?

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Charles D. Levingston, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - Executive VP & CFO [41]

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We are.

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Erik Edward Zwick, Boenning and Scattergood, Inc., Research Division - Director and Analyst of Northeast Banks [42]

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Great. With regard to the changes in the Boardroom this year, the reorganization and then more recently the departure of 3 members, 2 questions, I guess. First, are there any near-term plans to add any additional Board members? And second, what initiatives or priorities are top of minds with the Board today?

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [43]

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We are always looking for new Board members and the skill sets that will help us to fill in some of the gaps that we might need on the Board. We have a candidate, a strong candidate, at this point that we're expecting to make an offer to in the very short distance. We don't have a goal on how many directors we would have. I mean 18 -- we've always been told 18 were too many directors. So we don't have a goal for numbers. Just when the opportunity comes up to get a good qualified director, we will make a move on that.

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Erik Edward Zwick, Boenning and Scattergood, Inc., Research Division - Director and Analyst of Northeast Banks [44]

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Okay. And then in terms of, I guess, with the Board being smaller now, I mean, everyone, I guess, maybe gets a little bit more opportunity to kind of voice their preferences, I guess. Any changes or any adaptations to initiatives or priorities that the Board is looking at today?

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [45]

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No. I would say, we've always had outspoken directors. So even though we had 18, they were always very involved and outspoken and involved with the bank. So no, we don't have any problems with any of that. We're trying to just build the Board with the right skill set as we move into a larger organization and can better meet the expectations of the regulators and our shareholders with that Board.

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Erik Edward Zwick, Boenning and Scattergood, Inc., Research Division - Director and Analyst of Northeast Banks [46]

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Maybe just kind of one follow-up there. As the company does grow and become more mature, is there a skill set that you look for change with a potential Board member or new hire?

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [47]

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Not totally, but there are some, like now we're looking at adding a Risk Committee, which as we move past the $10 billion mark, that is something that is recommended, not required. And one of the Board members that we recently brought on, Theresa LaPlaca, will head up that Risk Committee. So getting -- giving us the opportunity to bring on people that are qualified to do things like that is a key objective for us.

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Operator [48]

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I'm not showing any further questions at this time. I would like to turn the call back over to Susan Riel for any further closing remarks.

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Susan G. Riel, Eagle Bancorp, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [49]

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Okay. I want to thank everyone again for being here and attending today and look forward to talking to you at the next quarter.

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Operator [50]

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Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.