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Edited Transcript of PEBO earnings conference call or presentation 23-Jul-19 3:00pm GMT

Q2 2019 Peoples Bancorp Inc Earnings Call

MARIETTA Jul 24, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Peoples Bancorp Inc earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, July 23, 2019 at 3:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Charles W. Sulerzyski

Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director

* John C. Rogers

Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer

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Conference Call Participants

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* Daniel Edward Cardenas

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst

* Jean Baker Dwinell

Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - Associate

* Kevin Kennedy Reevey

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

* Michael Perito

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

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good morning and welcome to the Peoples Bancorp Inc. 2019 Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. My name is Ben, and I will be your conference facilitator today. Today's call will cover a discussion of the results of operations for the quarterly period and 6 months ended June 30, 2019. (Operator Instructions) This call is also being recorded. If you object to the recording, please disconnect at this time.

Please be advised that the commentary in this call will contain projections or other forward-looking statements regarding Peoples' future financial performance or future events. These statements are based on management's current expectations.

The statements in this call, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements and involve a number of risks and uncertainties detailed in Peoples' Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

These include, but are not limited to the success, impact and timing of the implementation of Peoples' business strategies; including the ability to integrate the business of First Prestonsburg Bancshares Inc. and any other future acquisitions, which maybe unsuccessful or maybe more difficult, time consuming or costly than expected; the success impact and timing of the expansion of consumer-lending activity; the competitive nature of the financial services industry; changes in the interest rate environment and the effect of the current inverted yield curve; slowing or reversal of the current U.S. economic expansion; uncertainty regarding the nature, timing, cost and effect of federal and/or state banking, insurance and tax legislative or regulatory changes or actions; the effects of easing restrictions on participants in the financial services industry; changes in policy and other regulatory and legal developments and adverse changes in economic conditions and/or activities.

Management believes the forward-looking statements made during this call are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of their knowledge of Peoples' business and operations. However, it is possible actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements.

Peoples disclaims any responsibility to update the forward-looking statements after this call, except as may be required by applicable legal requirements.

Peoples' second quarter 2019 earnings release was issued this morning and is available at peoplesbancorp.com under Investor Relations. Any reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures discussed during this call to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures is included at the end of the earnings release.

This call will include about 20 to 25 minutes of prepared commentary, followed by a question-and-answer period, which I will facilitate. An archived webcast of this call will be available on peoplesbancorp.com in the Investors Relations section for 1 year.

Participants in today's call will be Chuck Sulerzyski, President and Chief Executive Officer; and John Rogers, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, and each will be available for questions following opening statements.

Mr. Sulerzyski, you may begin your conference.

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [2]

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Thank you, Ben. Good morning. Thank you for joining us for a review of our second quarter and year-to-date results.

During the second quarter of 2019, we made progress in several key areas, including the successful close and conversion of First Prestonsburg; net interest income growth of 6% compared to the first quarter of 2019; net interest margin grew to 3.78% for the first 6 months of 2019, compared to 3.7% for 2018; increase of 13% in noninterest income, excluding net gains and losses compared to the second quarter of 2018; the efficiency ratio adjusted for noncore expenses improved to 60.2% compared to 62.2% for the first quarter of 2019 and quarterly annualized net charge-off rate of 3 basis points for the second quarter of 2019.

Earlier this morning, we reported net income of $9.6 million or $0.46 per diluted share compared to $0.73 for the linked quarter and $0.41 a year ago. For the first 6 months of 2019, diluted EPS was $1.19 compared to $1.04 of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019, we recognized the majority of the additional onetime cost related to the First Prestonsburg acquisition. These costs totaled $7 million for the second quarter of 2019 and were $7.3 million for the first 6 months of 2019. These costs reduced diluted EPS by $0.28 and $0.29, respectively.

The First Prestonsburg acquisition positively impacted diluted EPS by 2% during the second quarter of 2019.

During the second quarter of 2018, we recognized acquisition cost of $6.3 million, which reduced diluted EPS by $0.25.

For the first 6 years (sic) [months] of 2018, these costs totaled $6.4 million and negatively impacted diluted EPS by $0.27. During the first quarter of 2019, we recognized the recovery of $1.8 million on a previously charged-off loan, which added $0.07 to diluted EPS. We also recognized income of $787,000 related to the sale of restricted Class B Visa stock, which added $0.03 to diluted EPS during the first quarter of 2019. The efficiency ratio was 73.2% for the second quarter of 2019, which was impacted by acquisition-related expenses, this is compared to 62.7% in the first quarter of 2019 and 75% in the second quarter of 2018.

Our adjusted efficiency ratio, which excludes noncore expenses were 60.2% for the second quarter of 2019, compared to 62.2% in the linked quarter and 62% in the second quarter of 2018. Asset quality continues to be strong as we focus on sound lending practices and closely monitoring the credit quality of our portfolio, while being proactive at identifying and remedying delinquencies.

Our nonperforming assets increased $1.9 million compared to March 31, 2019, grew $700 million -- excuse me, $0.7 million from year-end and was $2.1 million compared to June 30, 2018. The increase compared to March 31, 2019, was partially due to acquired loans from First Prestonsburg, which comprised $0.7 million of nonperforming assets at June 30, 2019, with the remainder due to smaller relationships that have become past due and are still accruing.

Our nonperforming assets as a percent of total loans in OREO ratio was 0.71% at June 30, 2019, compared to 0.67% at March 31, 2019, and June 30, 2018 and 0.71% at year-end. Criticized loans and classified loans increased compared to March 31, 2019, largely due to the First Prestonsburg acquisition. The acquisition added $16 million in criticized loans and $6 million in classified loans as of June 30, 2019.

Excluding the acquired loans, we were able to reduce our criticized loans by 10%, while our classified loans increased mostly due to 2 commercial relationships being downgraded during the quarter.

Delinquency trends -- excuse me, delinquency trends improved as loans considering current comprised 99% of our portfolio compared to 98.6% at March 31, 2019, and 98.5% at December 31, 2018, but were down slightly from 99.1% at June 30, 2018.

Our quarterly annualized net charge-off rate was 3 basis points for the second quarter of 2019, compared to negative 15 basis points in the first quarter of 2019 and a net charge-off rate of 11 basis points for the second quarter of 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019, we experienced lower gross charge-off rate than we have seen in recent history. The negative net charge-off rate during the first quarter of 2019 was impacted by the recovery of $1.8 million recorded on a previously charged-off commercial loan.

For the first 6 months of 2019, our net charge-off rate was negative 6 basis points compared to 22 basis points in 2018.

Total loans grew $96 million compared to March 31, 2019, the increase was driven by the acquisition. Organic total loans, which exclude the impact of loans acquired from First Prestonsburg declined $29 million compared to March 31, 2019. This decline includes decreases of $16 million of construction loan, $11 million in commercial and industrial loan and $10 million in residential real estate loan, which were partially offset by a $9 million increase in the indirect loan. While our commercial production levels have been higher than previous period, they have not outpaced the large payoff experienced during the first half of 2019.

I will go into more detail on this in a few minutes.

Compared to year-end, total loans increased $105 million as a result of the First Prestonsburg acquisition. Organic total loans decreased $21 million with decline driven by the reductions of $27 million in construction loans, $16 million in commercial real estate loans and $8 million in home equity lines of credit. These declines were partially offset by increases of $17 million in commercial and industrial loans and $12 million in indirect loans. Total loan balances increased to $147 million compared to June 30, 2018, while organic loans -- while organic total loans grew $22 million. This growth was primarily in commercial and industrial loans and indirect loans, which was partially offset by reductions in commercial and residential real estate loans.

As I mentioned, our loan originations during the first 6 months of 2019 have been strong and have exceeded the originations that have occurred during the first half of 2018 by nearly 40%.

Our payoffs on commercial real estate and commercial and industrial loans during the first half of 2019 were more than triple the payoffs during the first half of 2018 and more than double those for the same period in 2017. While the increased originations have been positive, the payoffs have exceeded origination volume. The payoffs that we have experienced are not the result of customers leaving the bank for another institution. They are function of commercial estate loans moving to the permanent finance market as was the expectation of the loan origination, coupled with the sale of our client's companies or commercial real estate properties. We will not adjust our underwriting standards to achieve loan growth.

Quarterly average loan balances grew $96 million compared to the linked quarter and $203 million from the second quarter of 2018. Most of the increase compared to the linked quarter and second quarter of 2018 was driven by the recent acquisition, partially offset by the paydowns in the organic loan portfolio.

For the first 6 months of 2019, average loan balances grew $281 million driven by the recent acquisitions couple with the organic loan growth experienced during 2018. I will now turn the call over to John to provide the additional detail around the income statement and the balance sheet.

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [3]

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Thank you, Chuck. Based on our initial evaluation, the First Prestonsburg acquisition added $289 million of assets after preliminary fair value adjustments. The acquired assets and liabilities primarily consist of $138 million of investment securities, $130 million of loans and $270 million of deposits. The total purchase price was $43.7 million and included the special dividend declared by First Prestonsburg immediately prior to the closing of the acquisition. We recorded preliminary goodwill of $23 million. The preliminary fair value adjustment to loans resulted in a higher discount than we had originally forecast as credit quality had deteriorated since we performed due diligence. This higher discount coupled with somewhat lower loan balance acquisition day drove much of the increased goodwill that was recorded. Our net interest margin during the second quarter of 2019 declined slightly to 3.77% compared to 3.80% for the linked quarter, but was higher than 3.74% in the second quarter of 2018. During the quarter, our higher cost of time deposits and governmental deposits exceeded the positive impact of improving loan yields compared to the linked quarter. Compared to the second quarter of 2018, our increase in loan yield surpassed the growth in our total cost of funds, which benefited net interest margin. For the first 6 months of 2019, our net interest margin was 3.78% compared to 3.70% for 2018. Both the second quarter and first 6 months of 2018 benefited from proceeds of $248,000 and $589,000 respectively, an investment security for which we had in previous years recorded an other-than-temporary impairment, which added 3 basis points to the net interest margin for each period. Net interest income increased 6% compared to the linked quarter and was 10% higher than the second quarter of 2018. The growth stemmed from increased interest income from loans, while deposit costs have been relatively controlled. The acquisition of First Prestonsburg positively impacted net interest income compared to the linked quarter and second quarter 2018.

For the first 6 months of 2019, net interest income increased 13% compared to 2018. The growth in interest income was driven by higher loan yields resulting from interest rate increases, loan growth and recent acquisitions. This growth outpaced the increase in deposit costs, which was due to recent acquisitions and increased competition for deposits.

Based on our projections, we anticipate the impact of a 25 basis point reduction in interest rates per the Federal Reserve would result in a decrease of approximately $1 million annually in net interest income. Of course, the shape of the yield curve in the LIBOR market could have an impact on this estimate.

Accretion income from acquisitions, which is net of amortization expense was $1.2 million for the second quarter of 2019, compared to $722,000 for the linked quarter and $523,000 for the second quarter of 2018.

Accretion income from acquisitions added 13 basis points to net interest margin during the quarter compared to 8 basis points for the linked quarter and 6 basis points for the second quarter of 2018. The increase in accretion income from acquisitions compared to the linked quarter was largely due to the First Prestonsburg acquisition and the related loan discount that was created during the quarter. Accretion income from acquisitions was $1.9 million for the first 6 months of 2019, compared to $1.1 million for 2018. The accretion income from acquisitions added 10 basis points in net interest -- to net interest margin for the first 6 months of 2019 and 6 basis points in 2018.

For the second quarter of 2019, total noninterest income, excluding net gains and losses increased slightly compared to the linked quarter and 13% compared to the second quarter of 2018. We are pleased that in the second quarter we are able to make up for the decline in the annual performance-based insurance commissions for which we recognized $1.4 million of income in the first quarter.

Also during the first quarter of 2019, we had recognized additional noninterest income of $787,000 related to the sale of restricted Class B Visa stock, which we had and carried as 0 balance due to the litigation liabilities associated with the stock. Our most notable improvement was deposit account service charges, which grew $636,000 compared to the linked quarter, mostly from higher overdraft and nonsufficient fund charges, coupled with higher deposit account fees. We are now benefiting from a new deposit account fee schedule that was implemented in March of 2019, coupled with the additional accounts acquired from First Prestonsburg. We anticipate that the increased deposit fees associated with the new fee schedule will diminish some over time as our customers adjust their behavior to avoid the fees in the future.

In addition, customer demand for commercial loan swaps increased during the quarter as our fee income more than tripled compared to the linked quarter. The drop in interest rates spurred increased customer demand to lock in interest rates. Trust and investment income and electronic banking income each increased 9%, while mortgage banking income reached 27% compared to the linked quarter due to higher seasonal sales volumes of residential real estate loans in the secondary market.

Compared to the second quarter of 2018, deposit account service charges grew 25%, electronic banking income increased 17% and swap fee income more than tripled. Noninterest income, excluding net gains and losses increased 9% for the first 6 months of 2019, compared to 2018.

Deposit account service charges grew 18%, electronic banking and mortgage banking income increased 12% and 35%, respectively, compared to 2018. Swap fee income also more than doubled compared to 2018. These increases were partially offset by a $550,000 decline in small business administration income. The acquisition-related expenses impacted total noninterest expense and were $6.8 million during the second quarter of 2019, compared to $6.2 million for the second quarter of 2018. Core noninterest expense, which excludes the impact of acquisition-related expenses grew 2% compared to the linked quarter and 7% compared to the second quarter of 2018. The increase compared to the linked quarter was driven by higher expenses in most line items, which were partially offset by reductions in salaries and employee benefits and marketing expense. While noncore interest expense had increased, it was a result of running a larger company and our core efficiency ratio continued to improve.

Compared to the second quarter of 2018, core noninterest expense increased due to the higher salaries and employee benefits cost, which were partially offset by lower professional fees. The increases in salaries and employee benefits were driven by the higher medical insurance costs due to medical claims of First Prestonsburg employees and key employees that have been added in the last 12 months for future growth.

For the first 6 months of 2019, core noninterest expense increased 10% compared to 2018. The increase was largely the result of higher salaries and employee benefits cost, which is partially offset by a decline in professional fees. The higher salaries and employee benefit cost were impacted by the American Savings Bank and First Prestonsburg acquisitions, higher medical claims and key employees added in the past year. We have also made investments in technology, which have also increased expenses compared to the first 6 months of 2018.

Compared to the second quarter of 2018 and excluding onetime acquisition-related expenses, we generated positive operating leverage of nearly 3%, also excluding onetime acquisition-related expenses, we generated positive operating leverage of nearly 3%. Also excluding onetime acquisition-related expenses, we generated positive operating leverage of 1.5% for the first 6 months of 2019, compared to 2018.

Our investment portfolio grew 13% compared to March 31, 2019, it was up 14% compared to year-end. This increase was due to the acquired securities from First Prestonsburg. These securities increased our portfolio to 23% of total assets at June 30, 2019, compared to 22% at March 31, 2019.

Core deposits, which excludes $823 million of CDs grew 4% from March 31, 2019, 11% from year-end and 9% from June 30, 2018. This growth was largely due to the attractive deposits we acquired from First Prestonsburg. The increase from acquired deposit was partially offset by reductions of $32 million in governmental deposits due to seasonality, $25 million in interest-bearing demand deposit accounts and $29 million in noninterest-bearing demand deposit -- demand accounts.

Demand deposits as a percentage of total deposits declined to 37% at June 30, 2019, compared to 38% at March 31, 2019, and 40% at year-end and 39% at June 30, 2018.

Quarterly average total deposits increased $217 million compared to linked quarter and 34 -- $344 million compared to the second quarter of 2018. Our average total deposits for the first 6 months of 2019 increased $338 million from 2018. Most of the growth compared to prior periods was related to the acquired First Prestonsburg deposits. Our loans and deposit ratio was 84% at June 30, 2019, compared to 87% at March 31, 2019 and 92% at year-end and 91% at June 30, 2018. As we had anticipated, the acquisition positively impacted our liquidity position, which will position us well for loan growth during the second half of 2019. Our capital ratios continued to remain strong, our common equity Tier 1 ratio was 3.8% at June 30, 2019, compared to 14% at March 31, 2019 and 13.6% at December 31, 2018.

Our Tier 1 capital ratio was 14%, while our total risk-based capital ratio was 14.8% at June 30, 2019.

Our tangible equity to tangible assets ratio declined 14 basis points compared to March 31, 2019, but was up 21 basis points for year-end and 75 basis points on June 30, 2018. Our tangible book value per common share was $18.89 compared to $19 at March 31, 2019, $18.30 at year-end and $17.17 at June 30, 2018.

The recent acquisition included will record an impact of these metrics compared to March 31, 2019. Early this morning, we also announced another 34% dividend per share to shareholders. This represents a payout of 46% of earnings per diluted share in second quarter excluding acquisition-related cost.

I will now turn the call back to Chuck for his final comments.

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [4]

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Thank you, John. We are happy to have successfully integrated and onboarded another acquisition. While each acquisition is individual in nature, we have streamlined our processes and planning procedures to make each one more efficient and seamless from the previous. First Prestonsburg has given us an opportunity to go deeper and wider with their clients as well as our current insurance clients within the market. We're able to offer products and services that are competitive with larger banks and diversified products that many local financial institutions do not offer. Although we recorded acquisition-related costs during the quarter, which negatively impacted earnings, we have been able to improve our results in the following areas: our return on average assets adjusted for onetime acquisition-related cost was 1.47% for the first 6 months of 2019, compared to 1.34% for the same period of 2018. We experienced lower gross charge-off rates than we have seen in recent history, noninterest income excluding net gains and losses increased slightly compared to the linked quarter making up for the $2.2 million decline in income from annual performance-based insurance commissions and the sale of restricted Class B Visa stock, which we recognized in the first quarter of 2019.

Our efficiency ratio adjusted for noncore expenses improved to 60.2% for the quarter and 61.2% for the first 6 months of 2019 compared to prior period. Excluding acquisition-related expenses, we generated positive operating leverage compared to the second quarter of 2018 in the first 6 months of 2018 and we successfully lowered our loan-to-deposit ratio to 84% from 92% at year-end giving us additional capacity to grow. We have updated our expectations for the remainder of 2019, which exclude acquisition-related cost and currently anticipate organic loan growth of 3% to 5% during the full year of 2019. We expect an increase in credit cost during the remainder of 2019. We anticipate the third and fourth quarter levels to be somewhat similar to the quarterly levels from 2018. We believe net interest margin will be between 3.7% and 3.75% for the full year as we anticipate 2 recuts -- rate cuts will occur during the remainder of 2019. Quarterly noninterest income excluding net gains and losses is expected to be between $15 million and $16 million for the remaining 2 quarters. We expect noninterest expense in the third and fourth quarter of 2019 to be between $32 million and $33 million. Our target efficiency ratio for 2019 is between 59% and 61%. We expect to generate positive operating leverage adjusted for onetime cost for the full year and we anticipate our effective tax yield to be between 19% and 19.5% for 2019. We believe the recent acquisition has and will continue to benefit our shareholders. We remain prudent in our acquisitions and will continue to seek other promising opportunities. Our focus is on serving our current client base, which now includes the First Prestonsburg clients to the best of our ability. We strive to provide exceptional service and individualize client experience and are thankful to attract and retain talented associates, who can garner the trust of the people within the markets we serve.

This concludes our commentary. And we will open the call to questions.

Once again, this is Chuck Sulerzyski. And joining me for the Q&A session is John Rogers, our Chief Financial Officer. I will now turn the call back into the hands of our call facilitator.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from Scott Siefers of Sandler O'Neill.

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Jean Baker Dwinell, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - Associate [2]

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This is actually Jeanie on for Scott. So just quickly what are the main puts and takes looking at the quarter NIM performance in the 2Q as you guys see it?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Can you repeat -- did you say NIM, Jeanie?

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Jean Baker Dwinell, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - Associate [4]

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Yes. The core margin performance this quarter?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [5]

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Yes. I think the margin was pretty close to what we expected. We did have a security that became due early and we incurred a premium amortization of about $200,000 net, which hurt the core and First Prestonsburg came in, they were pretty much 50%, 50% in securities to loans, which hurt us -- which helps our liquidity and we're really happy about that, but it did have a little bit of an incremental hit to our margin. And so I think overall, I mean, it is not unexpected from what happened given the premium amortization hit we took. We've been getting these benefits on their OTTI for last year for a while. This one kind of went the opposite direction for -- this quarter. So we hopefully think things will somewhat stabilize, but as we've mentioned we do anticipate some rate decreases as we move forward here, right? So I think the market is pretty much about 95% for July here and we also anticipate another one in September as well.

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Jean Baker Dwinell, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - Associate [6]

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Okay. Great. And then just separately, at what point would you guys be able to reduce deposit cost if we were in a declining rate environment?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [7]

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Yes. So we've given that some consideration already and had some preliminary discussions on that. And we think, we were decently aggressive in raising deposits over -- somewhat in '17, a little bit more in '18 and we see that we could pull back on some of those rates as we proceed throughout '19 here in the rate environment that we look at there. We consistently look at our rate reports that we get from services and what others are doing, and we feel as though there is probably some room in a number of products to cut back somewhat.

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Operator [8]

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Our next question is from Kevin Reevey with D.A. Davidson.

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Kevin Kennedy Reevey, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [9]

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So first question is, what strategies are you implementing or do you plan to implement in order to defend your margin going forward, especially given the fact that it's almost sure believe that we are going to get at least 1 rate cut this year?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [10]

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We would just say a couple of different things. Obviously, it's both sides of the balance sheet in terms of getting as much loan yield as we can and moving deposits. We are fortunate to have a relatively low cost of deposits, a very high percentage of DDA and while we have been running some specials and things to help with the loans and deposit ratio, we can slow down that activity and the investment book in terms of the duration of the investment book, we should be able to be pretty flexible in terms of making adjustments. So we're not uncomfortable is what I think. John, anything you want to add?

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [11]

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Yes. And we can -- the swap rates are actually pretty low in today's world. We can do -- we've done some transactions with respect to that to lower our funding costs on that side. We've cut out a good chunk of our brokerage CDs where it relates to CDARS, which we've been kind of using as an alternative to overnight funding because of its lower rate. So those have a short-term maturity are relatively short, we know we can give way to those and go to overnight or wherever our cheaper funding source as rates decline. So there are some actions that we can do to control some of our cost as well as deposit cost. We can look to decrease that and keep our eyes on the market and what's going to happen there. But we were -- on our base rates that we have, we were decently aggressive in the marketplace and so we feel like we can cut some of those back over time as time progresses as I mentioned to the last question.

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Kevin Kennedy Reevey, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [12]

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And then Chuck, did I hear you correctly that your NIM guidance was 3.70 to 3.75 for the full year. Does that assume 2 rate cuts or was that 1 rate cut?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [13]

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2 rate cuts.

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [14]

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2.

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Kevin Kennedy Reevey, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [15]

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And so how should we think about that assuming we get 1 rate cut. Would you be more at the upper end of the 3.70 to 3.75 range?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [16]

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Yes.

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [17]

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Yes.

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Kevin Kennedy Reevey, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [18]

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Okay.

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [19]

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The first cut is July, right? So you're going to get that for half of the year, right? The next one, if that goes into effect in September, then we'll really have a couple of months’ worth of impact as they kind of flows through your assets over time.

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Operator [20]

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Our next question is from Michael Perito with KBW.

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Michael Perito, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [21]

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I want to start on loan growth. Just obviously the paydowns to your prepared remarks, Chuck, have been higher in the first half of the year. You mentioned in the earnings release that originations were strong, you're not losing any clients, but I guess, for the 3 to 5 point-to-point growth for the year ex Prestonsburg, I mean that would kind of suggest an upper single-digit type growth rate for the back half of the year. "Am I mad that I'm just curious if what insight you have, I mean, you've got a month down in the third quarter, I guess, into the slowdown of the paydowns and if rates start to come down, do you think that, that -- essentially that, that could go the other way on you?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [22]

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Yes. It's a tricky question because some of you, I don't think you might, but some of the folks on the phone probably can remember going back a number of years where we were flat at half times that we would get to 6% and would kind of get ridiculed and got to 6%. I kind of get pig wrestled down to the 3% to 5%, but all the folks that are in the business of generating loans is still shooting for the 6%. What give me some confidence about it is analysis of pipeline, the size of the pipeline. We've seen the $0.40 more larger originations. We just need a potential break on the payoffs and I think that, that's possible given real estate portfolio that we have in projects that could be taken to the permanent market. I don't think we're as poised position in the second half as we were in the first half. We had a couple of company-owned very sizeable relationship that private equity purchased which took a debt of roughly $15 million. That can always happen, but I'm hoping that we can forego that. So while we're saying 3% to 5%, I'll be pissed if we don't beat that and so I think you will see some good numbers in the second half.

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Michael Perito, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [23]

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Got it. And a couple of yours -- not necessarily total geographic overlap, but a couple of your smaller Ohio peers have talked about commercial customers acting with a bit more caution, a little bit less demand to extended lines of credit and do expansion efforts, et cetera. Is there anything that you've seen in any of your footprints from your commercial customers?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [24]

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I don't think so. I think it's really been more of the same. I think that we've been pretty steady now for many years. I don't see a decrease in the mindset of our clients relative to the economy. So certainly less noise about trade wars would be helpful to our clients helpful to our activity, but hopefully we see some stability there.

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Michael Perito, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [25]

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Okay. Helpful. And then just secondly more a big-picture strategic question, but as we think about the outlook today. You guys are now factoring a couple of rate cuts so the NIM becomes a bit more challenging, loan growth should rebound, but with that I think your credit cost in the first half of the year will probably be lower than normal and those should normalize as you mentioned in your guidance. As we think out to 2020 earnings growth year-over-year, obviously it becomes a bit more challenging, you have other things on the fee and expense side, obviously, your disposal. But I guess, my question is, as you look at your capital levels, especially post Prestonsburg, I mean, it really did -- the deal really had a minimal impact on your capital? It's still -- levels are still really strong today. What do you guys, I guess, kind of waiting for? What's the thought process around maybe broadening that capital deployment to be on the dividend? At some point in this trade environment, does it make sense with your capital levels and profitability to kind of have a regular share repurchase or at least some method of share repurchase in the capital deployment stack? Or you guys still thinking that doesn't make sense at this time?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [26]

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A couple of the obvious statements. First, it's always a lot more fun to ride margin up than to ride margin down. I think that we've dedicated 3 fundamental themes and -- one being credit quality, which I believe we have demonstrated, two being deposits and I think you see that in the loan-to-deposit ratio at 84 versus 92 at year-end. And third being positive operating leverage. And I'm confident that once again this year, we'll have positive operating leverage if you take out the onetime expenses. And those are the things that guide us in how we think about it. As it relates to share repurchase, we view the math on that very similar to acquisitions in terms of what the earn back is and we will buy shares if we can get an earn back that is in line with what we look at in acquisitions, which as you know we don't want it to be more than 3 to 4 years. And that's kind of what guides us so we have a program in place. I hope the stocks never get low enough that we've got to utilize it, but if it does we will do so. And it's not very far away. I'm not trying to get more specific than that. It's not very far away from where we are. So that will be my thoughts on that.

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Michael Perito, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [27]

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Can I push back a little though? Weren't you say, it's fair, I mean, obviously the earn back is important, but the risk profile of an M&A deal and buying back your own stock are very different. I mean, do you guys take that into consideration at all when trying to allocate capital accordingly?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [28]

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And the opportunity is also a lot different, Mike. It is a lot different. An acquisition can help to strengthen our competitive framework, give us a better, stronger footprint from which to go forward. So there is pluses and minuses on both sides.

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Michael Perito, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [29]

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Yes. I mentioned last night not in place obviously well priced strategic M&A is always -- has much greater opportunity to be more additive than repurchasing your own stock. I meant it more as, I mean, if the TCE start approaching 10%, I mean, is there a level where maybe it makes sense to expand that viewpoint to incorporate a more diversified capital deployment approach because it will start to eventually weigh in your ROEs, which are very good right now?

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [30]

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Not to be difficult with you, but we announced the deal with a 5-year earn back, you hate it, right? And so if we did a share repurchase with a 5-year earn back, why would you love it?

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Michael Perito, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [31]

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As I mentioned, I mean, this is just my personal opinion. I think that the risk profile of those 2 transactions is dramatically different. And yes, obviously the opportunities as well. But I just think the different risk profile changes this conversation around the earn back in my opinion, but I appreciate the thought, Chuck.

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [32]

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Just to be clear on that as far as in your thinking as I may sound. We have some holders with very large positions that thinking of earn back is insane at current prices or near current prices. And we have some others that are encouraging us. So there is no clarity to it, no right answer. At this point in time, we like the path that we are on. But as I said, we might hit the price that we hit a green button.

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Operator [33]

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(Operator Instructions)

Michael, did you have a follow-up?

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Michael Perito, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - Analyst [34]

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No. I don’t. I just made a comment that that's what makes the market, but I appreciate taking my questions.

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [35]

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Is there anybody on the call?

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Operator [36]

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Yes, we do. We're still on the call. We have another question. Dan Cardenas of Raymond James, we'll take your question next.

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Daniel Edward Cardenas, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [37]

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Maybe just in terms of clarification. Can you remind me what percentage of your loan portfolio...

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Operator [38]

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I think we might have lost our speakers. Let me go over to them.

(technical difficulty)

Let's proceed to Daniel Cardenas with Raymond James. Would you like to ask your question again?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [39]

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Dan, I apologize whatever difficulties you had, but our third quarter expenses should be 1 phone call lower.

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Daniel Edward Cardenas, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [40]

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So just a couple of cleanup questions for me. As I think about your loan portfolio, what percentage of that is variable rate and tied to prime and/or LIBOR?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [41]

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On the commercial side, it's overwhelmingly LIBOR priced probably in the neighborhood of 80%.

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [42]

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Correct.

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [43]

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On the consumer, somewhat less. So...

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [44]

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Consumer side is mostly fixed home equity lines of credit probably, but the only key prime based portfolio we have is consumer side.

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Daniel Edward Cardenas, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [45]

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Okay. All right. And then how about deposits? Do you have any that are would reprice immediately with the rate cut?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [46]

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No. We don't have. We might have a few deposits here and there that we kind of do on index basis on the commercial side, on the government side, but it's not anything material at all.

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Daniel Edward Cardenas, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [47]

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Okay. All right. Good. And then with First Prestonsburg under your belt now, what's kind of the environment like on the M&A side. Is there a lot of chatter going on? Or is that really kind of slowed just kind of given what we have seen with bank stock prices here recently?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [48]

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I don't say it's pretty quiet, much more quiet than most of the last 5-plus years.

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Daniel Edward Cardenas, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - Research Analyst [49]

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All right. And then just last one, just in terms of competitiveness out in the marketplace both on the loan and deposit side. Has there been any significant reduction in the competitive factors in the last quarter or so?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [50]

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Let's say, we see a slowing of the deposit programs in the last maybe 30 to 45 days and I would say from a loan rate and structure standpoint, we see more of smaller institutions getting creative with structure. But for the most part, I think that the market in total is holding up pretty well and staying ahead of a rally.

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Operator [51]

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Next question comes to us from Kevin Reevey with D.A. Davidson.

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Kevin Kennedy Reevey, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [52]

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I think I come back that way wasting your time. So I just had a couple of follow-up questions. How should we think about provisioning going forward? It looks like your provisioning came in a lot lower than we expected?

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [53]

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I think we've had -- first quarter very, very unusual because we had a very large recovery. The second quarter, I think, it was really a function of our gross charge-offs have come down quite a bit. We have had strong performance in our indirect book. We don't expect that to continue at a relatively low levels that they have been at. So we would expect our growth charge-offs to kind of grow somewhat. Some of our recoveries probably would lessen somewhat and we would expect that we would start to trend up more towards where we were last year on a provision basis. Our loan growth has been slow so that hasn't required as much provisioning. So we would expect you start approaching upwards or where we were kind of on average for the last year's quarterly provisioning.

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Kevin Kennedy Reevey, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [54]

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That's helpful. And then lastly, I think, John, you talked earlier about a new fee schedule that was implemented sometime earlier in the quarter, which helped you and me service charges and line item. Where would you peg your customer service fees relative to your competitors? Is it mid-pack? Is it the upper end of the pack? Or is it at the bottom end of the pack?

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [55]

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I would say, we were definitely below the 50th percentile. We are not charging. There are other competitors that are definitely charging more monthly maintenance fees, more people that are charging more for paper statements and those type of things. So I don’t -- do not think. We still try to maintain a Community Bank mentality. But we're just charging few more fees that we believe are fair rates, not high end of the market. So I definitely think we're kind of below the average in total. And our requirements to waive the fees are not that those fees probably little bit lower than the market as well.

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Kevin Kennedy Reevey, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [56]

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Thanks, John, Helpful. Congrats on a nice quarter.

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [57]

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Thank you.

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John C. Rogers, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Treasurer [58]

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Thank you.

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Operator [59]

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This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Chuck Sulerzyski for any closing remarks.

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Charles W. Sulerzyski, Peoples Bancorp Inc. - President, CEO & Director [60]

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Yes. Let me thank everyone for participating. I apologize for any phone difficulty. Please remember that our earnings release and a webcast of this call will be archived at peoplesbancorp.com under the Investor Relations section. Thank you for your time, and have a great day.

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Operator [61]

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The conference has now concluded. Thank you for attending today's presentation. You may now disconnect.