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

Q2 2019 Fulton Financial Corp Earnings Call

Lancaster Jul 19, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Fulton Financial Corp earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* E. Philip Wenger

Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO

* Jason H. Weber

Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior VP & Director of Corporate Development

* Mark R. McCollom

Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Austin Lincoln Nicholas

Stephens Inc., Research Division - VP and Research Analyst

* Christopher Edward McGratty

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

* Frank Joseph Schiraldi

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

* Joseph Gladue

J. Alden Associates, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research

* Matthew M. Breese

Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

* Russell Elliott Teasdale Gunther

D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - VP & Senior Research Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fulton Financial's Second Quarter 2019 Results Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference call may be recorded. I would now like to introduce your host for today's conference, Mr. Jason Weber. Sir, you may begin.

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Jason H. Weber, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior VP & Director of Corporate Development [2]

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Thank you, Daniel, and good morning. Thanks for joining us for Fulton Financial's conference call and webcast to discuss our earnings for the second quarter of 2019. Your hosts for today's conference call is Phil Wenger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fulton Financial Corporation. Joining Phil Wenger is Mark McCollom, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Our comments today will refer to the financial information and related slide presentation included with our earnings announcement, which we released at 4:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon. These documents can be found on our website at www.fult.com by clicking on Investor Relations, then on News. The slides can also be found on the Presentations page under Investor Relations on our website.

On this call, representatives of Fulton may make forward-looking statements with respect to Fulton's financial condition, results of operation and business. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors and actual results could differ materially. Please refer to the safe harbor statement and the forward-looking statements in our earnings release and on Slide 2 of today's presentation for additional information regarding these risks, uncertainties and other factors.

Fulton undertakes no obligation, other than as required by law, to update or revise any forward-looking statements. In discussing Fulton's performance, representatives of Fulton may refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures. Please refer to the supplemental financial information included with Fulton's earnings announcement released yesterday and Slides 11 and 12 of today's presentation for a reconciliation of those non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable GAAP measures.

Now I'd like to turn the call over to your host, Phil Wenger.

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [3]

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Thanks, Jason, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today. I have a few prepared remarks before our CFO Mark McCollom shares the details of our second quarter financial performance and discusses our 2019 outlook. When he concludes, we will open the phone line for questions.

But before I talk briefly about our second quarter performance, I want to highlight 2 important milestones we hit during the quarter. I personally consolidated our subsidiary bank, Fulton Bank of New Jersey into our largest banking subsidiary, Fulton Bank. And second, our last remaining BSA/AML consent order was terminated, paving the way to finalize our strategic priority of consolidating all of our subsidiary banks into Fulton Bank. We plan on consolidating our remaining 2 subsidiary banks in September.

Together achieving these milestones will not only help unify our brand but also facilitate growth going forward.

And now I'd like to talk about our second quarter performance. Overall, we were pleased with our results, which were driven by strong fee income and continued growth in our consumer business. In our consumer business, we continue to see strong growth in our residential mortgage and indirect auto portfolios. Our residential mortgage portfolio has a balanced mix of in footprint, fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages, with a weighted average borrowing credit score of approximately 750. And our indirect auto portfolio is comprised of in footprint loans with a weighted average borrower credit score of approximately 795. Our commercial business continues to be impacted by an extremely competitive lending landscape, and we are seeing competition from banks, small and large, as well as non-bank lenders. Our commercial pipeline remains strong, so we are cautiously optimistic about our growth prospects for the remainder of the year.

Turning to credit. Overall asset quality continues to be relatively stable despite a modest uptick in nonperforming loans linked quarter. We believe the uptick in nonperforming loans is not suggestive of a broader portfolio or macro trends. Our provision for credit losses was down slightly linked quarter and we also had net recoveries during the quarter.

Moving to fees. Noninterest income growth was strong linked quarter and year-over-year reflecting seasonal growth, higher volumes and continued sales efforts. We saw growth across most noninterest income categories. Mortgage banking income increased linked quarter and year-over-year on both improving spreads and higher originations. As rates moved down during the quarter, we did see a nice pick up in refinance activity in June. Our investment management and trust services income grew at a nice pace linked quarter and year-over-year due to both overall market performance and our continued asset gathering focus. Brokerage revenue increased 6.5 -- excuse me, 16.5% year-over-year and continues to be one of our fastest-growing segments in the business. The increase also reflects the acquisition of a small wealth management business in the first quarter. Our commercial loan interest rate swap income was up linked quarter and year-over-year on increased volumes and larger deals.

Turning to expenses. We saw a linked quarter increase on our noninterest expenses, which was expected, due to approximately $5.1 million in charter consolidation expenses. Excluding those expenses, charter consolidation expenses, the efficiency ratio for the second quarter would have been 61.9%, which is the lowest since the first quarter of 2013.

On the capital front, we paid a quarterly common dividend of $0.13 per share in the second quarter. We repurchased approximately $58 million of common stock during the second quarter. We had approximately $48 million left in our current share repurchase program, which is authorized through December 31, 2019.

At this point, I'd like to turn the call over to Mark McCollom to discuss our financial performance in more detail. Mark?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [4]

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Thank you, Phil, and good morning, everyone. Turning to our earnings. Unless noted otherwise, quarterly comparisons I will discuss are with the first quarter of 2019.

Starting on Slide 4. Earnings per diluted share this quarter were $0.35, on net income of $59.8 million, an increase of $0.02 or 6.1% from the first quarter of 2019 and an increase of $0.15 or 75% from the second quarter of 2018. As you may recall, during the second quarter of 2018, we recorded a $36.8 million provision for credit losses related to a customer fraud on a single large commercial relationship.

I will now -- we'll now dive a bit deeper into the components of our earnings and provide you with some additional color. Moving to Slide 5, our net interest income was $164.5 million, an increase of $1.2 million linked quarter driven mainly by an increase in interest earning assets and an additional day of interest accruals during the quarter, partially offset by the impact of a 5 basis point decrease in our net interest margin. In the second quarter, we saw our cost of funds increase at a higher rate than our yields on interest earning assets reversing the trend we have seen in preceding quarters. In prior quarters, increases in the Fed funds rate drove increases in our earning asset yields while increases in the cost of funds lagged. In the second quarter of 2019, yields on earning assets increased 2 basis points, while our cost of funds increased 6 basis points. Loan yields increased 4 basis points, while the cost of interest-bearing deposits increased 7 basis points.

Everyone is aware of the volatility in interest rates we saw during the second quarter and that the likelihood of rate decreases in the second half of 2019 appears to be high at this point. I would note that some of the impact of declining rates is already reflected in our second quarter results as approximately $7 billion of our loans are tied to various points on the LIBOR curve, and this curve declined sharply during the second quarter. I will provide more color on our net interest margin during our outlook discussion at the end of my comments.

Growth in average loans linked quarter was $122 million for an annualized loan growth rate of 3%. Average deposits increased to $100 million or 2.5% linked quarter annualized.

Turning to Slide 6. Our credit performance in the second quarter was mixed, but overall relatively stable. We had net recoveries of $1.5 million for the quarter as compared to net charge-offs of $4.1 million in the first quarter of 2019. Nonperforming loans increased $9 million to $148 million. Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans increased to 90 basis points at the end of the second quarter as compared to 85 basis points at the end of the first quarter. The provision for credit losses for the second quarter of 2019 was $5 million, slightly lower than the first quarter. The provision was $28.1 million lower than the second quarter of last year, which was driven by the aforementioned commercial relationship. The allowance for credit losses as a percent of loans increased linked quarter to 1.08% from 1.05% at the end of the first quarter. However, the coverage of the allowance to nonperforming loans decreased to 120% from a 123% last quarter.

Moving to Slide 7. We had a very strong quarter with respect to fees as our noninterest income, excluding securities gains, grew $7.5 million or 16% linked quarter. Some of this increase was attributable to seasonality, particularly in consumer card income and overdraft fees as well as merchant and commercial card income. Mortgage banking income increased $1.8 million or 38%, driven by increases in the volume of sold loans as well as improvements in spreads. Increases were also realized in commercial loan interest rate swap fees and also on SBA loan sale gains, which are included in other commercial banking income on our income statement.

Moving to Slide 8. Noninterest expenses were $144.2 million, an increase of $6.3 million from the first quarter. Included in noninterest expense in the second quarter were expenses related to charter consolidation activities totaling $5.1 million, with $1.6 million of this total in salary and benefits expense, $2.7 million in other outside services and the remainder in various expense categories. This compares to total charter consolidation cost of $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2019, which were primarily recorded in other outside services. Excluding these charter consolidation costs from both periods, expenses would have increased $2.7 million or 2% and our efficiency ratio for the second quarter would have been 61.9% as compared to the 64.2% reported.

Salaries and employee benefits increased $1.2 million or 1.6% as the aforementioned charter consolidation costs and increases resulting from normal merit increases during the quarter were partially offset by lower health insurance expense, due to favorable claims experience. Increases were also seen in net occupancy expense, data processing and software as well as marketing expense.

Professional fees decreased compared to the first quarter of 2019. For the second quarter of 2019, our effective tax rate was 14.2%, which is a decrease from the first quarter of 2019.

Moving to Slide 9, Slide 9 displays our profitability and capital levels over the past 5 quarters. Returns on assets and equity are higher this quarter due to net income growth. Our tangible common equity ratio remains strong.

Lastly, we've included our guidance for the remainder of 2019 on Slide 10. This is unchanged from what we've provided last quarter, except for net interest income and margin as well as our noninterest income outlook.

For our net interest margin, we were pleased to start of the year with margin expansion in the first quarter stronger than we've guided. However, the outlook for near-term rate decreases and a significantly flatter yield curve have caused us to be more tempered in our outlook for the balance of the year. Therefore, we're now expecting our net interest margin to increase 2 to 5 basis points for the full year 2019 versus our full year 2018 net interest margin, which was 3.4%. We are also tempering our outlook for net interest income to a mid-single-digit growth rate for the full year 2019. For noninterest income, based on our year-to-date results through June and our expectations for the remainder of the year, we are tightening our outlook for a mid-single-digit growth rate for noninterest income for the full year 2019.

With that we'll now turn the call over to the operator for questions. Daniel, your help please.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Chris McGratty with KBW.

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Christopher Edward McGratty, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [2]

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Mark, maybe I'd start with a margin question for you, the updated guidance, what is that assuming? Is that assuming the forward curve or may be timing of rate cuts?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [3]

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Yes, we had assume -- if you recall, Chris, going back, we had assumed in our guidance at the beginning of the year that there will be 2 rate increases. We've now revised that. In this revised guidance, we're assuming 2 25 basis point decreases, 1 in July, 1 in September, it's in this refresh guidance.

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Christopher Edward McGratty, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [4]

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Okay. Just wanted to make sure. And on the loan growth comments, Phil, you talked about cautious optimism for the back half of the year. Looking at the source of growth in the first half, it continues to be more biased towards resi mortgage. Could you speak to either conversations you're having with your borrowers and maybe the source to growth in the back half of the year? Or should we be expecting more of the growth will be kind of resi loaded?

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [5]

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Yes. So our pipelines do continue to grow, Chris. We were -- our second quarter growth was again hampered by a large payoffs. We did have a $50 million increase linked quarter in our -- in payoffs, about half of that actually was criticizing and plus 5 loans. So going forward, I think we see the growth to be a little more mixed than it was in the second quarter. So we do expect to see continued growth on the consumer side, but we also expect to see C&I pickup.

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Christopher Edward McGratty, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [6]

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Okay. Great. And maybe a question on expenses. Just to sound clear, the guide for the year, is that of the reported number of $5.46 billion last year or are there any other adjustments that you -- given the charter consolidation, the branch charges that will be excluding from that starting point?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [7]

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Yes, yes, it was also reported number for last year and then excluding charter consolidation costs for this year.

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Christopher Edward McGratty, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [8]

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Okay. And year-to-date, those -- I don't have in my fingertips, Mark, the charter consolidation costs have been how much?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [9]

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Yes, year-to-date, we're at 6.6%. I would expect last quarter we had given guidance that that number will be about $9 million. I think that number is going to be closer to $11 million to $11.5 million, Chris, and that is principally due to as we've just dug a little bit deeper we think there's going to a little bit of expense savings, but that's going to require some upfront costs and there's also going to be a very small write-off of an intangible asset as well.

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Christopher Edward McGratty, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [10]

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Okay. So an additional $5 million in the back half of the year, but the guide is -- the $5.46 billion ex that $11 million, okay.

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [11]

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And most -- Chris, most of that should be in the third quarter.

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [12]

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Third quarter, yes.

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Christopher Edward McGratty, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [13]

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Okay. Maybe last one on capital given the progress you made on the BSA. Could you offer updated thoughts on acquisitions, obviously bank stocks have been a little bit out of favor, but any kind of conversation you might be having and kind of strategy would be appreciated.

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [14]

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So we continue to be interested in looking at acquisitions, but we are also committed to remaining disciplined in that approach. So we'll see. We want to make strategic acquisitions inside our footprint that enhances our market share. And -- so as those opportunities come available, we'll be active. But again, we will stay disciplined.

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Operator [15]

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And our next question comes from Frank Schiraldi with Sandler O'Neill.

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Frank Joseph Schiraldi, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [16]

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Just a follow up on the NIM. Mark, just based on your comments and the number of rate cuts you guys have now baked into your expectations. Just kind of back of the envelope, I'm thinking about -- trying to quantify what a given 25 basis point rate cut might be worth to you guys in bps and margin? Is it -- how you're thinking about it? Is it fair to say 2 to 3 basis points is perhaps comes off the margin for every -- for a 25 basis point cut, is that fair? Or just hoping to try and quantify that further?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [17]

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Yes. Frank that I always hesitate to talk about in basis points because there are so many levers. We have -- obviously, some of our loans are tied to LIBOR, where we've already seen some of those decreases. We have $5.4 billion of loans tied to prime which would reset depending on where we are in the cycle. We've got -- throughout the year, we got $800 million to $1.1 billion of deposits that are also indexed and would reset immediately. And then the big question that I think not just us, but that the entire industry is facing is that what do we do now with the back book on deposits when we're now all of a sudden really getting whipsawed here in going from the possibility of rate increases to rate decreases. And we're looking at that very thoughtfully right now. But -- I think, as a starting point, I think, your number is not a bad place to start, but where it stands up is going to depend on how much we can pull those levers ultimately.

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Frank Joseph Schiraldi, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [18]

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I mean, is the thinking at this point when you get a rate cut that you try immediately to pass some of that on to depositors and see what sort of results you get in terms of attrition? Is that sort of more of a wait-and-see approach? How are you thinking about that?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [19]

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Yes, I wouldn't say it's a wait-and-see approach because we've already -- again, I mean, some of the impact -- we have $5.5 billion of loans tied to 1-month LIBOR. And you know what's happened to 1-month LIBOR during the second quarter, right, so some of the reasons for the change in our guidance is because of that impact. So we've been looking at that impact and addressing it currently.

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Frank Joseph Schiraldi, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [20]

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Okay. And then just as it pertains to buybacks, in the past, you've talked about buybacks, depending upon growth opportunities. And it sounds like you guys have strong pipelines, but there's also significant competition out there. So just wondering how you guys are thinking about given how you see the environment currently, how you're thinking about buybacks in the back half of the year? Do you think you could be as aggressive as things stand now as you were in the second quarter or what's the thinking there?

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [21]

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Yes. I think that we believe that we'll continue to be as aggressive as we've been in the second quarter.

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Operator [22]

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And our next question comes from Austin Nicholas with Stephens.

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Austin Lincoln Nicholas, Stephens Inc., Research Division - VP and Research Analyst [23]

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Maybe just taking a look at the occupancy expense, I think it was a little bit higher than may be I was looking for. Can you maybe just provide us some guidance on where we should see that number trending? I know you closed some branches in the first quarter, also have opened a few. So maybe if we kind of weigh those 2 things, how we should think about that number as we look forward?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [24]

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Yes, sure. I think your second quarter had some discrete items related to timing of invoices and those sorts of things. I would expect further guide going forward, look at maybe the prior 4 quarters and maybe just increase that a little bit to account for kind of net square footage increase across our platform. But I think going back to something that's just a little bit above where we were in the prior quarter 4 quarters would be the guide.

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Austin Lincoln Nicholas, Stephens Inc., Research Division - VP and Research Analyst [25]

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Got it. So there is not going to be a huge meaningful, I guess, cost save from the branch closures that were -- that already happened, I guess, kind of netted with the openings, is that kind of fair to say?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [26]

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Yes, yes, yes, correct. Remember, we obviously opened 4 branches and -- so the net impact would be not a large 5, yes, 5 that we have opened.

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Austin Lincoln Nicholas, Stephens Inc., Research Division - VP and Research Analyst [27]

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Got it. As then just on the FDIC insurance, is that a good rate here or is that going to be reevaluated a little higher given more assets under kind of a $10 billion charter?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [28]

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No, I think that's a reasonable run rate for now.

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Austin Lincoln Nicholas, Stephens Inc., Research Division - VP and Research Analyst [29]

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Okay. And then maybe just broader picture on the balance sheet positioning. You've reduced your asset-sensitive position a bit over the last several quarters. Can you maybe talk about how you're positioning for interest rates just on the balance sheet as a whole and may be anything you're doing on the securities book?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [30]

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Yes, I mean, we've been taking very mild steps to extend duration, which obviously helps us and we're an asset sensitive overall book to bring that back to a more neutral posture. We're also evaluating opportunities where -- and again, in small measured ways, where when you have the curve flattening the way it does, it creates opportunities that you might have small pockets of your wholesale portion of your balance sheet that's actually at close to a 0 or a negative carry. So in cases where that exist, we'll be opportunistic to take those off and either just shrink in a very small amount on a wholesale book or take some stuff off and then replace at a higher spread.

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Austin Lincoln Nicholas, Stephens Inc., Research Division - VP and Research Analyst [31]

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Got it, And then maybe just one last one on, I know you mentioned kind of $7 billion of loans tied to somewhere on the LIBOR core curve, but I guess, more specifically, what -- may be what percentage of that is tied to 30-day? And then on the -- maybe to the deposit side, can you may be provide for us the level of deposits that are maybe just indexed to short-term 30-day rates?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [32]

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Yes, yes. So we have about $5.5 billion tied to a 1-month LIBOR. We have $1.3 billion, $1.2 billion, $1.3 billion tied to 1-year LIBOR, but those will actually reset over the next year as those reset dates come due. And then we have another $300 million outside the 5-year LIBOR of same thing, which will reset during our next reset date, but aren't the commercial loans that are resetting milestones. And then on the liability side, really what we have is -- again, it's going to fluctuate throughout the year with our municipal deposit book, but it's going to be between $800 million and $1.1 billion that are indexed municipal rates.

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Operator [33]

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And our next question comes from Joe Gladue with Alden Securities.

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Joseph Gladue, J. Alden Associates, Inc., Research Division - Director of Research [34]

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Just one more question on, I guess, on net interest margin, more on the deposit side. As interest rates have gone up, we've seen a shift in the mix of deposits from noninterest and other core deposits into brokered and CDs. Just wondering if in your guidance you assume any -- with interest rates, Fed rate cuts now, you see any change in that trend and move back to core deposits at all or is any of that assumed.

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [35]

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No. We have assumed that our long-term rates, the guidance we've previously given that that holds intact. We have tweaked our mix a little bit, but the overall growth rate on deposits we expect to remain the same.

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Operator [36]

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(Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from Russell Gunther with D.A. Davidson.

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Russell Elliott Teasdale Gunther, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - VP & Senior Research Analyst [37]

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A quick follow up on the margin. So embedded in the guidance, beyond the funding that's tied to Fed funds, are you guys assuming an ability to reduce deposit costs?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [38]

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Yes. We are assuming that that -- again, some of that existing book that we are going to be testing, learning, adjusting, but there is an assumption certainly as rates decline that we're going to be opportunistic about that.

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Russell Elliott Teasdale Gunther, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - VP & Senior Research Analyst [39]

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Okay. Great. And then switching to the expenses, so here you on the update on the charter consolidation, we're now looking forward a total of $11 million to $11.5 million. You also mentioned some related cost save. So could you quantify for us what the net impact would be, so gross upfront, the $11 million to $11.5 million, what would you kind of net out for net related saves?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [40]

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Yes, I think we have said in prior quarter, Russell, that most of the cost, I mean, we've been operating as 1 bank for a long time within our back office. So while there will be some advisory board consolidations and very small savings there, but I mean, I would put the total savings from our charter consolidation, there are some hard dollar cost savings to be $1 million or less.

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Russell Elliott Teasdale Gunther, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - VP & Senior Research Analyst [41]

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Okay. Now I appreciate that, Mark. And then on to the asset quality side, I hear you on the unchanged guidance there. As we think about the provision going forward, but could you just give us an update on your ag portfolio and sort of what's embedded in that stable asset quality outlook?

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [42]

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So I would say that our ag portfolio has stabilized. And -- so we don't see it really having a major impact on our asset quality going forward.

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Russell Elliott Teasdale Gunther, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - VP & Senior Research Analyst [43]

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Okay. Perfect. And then just last one for me. On the commercial loan growth, you guys mentioned feeling better about the back half of the year with the pipeline there. Could you just give us a sense for sort of geographic or regional pockets of strength in that pipeline?

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [44]

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Yes. So our strongest area in regards to the pipeline right now is Maryland. And that probably will be followed by Pennsylvania and then Virginia and New Jersey.

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Operator [45]

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And our next question comes from Matthew Breese with Piper Jaffray.

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Matthew M. Breese, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [46]

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I first wanted to just hone in on noninterest income, the increase in fees this quarter, lot of different items there that all moved your way. A lot of which you kind of noted was seasonal. And so we're thinking about the $7.5 million quarterly increase. If you had to gauge how much was seasonal and therefore subject to volatility or reduction, how much would you say that was versus what's -- should be included on a run-rate basis?

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [47]

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Well, just to be clear, that seasonality that we're talking about really applies to the first quarter. So I don't think there is much effect for the remaining 2 quarters based on seasonality.

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Matthew M. Breese, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [48]

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Understood. Okay. Then maybe we can hone in on some of the items that were more profitable this quarter such as swap fees, merchant card income, just a ramp higher in terms of run rate, like the $6.5 million from merchant card, the $3.5 million from commercial swap fees. Are those figures we should expect at least in the near-term through year-end?

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [49]

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Yes, definitely on the merchant side, the swap side can be a little volatile based on volumes, but given our backlog right now, we feel comfortable that they will hold.

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Matthew M. Breese, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [50]

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Okay. That's helpful. And then Phil, just going back to your initial comments, I mean, it sounds like the loan growth environment just remains super competitive, and I wanted to get a sense for how that competition looks? Are -- if you are losing loans or you're losing them in terms of rate and structure or is it duration? And then if you are losing loans, do you feel like your competitors are just taking lower levels of profits or are they actually putting at this point in the cycle credit risk on the books?

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [51]

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I think the answer to every one of those is yes. So rate, terms, which would include duration, I think our folks are taking less profit and I also think they're taking on more risk.

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Matthew M. Breese, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [52]

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Understood. Okay. And then thinking about your forward rate outlook on the potential for lower costs, are you yet seeing the opportunities to lower deposit costs? Or are there green shoots showing up on that front? And if so, could you just give us an idea of what those products are, are they the longer duration CDs or are you getting to the point where you can reduce money market rates in short duration kind of products?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [53]

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Yes. I'll comment on 2 fronts there, Matt. One, we are seeing opportunities now to do so. And when you look to where you first started to see signs of rates changing was really in the promotional money market rates. So -- and it was first really the online banks really started to lower their rates, and I think that that then allow a lot of the other brick-and-mortar competitors to follow suit. On a go-forward basis, we are looking at all categories of deposit rates. And selectively, again, you have to sort of testing and evaluating if that changes attrition rates on new acquisition rates to lower them. So the answer to your question is yes, we are seeing opportunities across the board to do so.

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Matthew M. Breese, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [54]

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Okay. And then just balancing that versus the NIM outlook. First quarter was a pretty high mark, 3.49% NIM were down 5 bps this quarter. I understand that can still be up year-over-year, but if we do start going into a Fed cutting environment, is it likely that the NIM is peaked for this interest rate cycle?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [55]

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That's hard to say. It is, again, we were all talking about a rate decrease, but we haven't seen the first rate -- actual rate cut yet, right? So we need to see how many. We need to see what customer psychology is around those rate cuts. And if some of the initial testing that we're able to do on deposits whether that doesn't materially change our new acquisition rates and change our attrition rates then we might be able to do more. So I think it's early to answer that question, but it's something we're very focused on.

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Matthew M. Breese, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [56]

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Understood. Okay. Just my last one. Cecil is very close at this point and I would love any sort of updated commentary there. I think we're all anxious to hear where the proforma allowance and go-forward provision, how those items will look? Can you provide any updated commentary and thoughts there?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [57]

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Yes, sure. We are not providing any commentary in terms of disclosure and any financial forecast yet for what that number will be. We are very far long and I have a team of people working really hard for the past year plus on this. And our -- we had some third-party consultants signed to help us with pieces of that. They're gone at this point. So our internal team is just finalizing things. And you can expect over the next 6 months, once we get in a position that we're ready to announce something in advance of the adoption date, we'll do so.

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Matthew M. Breese, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [58]

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Just curious, the consultants are out versus initial expectations, should we expect Cecil to be kind of worse or better than what the industry had thought going into it?

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Mark R. McCollom, Fulton Financial Corporation - Senior EVP & CFO [59]

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Well, I think what I've seen from the largest banks that have reported is that there is still a very wide variance even for what would appear on the surface to be relatively similar books of business, right? So we're being cautious in terms of any kind of numbers that we share with folks, so we've had ample time to really express it. There are -- as you are, I'm sure, well aware, there are a lot of levers in that standard and we just want to make sure that we've done sufficient stress testing around each of those levers before we're in a position to put out what our estimate will be.

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Operator [60]

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And I'm not showing any further questions at this time. I would now like to turn the call back over to Phil Wenger for any closing remarks.

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E. Philip Wenger, Fulton Financial Corporation - Chairman & CEO [61]

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Well, thank you all for joining us today. We hope you'll be able to be with us when we discuss third quarter results in October.

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Operator [62]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for participating in today's conference. This concludes today's program and you may all disconnect. Everyone have a wonderful day.