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Edited Transcript of TCBI earnings conference call or presentation 22-Jan-20 10:00pm GMT

Q4 2019 Texas Capital Bancshares Inc Earnings Call

DALLAS Jan 24, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Texas Capital Bancshares Inc earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, January 22, 2020 at 10:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* C. Keith Cargill

Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director

* Julie L. Anderson

Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary

* Shannon Wherry

Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - Senior VP & Director of Communications

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Conference Call Participants

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* Bradley Jason Milsaps

Piper Sandler & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst

* Brady Matthew Gailey

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

* Brian D. Foran

Autonomous Research LLP - Partner & US Regional Banks

* Brocker Clinton Vandervliet

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director & Senior Banks Analyst of Mid Cap

* Ebrahim Huseini Poonawala

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director

* Gary Peter Tenner

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

* Jennifer Haskew Demba

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD

* Jon Glenn Arfstrom

RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD of Financial Services Equity Research

* Michael Edward Rose

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research

* Steven A. Alexopoulos

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD and Head of Mid-Cap & Small-Cap Banks

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Welcome to the Texas Capital Bancshares' Fourth Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please note this even is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to turn the call over to Shannon Wherry, Director of Communications. Please go ahead.

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Shannon Wherry, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - Senior VP & Director of Communications [2]

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Thank you for joining us for TCBI's Fourth Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. I'm Shannon Wherry, Director of Communications. Before we begin, please be aware this call will include forward-looking statements that are based on our current expectations and future results or events. Forward-looking statements are subject to both known and unknown risks, and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from these statements. These risks and uncertainties include those relating to the pending merger between TCBI and Independent Bank Group.

Our forward-looking statements are as of the date of this call, and we do not assume any obligation to update or revise them. Statements made on this call should be considered together with the cautionary statements and other information contained in today's earnings release, our most recent annual report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings with the SEC. We will refer to slides during today's presentation, which can be found along with the press release in the Investor Relations section of our website at texascapitalbank.com.

Our speakers for the call today are Keith Cargill, President and CEO; and Julie Anderson, CFO.

At the conclusion of our prepared remarks, our operator will facilitate a Q&A session. And now I will turn the call over to Keith, who will begin on Slide 4 of the webcast.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Thank you, Shannon. And thank you all for joining us. Today, I will first discuss the highlights of our fourth quarter and full year 2019. Then Julie Anderson will cover her financial review of the quarter, year and guidance for 2020. Finally, I will offer closing comments on 2019 and plans for 2020, including our announced merger with Independent Financial. We'll then open up the call for Q&A.

As Shannon mentioned, let's begin on Slide 4. As we've discussed, we are always looking for ways to further refine our organization, processes and products at Texas Capital Bank. We believe that developing more comprehensive and strategic client relationships leads to improved efficiency, revenue growth and continued strong client introductions to new prospects. To that end, I want to start the call off by discussing our latest initiative to enhance our deposit pipeline and position Texas Capital Bank for the future.

Next week, we will be officially launching our newest deposit vertical, Bask Bank, a digital bank, that rewards savers with travel rewards. This deposit vertical functions, both as a business and as a capability for Texas Capital Bank. As a business, Bask Bank will allow customers to earn airline miles from their savings accounts through our long-time partnership with American Airlines.

As a capability, the build-out of Bask Bank and the digital platform has taught us new skills in digital marketing, digital acquisition and online customer experience, that we will be able to leverage across our businesses as we continue to position the bank to capitalize on the trend toward a digital banking future. Matt Quale leads this new vertical as President of Bask Bank. With his successful track record in financial services and extensive experience in strategy, brand management and marketing, we are confident Matt is the right individual to lead this exciting new initiative.

Now let me move on to Slide 4 of the presentation to provide an overview of the results we announced this afternoon. Our fourth quarter results were ahead of consensus, if adjusted for the $12 million of expense related to Bask Bank and our 2 new C&I verticals, technology banking and education, nonprofit and healthcare banking. In light of our push to reduce both leveraged loans and energy loans throughout 2019, average LHI, excluding mortgage finance, declined 1% linked quarter. More than offsetting this 1% decline, mortgage finance loans increased 7% linked quarter. Further, average total deposits grew 6% on a linked-quarter basis.

As Julie will cover in more detail, net revenue declined 2% linked quarter, largely due to the continued impact of rate decreases and the runoff in leveraged loans and energy loans at higher rates than the rates and growth in mortgage finance outstandings. All-in net income came in at $73.9 million for the fourth quarter, including a loan loss provision of $17 million in Q4 versus $35 million in loan loss provision in Q4 '18. Julie?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [4]

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Thanks, Keith. My comments will cover Slides 6 through 13. Net interest income continued to be strong in the fourth quarter, a quarter that can be much lower due to the normal seasonality of the mortgage finance business. As a result of the continued strength of mortgage finance, net interest income was only slightly lower on a linked-quarter basis and higher than second quarter. After 3 rate cuts in 2019, we've been able to outpace the decline in rates with increases in volume. Our net interest income growth compares very favorably to our peer group. Mortgage finance has acted as an effective hedge in this lower rate environment as well as offsetting some of the negative impact from our deliberate reduction in higher-risk asset classes, specifically leveraged and energy. We're willing to leverage this capability to drive strong risk appropriate returns, while we continue repositioning the balance sheet for more sustainable long-term earnings generation.

Despite the fact that our NIM decreased on a linked-quarter basis, it's important to understand that much of it is related to the earning asset shift, specifically an increased level of liquidity as we continue to see growth in average deposits. We continue to believe NIM is not the best metric to assess relative profitability or future revenue generation in this low rate environment and net revenue and more specifically, net interest income is more relevant.

Traditional LHI yields were down, and the impact is more significant than the decline in LIBOR for the quarter, which is reflective of the catch-up from prime rate decreases in September and October. Loan fees were basically flat in the fourth quarter as compared to the third quarter. Mortgage warehouse yields were down on a linked-quarter basis, and volume incentives continue to be part of the lower yield. Our MCA yields continue to be pressured, which was expected as compared to actual mortgage rates. Additionally, the timing of sales of higher rate loans and the rebuild of balances at lower rates can adversely affect the average yields.

We continue to have growth in average deposits with growth in interest-bearing and slightly more in noninterest bearing. Overall, deposit cost decreased by 22 basis points from 121 basis points in the third quarter to 99 basis points in the fourth quarter. The decrease resulted from continued growth in DDAs as well as meaningful decreases in interest-bearing deposit costs. Interest-bearing deposit costs were down 31 basis points from the third quarter, and we expect to see further decline in this with the full quarter of the October rate move.

We continue to have a solid deposit top line. As Keith mentioned, the launch of what we believe will be the most impactful deposit vertical, Bask Bank, occurred late in the fourth quarter with the national launch slated for next week. Coupled with continued strong deposit growth in our core businesses, these new verticals will begin to lessen the sensitivity of our funding stack with the changes in market rates. We experienced a decrease in average traditional LHI during the quarter as we continued to actively manage reductions in our leveraged and energy portfolios. Traditional LHI average balances were down 1% from the third quarter and basically flat from this time last year. The level of overall payoffs continues to be high, primarily in CRE, where we're continuing to replace runoff with fundings on existing commitments and some new origination. In contrast, the C&I leveraged runoff is not being backfilled. Payoffs in C&I leveraged for the year were in line with what we planned, and we expect another 10% to 20% reduction in 2020 as we focus on rightsizing our risk profile in this [side of the business].

With energy, the overall level is coming down, but we are certainly still in the business and are selectively adding relationships if they fit within our defined risk appetite. Again, we had a strong average total mortgage finance balances for the quarter, driven by continued lower mortgage rates. Average balances were up from this time last year by 61%. We continue to experience good growth in linked quarter average total deposits with a mix of interest-bearing as well as noninterest bearing. We normally see some seasonality in deposits in later fourth quarter and into first quarter. But so far, that has been more muted, primarily as a result of our mortgage clients continuing to have strong originations, which drive escrow balances. We continue to see improvements in deposit mix with some contribution from verticals as well as from existing clients, including mortgage finance escrow accounts.

We expect that to continue with significantly more meaningful improvement evident in 2020 as verticals, particularly Bask Bank and our commercial escrow business get more traction. As we've discussed, the goal is to deliver a more granular, less rate-sensitive funding stack that will serve us well through all rate cycles. And while we're optimistic about what we'll accomplish in 2020, we're building this for the long term. Actual interest equivalent cost of Bask Bank compared favorably to other sources with a lower through-cycle beta and significantly more granularity than our index deposits. Certainly, there are other marketing and promotional expenses that I'll discuss later.

Our focus on deepening existing relationships through our treasury management offerings will continue to provide meaningful deposit improvements in 2020. Interest-bearing deposit costs were down 31 basis points linked quarter. Only part of this improvement translated to overall deposit cost at 40% of our deposit portfolios in DDAs. So 22 basis points linked quarter improvement in total deposit cost and 22 basis points improvement in total funding costs.

As we've mentioned, index deposits have the same 100% beta, while all other interest-bearing is assumed to be closer to 60%. While it appears that rates will be stable for the near term, our playbook for stepping rates down remains in play, and we're constantly evaluating ways to optimize. But the most effective tool we have is to continue to deepen existing relationships with treasury services that drive overall deposit costs down, and we believe post-merger, the existence of more Texas Capital Bank bridges will be extremely beneficial. As for broker deposits, we increased the overall level slightly to $2.3 billion. With favorable pricing, the selective use of brokered CDs has been an option to supplement the funding stack, as we replace some higher cost deposits and gain traction in new verticals.

Turning to noninterest expense. We continue to see positive trends in core operating expense category, specifically focusing on changes in salaries and employee benefits expense, which represents over 50% of total NIE. 2019 salaries and employee benefit expense is 8% higher than '18. While that is slightly higher than the mid-single digits expense we originally projected, it included some investments in Bask staffing and a mark-to-market on deferred compensation of $3.6 million that's directly tied to stock market performance. We continue to be deliberate in adding revenue-generating hires and attracting exceptional talent. Our story continues to be extremely compelling, and we have only seen that interest pick up post-merger announcement.

We experienced [some reversal] of the MSR impairment in the fourth quarter, approximately $2.6 million, offsetting a portion of the over $8 million of impairments incurred through the third quarter. As we noted last quarter, classifications of several of the MCA items as well as the marketing fees related to deposits have been punitive to our efficiency ratio. So you'll see this quarter, we started reporting efficiency ratio on an adjusted basis, which, we believe, is more representative of what is actually happening. Efficiency ratio for the fourth quarter was elevated with a few discrete items, which included $1.3 million of merger-related expenses. Additionally, we incurred $6 million in other professional expenses that represent an upfront investment related to new C&I verticals.

There will be another $2.5 million in the first quarter, but nothing recurring subsequent to that in 2020. The investment has provided for refinement of our go-to-market strategy and includes targeting industries that meet our desired return profile, which generally means industries with higher levels of self-funding. It also included improvements of capabilities required to launch and deliver these verticals. We've already launched 2 and both will be breakeven during 2020, and we have others that will be evaluated for future rollout. But even if we don't launch any others, our $8.5 million investment would be recaptured over a 2- year period. We also believe that other lines of business will benefit from some of the enhanced capabilities of this investment.

Lastly, 2019 includes a little over $9 million of expense related to Bask Bank, with almost $6 million of that in the fourth quarter. As we noted last quarter, we believe a more representative measure to focus on in evaluating our nonaccretive expense plans is noninterest expense to average earning assets, which has improved from 2.15% in 2018 to 1.96% in 2019. And that includes the outside investments that I mentioned.

Moving to asset quality. We continue to be vigilant in managing credit and are pleased that our full year provision of $75 million is less than we originally planned for the year and represents some improvement from the 2018 level. Additionally, we experienced an improvement in charge-offs from 37 basis points in 2018 to 31 basis points in 2019. While still higher than we desire, our proactive approach in dealing with the handful of leveraged and energy deals will position us favorably as we know that certain of these loans won't perform well during the next credit cycle.

Nonaccruals increased from third quarter, and the increase is made up entirely of negative migration of previously identified loans, again, in energy and leveraged. Net charge-offs for the quarter are primarily related to energy and leveraged. We experienced a slight increase in total criticized levels in the fourth quarter with some of the expected resolution slipping to Q1. The net increase was really related to one energy credit that was downgraded to special mention. Liquidity and access to capital are key themes for these legacy energy and leveraged credits, and we're vigilant in addressing strategy to resolve it as quickly as possible while minimizing degradation in value. Total criticized, as a percentage of total LHI, still remains low at 2.4%, up from Q3 level of 2.2%, but still down from the second quarter level of 2.6%, which we believe was the peak. Earlier in the year, we expected a larger portion of provision in the first half of the year, and our actions translated into achieving that. We will continue to see resolutions to existing credits, and there could be migration within the criticized book, but we believe, there are no offsets in those forecasted recoveries of provision for us to provide for a lower provision expense guidance in 2020, which I'll discuss shortly.

We continue to be focused on crisp management of the problem credits, primarily in leveraged and energy to minimize downside impact and are actively monitoring all portfolios in light of macroeconomic factors. That work accomplished during the year to proactively derisk our portfolio will serve us well for the future.

Now we look at some of the quarterly and annual highlights. We continue to see strength -- continue to have strength in year-over-year net revenue despite the punishing rate environment. Obviously, the strong volumes in mortgage finance contributed in a meaningful way to the increase, while we proactively reduced leveraged and energy exposure in traditional LHI. 2019 noninterest income had $15 million related to legal settlement, which will not be recurring in 2020. We continued to improve run rate on core operating expense items, year-over-year, 12% increase in total NIE compared to 2018. But includes almost $6 million in mortgage servicing impairments related to rates, $1.3 million in merger-related expenses and $15 million related to Bask and the new C&I initiatives I mentioned earlier. ROE and ROA levels are lower in 2019 and reflective of the lower rate environment. ROA levels will continue to be negatively impacted by the higher mortgage finance and liquidity balance. Total loan loss provision in 2019 helped offset some of the negative impact from the lower rates.

Last, I'll turn into 2020 outlook. Our outlook for average traditional LHI growth is mid-single-digit percent growth. This is reflective of continued reduction in energy and leveraged, but includes growth in core C&I, including new verticals as well as growth from adding some one-to-four family loans to the LHI portfolio. Both are expected to be more heavily weighted to the second half of 2020. Our outlook for average mortgage finance is a reduction of high teens percent. It's important to remember that we have about $700 million in sub-participations, so we'll shift more growth to MCA in 2020, which is a higher yielding asset.

The outlook for MCA is low $3 billion for average outstandings. MCA will continue to benefit from additional volumes with lower rates and will have an increased percentage of the total mortgage finance, which will be positive for net interest income. We're focused on repositioning toward higher-yielding, lower risk weighted asset classes over the next few quarters, which also involves moving some of the MCA purchase loans to our LHI portfolio, as noted earlier.

Our outlook for average total deposits is flat as we focus on repositioning our funding mix, including approximately $1 billion in deposits from Bask expected by year-end 2020. While Bask has been part of our go-forward strategy, we believe it's even more important with the pending merger. The combined company will continue to be growth-oriented and having more granular sources of funding will be critical.

Our outlook for NIM is 3.05% to 3.15%. That's reflective of the lower rate environment. And of course, this could be impacted if mortgage finance levels differ from our guidance.

Our outlook for net revenue is low single-digit percent decrease, which is reflective of a full year of lower rates from the 3 rate cuts as well as continued slower growth in core LHI and an overall lower level of mortgage finance.

Our outlook for provision expense is low to high $60 million, which is an improvement from 2019 level of $75 million, but also assumes continued resolution of existing problem loans, primarily in leveraged and energy.

Our guidance for noninterest expense is mid-single-digit percent growth and is reflective of our investment in Bask Bank, which is approximately $44 million for the year, with over 50% of those costs being variable. We expect that the expenses could be more front-loaded to the first half of the year as we push forward to gain market share. It's very important to understand how this money for Bask is being invested. And that it's not an endless pool of dollars, but rather very targeted spending to learn what work. In this space, what works is known fairly quickly and spend can be adjusted accordingly. As we gain scale, the overall impact of these variable costs will diminish, and that's why it essential that we get out of the gate strong this month. We have built a digital platform that can be leveraged over time with different value propositions as well as different targeted customer bases, including small business.

Our guidance for efficiency ratio is the high 50s as we focus on some critical investments, which will position us favorably as it relates to a more predictable granular funding mix, which will serve us long term. Keith?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [5]

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Thank you, Julie. To wrap our review of 2019, I'd like to highlight a few key points. First, we are optimistic that the launch of our 2 new C&I lines of business, technology banking and education nonprofit and healthcare will help us backfill the deliberate loan runoff in leveraged lending and energy banking and produce meaningful new deposits as well. Sourcing single-family mortgages from our MCA business will add additional high credit quality loan growth in traditional LHI. The combination of launching our digital bank, Bask Bank, and the growth in our new escrow deposit business will further support the repositioning of our deposit base with granular diversified funding at lower cost. Loan loss provision was lower in 2019 than 2018, and we forecast provision to be lower yet again in 2020. Problem loan resolution is a key focus for our bankers and credit team, and I am confident in our ability to execute.

Finally, let me close by sharing our excitement regarding our merger of equals with Independent Financial, which we announced on December 9. As I've said before, this is a truly compelling transaction. Together, we will become the premier superregional, Texas-based bank with a meaningful presence in Colorado and the scale and resources to serve clients coast to coast. In addition to strengthening our position with business and wealth management clients, we believe this merger will allow us to regain a strong and growing market position, with the small business entrepreneurs, who are the foundation of our client base during the first decade of Texas Capital Bank. Through our investment in talent, technology and new deposit verticals over the past 7 years, we have tripled our balance sheet from $10 billion to $33 billion in assets and have gained market share in the corporate C&I, mortgage finance, builder finance, premium finance and commercial real estate segments.

However, during that time, we operated under a branch-light model with only 12 branches statewide. As a result, our commercial C&I business, focused on small businesses, did not grow. Providing extraordinary service and products to small businesses is at the heart of who we are, and we recognize that our smaller revenue C&I clients require more convenience than our current branch footprint offers. So by expanding our branch network from 12 to approximately 70 locations and using the Texas Capital Bank branding for those in Texas, we expect to reinvigorate our market penetration in this important segment. Another benefit to growing the smaller C&I sector is the fact that this client segment produces more deposits than loans, further delivering more granular, cost-effective funding, along with our new deposit verticals and Bask Bank.

As a Texas-based bank of nearly $50 billion in assets, we will have the opportunity to become the banker of choice for small and midsized businesses, larger companies, special industries, real estate banking, C-level executives and our entrepreneur business owners. Post-merger, we will also be better able to utilize our technology and digital franchise capabilities to serve clients across business lines, while gaining scale advantage. For instance, we will leverage Bask Bank to improve our funding mix and appeal to the mass-affluent client market over time, further fueling organic growth in our private wealth client business.

Overall, we have complementary lines of business and deep benches of talent. We are confident that together, we will deliver greater benefits for our shareholders, our clients, our communities and our colleagues. As we highlighted when we announced this transaction, we have always been focused on delivering the most premier and differentiated service to our clients possible. And the new company will take it to the next level. While there is still a lot of work to do, we are excited about the transaction and the benefits it will deliver. We have started integration planning and remain on track to close the transaction in mid-2020, subject to the receipt of customary regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of each company.

We view 2020 as a year of great opportunity at Texas Capital Bank. We'll be adding new capabilities and become the $50 billion powerhouse bank in Texas. We know that entrepreneurs, private and public companies, private wealth clients and special industry businesses want a bank made up of can-do bankers, who understand and embrace growth and prosperity for all our constituents. The special connection and premier service our clients expect remains foremost in our daily work, and we are determined to not disappoint despite the added work we must deliver for a great merger.

Together with Independent Financial, we are thrilled to be embarking on a new chapter as a company and are as focused as ever on driving enhanced value for our clients and shareholders alike. I want to thank you all, again, for participating on today's call. I'll now hand the call back to the operator, who will open the line for Q&A.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions).Our first question will come from Brady Gailey with KBW.

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Brady Matthew Gailey, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [2]

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As we look at the NPA increase, I think, they increased a little over $100 million on a linked-quarter basis, roughly $60 million from energy, $45 million from leveraged lending. Any additional color you can give us on why those criticized assets moved over into the NPA bucket?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Yes. It was relatively few, but large ones, Brady, that we're just migrating through the process. And it just so happened that several hit in the same quarter. These were all identified. But again, this migration is part of the process. We reserve accordingly. And therefore, as you saw, we had a -- within guidance provision and feel comfortable with where we sit on our reserve. But timing-wise, we did have some of those actually move to nonaccrual, some large ones in the same quarter.

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Brady Matthew Gailey, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [4]

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All right. And then as we approach the closing of the merger with IBTX, mid this year, is there any sense of urgency to kind of expedite the disposition of these NPAs before the deal closes?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [5]

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We've had a sense of urgency for 1.5 years, and that continues. And it's extremely important to us to address these very proactively. And I think we're really on top of it. And we'll push them out and bring them to resolution as quickly, as reasonably we can. But I can assure you, we have the resources of smart teams and good cooperation and collaboration to accomplish this. And so I think we'll see good results the next 2 quarters.

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Brady Matthew Gailey, Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division - MD [6]

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Okay. And then finally for me, just with Bask Bank, it's a little unique. You're not paying interest, but I guess you're buying the miles, the airline miles, to give to these customers. But regardless of how the mechanics work, I was just wondering, what do you expect to be kind of the average cost of deposits with a vertical like that.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [7]

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So Brady, there is an interest piece. Yes, it's miles, but there will be -- it will be an interest-equivalent piece. That is -- I mean, it's favorable to -- I would say, it's favorable to Fed funds rate. Then there's some additional some of the promotional and marketing, which is going to be higher at the start until we gain some traction. But that will become smaller, that will become more diminished over time. So yes, in the first year, the all-in cost is a little higher. But I guess we've compared that to alternate strategies of acquiring granular deposits like this. And so like, this is the most viable method. And it gives us a platform to do different things with going forward. The miles is the first value proposition that we're going out with, but certainly, we could do other value props going forward and could even do something in the small business [side].

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Operator [8]

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Our next question comes from Michael Rose with Raymond James.

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Michael Edward Rose, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [9]

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Just wanted to go back to Bask Bank. I'm sorry, I got on a little bit late, but I think you guys mentioned some additional costs that are going to be coming forward from this initiative. Can you just kind of outline what those are? And maybe as it relates to deposit growth over the next, let's call it, 6 months to a year, do you have any initial set of expectations for how much in deposits you can drive through this initiative?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [10]

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We're targeting this year -- by the end of the year to have somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion of deposits. It will generate with Bask Bank. Some of the costs we mentioned, if you came in late on the call, we had $6 million of costs related to Bask in the fourth quarter. That's why when you look at some other costs we had on getting our new verticals, C&I verticals launched, it was a total of $12 million, if you add the 2 together, Bask Bank at $6 million and some of these related professional costs to gear up our new C&I verticals at another $6 million. And then we'll have some this acquisition cost. There won't be a lot of other professional cost in the first quarter, I think, it's less than $3 million that will actually carry on into the first quarter, but it will be more around client acquisition cost. That will be driven by social media marketing, things of this sort that we view as much cheaper acquisition cost, as Julie alluded to, than building a new branch. I mean that's enormous acquisition cost as you ramp that up relative to what we're going to expend to grab these clients online.

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Michael Edward Rose, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [11]

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Okay. That's helpful. And then maybe sticking with expenses, just related to some of these C&I verticals. Where do you stand in the hiring process with folks that are going to help drive the growth there? And where do we stand in relation to the expense build from that initiative and some of the other initiatives?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [12]

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Well, we have our lead to run the technology banking team. And really, he has his team hired and onboard. So we're out of the gate on that one. We also have our lead, line of business manager, for our education nonprofit and healthcare banking group. And so he's in the process of building his team. We think each of those will be profitable by the end of the year. And we're very encouraged with the feedback we've gotten already, particularly on the technology team since they've all come together. But I'm very excited about what we're going to be able to do with also our education nonprofit and healthcare business as well. So it will be a slight drag. It won't be a large drag and it will be profitable. And by the end of 2021, we will have recouped all our cost, so a great private equity kind of return, Michael, is what we forecast on these 2 lines of business.

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Michael Edward Rose, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - MD of Equity Research [13]

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Okay. That's helpful. And maybe one final one for me, Keith. Just looking at the S4 that came out, I believe, it was yesterday, it looks like you and David have been talking since July. But it mentioned that you'd also explored and have been looking around for a period beyond that. Did prior negotiations ever get serious? I mean I'm just trying to gauge how long you guys have been looking to team up with somebody, just given the competitive environment and rate environment?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [14]

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Michael, it was my job, when I took over as CEO of the bank, 6.5 years ago, to explore possibilities, strategic alternatives for the good of the shareholders. And so I've been involved, in a appropriate way, getting to know CEOs of all sizes of banks for the last 6.5 years. And then each year, I will have different investment banks as part of my preparation for my strategic Board meeting each year, I'll ask different investment banks, a couple at least, if not 3, to run their scenarios on potential acquisitors, MOE candidates and then candidates that we might consider acquiring and then identify characteristics that might make the culture or the match strategically one that we should consider. And so this has been an ongoing process for quite a long time, and I have developed some good relationships with a number of CEOs.

One of the challenging parts of looking at alternatives is we have one of the most amazing talented pools of bankers in the country, and they're primarily sitting in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio. And so doing an MOE with someone located on the West Coast or a significant distance in other parts of the country gave me pause and sometimes them because this talent is, I think, a team that could run $100-plus billion company. And so we want to be really thoughtful in any kind of fit, as I've alluded to, over the years. It kind of has to be that really special, very difficult fit that we were looking for. And so we found that here with David Brooks and Independent Financial.

We knew over the last year or 2 that even with the success we've had with our different deposit verticals and mortgage finance and treasury business overall that a footprint of 12 branches, the same footprint we've had for well over 10 years was not optimum. And so we're not -- we weren't looking for a footprint that would take us to a $50 billion bank with 400 branches. But we think, this combination, where we'll end up with approximately 70-plus-or-minus in Texas and 30-or-so in Colorado is kind of an ideal addition to what we have to offer with our great talented teams.

And so it's been a long process. And I didn't know when that might happen. It kind of presented itself a couple of years earlier than I might ideally have thought, but when the opportunity was so compelling. I know this is the right thing for the future of the company. And it really sets us up to be that really dominant -- potentially that really dominant bank in Texas, and I'm excited about our future with the combination.

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Operator [15]

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Our next question comes from Ebrahim Poonawala with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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Ebrahim Huseini Poonawala, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [16]

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Keith, just wanted to follow-up on that. So you used the world potentially creating a dominant franchise with the Independent deal. I would love to get your thoughts around why you think the stock has done so poorly since the deal announcement? Because just talking to a lot of long-time shareholders, when you look at the stock price today, close to tangible book relative to kind of the vision that you've talked about, where do you think there is the disconnect between shareholders and what you view as the new bank that's going to come out of this merger? Would love to get your thoughts around that.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [17]

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Yes. It's been a bit puzzling. We had a nice pop, really nice upside. And in the announcement and all the analysis that was done by the different investment banks, as you saw, I'm sure on our announcement, the financials look perhaps as compelling as any combination in the last 5 years, midsized banks or bigger. And so I don't know the answer to that. I do know, David mentioned that he got some calls because he was moving out of the Russell 2000 to the Russell 1000. So there was some dislocation temporarily going on there. I don't know how long that takes before it kind of resets or rebalances. But I don't know the answer to your question. I believe it's going to be a one of the best banks in the country to work for and be part of it. And I think our clients are going to have products and service levels that are second to none.

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Ebrahim Huseini Poonawala, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [18]

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Got it. And I guess, just in terms of the deposit initiatives like you -- I think you mentioned $1 billion from Bask Bank by the end of the year. Can we talk a little bit also about the escrow team that you hired? I think you mentioned that in the release, just in terms of the overall magnitude of churn that you expect in deposits as 2020 progresses. And how much lower can we see the cost of those deposits come relative to where we ended in the fourth quarter?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [19]

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Well, we've -- do you want to take that, Julie?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [20]

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Yes. So escrow, I mean, we think that is going to be -- the cost of that is going to be, I don't know, 50% of Fed funds. And we're starting to get traction in that, but the full system capabilities that we need will be online by sometime in the first quarter. And so in our numbers, we're projecting that we'll have about $0.5 billion in deposits from escrow (inaudible) billion, a little over $1 billion from Bask and $0.5 billion from escrow.

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Ebrahim Huseini Poonawala, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [21]

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$0.5 billion from escrow. Okay.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [22]

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And Ebrahim, as I talked about it on the call, I think that we're seeing good traction with the treasury, selling more treasury into our existing clients, which is our existing clients and selling more to them. That's our lowest beta lowest cost deposits. And we're seeing some good traction with that. We also expect to still have good deposits and some continued growth with our mortgage escrow deposits because of what's going on with rates.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [23]

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And Ebrahim, I think you -- realistically, we really believe we could take those same kinds of numbers and do as well or better in 2021. So potentially a couple of billion in Bask and $1 billion in escrow. These are high-growth potential areas for us. And as we get past the acquisition cost on Bask, I think, it's going to be really favorable on overall cost and, again, it's the beginning, too, of a build-out of the digital platform, and we'll be able to add some other capabilities on that platform for other clients as well over time.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [24]

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And the important thing about both of those verticals is they just have much lower betas than some of the other deposit categories that we've been so highly invested in, in the past. They're going to look more like our core market treasury cost, much lower betas, but even more granular than some of those.

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Ebrahim Huseini Poonawala, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [25]

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And I think, Julie, you mentioned that it's going to be a national launch starting next month. I'm just wondering, is it just going to be promoted by TCBI? Or you're going to have the airline jump in? And are we going to see some promotion from that end as well? I guess, if you can talk to about what's the strategy in terms of the marketing campaign?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [26]

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There'll be some co-marketing, and that starts next week, I think. All of the national launch starts next week. So we -- so marketing and then some of it is in partnership with the airline.

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Operator [27]

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Our next question comes from Jennifer Demba with SunTrust.

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Jennifer Haskew Demba, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [28]

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Just -- Keith, could you just talk about your confidence in the provision guidance for 2020? It ended up -- you've got quite a few new NPAs here and criticized loans continue to be high. So what gives you confidence that this provision estimate is close to correct?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [29]

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Well, I'm confident it'll come in on the low end of that guidance. But my team is a little wiser and always counsels me, so we ended up with up to the high 60s. It is never a precise process, Jennifer, but I will call out that this is the second year in a row we've been down on provision, despite aggressively moving a lot of risk off of the balance sheet. Our leveraged loans declined 30% year-over-year this year. They'll be down another 10% this quarter. And so while that gives us a little challenge on backfill to show significant traditional LHI growth, it's definitely the right move to make because we're not taking discounts. These are getting paid off. Somebody is taking us out, refinancing or they're getting paid off as portfolio companies are sold and so on.

So I think, we really have our arms around those that are problems. We're not doing -- this is very important. We haven't been booking late vintage deals. And those are the ones that -- my experience has been that those are the ones that bite you 1.5 years, 2 years later. And it might present issues on less predictability, on provision and reserving. So it never is precise, but I am confident that we're ahead of the game. It hadn't been fun, but we're taking our medicine early, and I think that's going to be best for the shareholders to have the kind of strong balance sheet we'll have when others perhaps are dealing with it after doing some of this late-cycle business. And so we haven't been.

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Jennifer Haskew Demba, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [30]

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Okay. Julie, could you talk about the CECL adjustment and what we should expect.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [31]

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Yes, I was waiting for that question. So our day 1 impact, it's going to be a slight increase of about 5% to 6%. I think that's consistent with the fact that our portfolio is a shorter duration and commercially focused. The go-forward, we feel like the go-forward provision is not going to be -- the $60 million, the $60 million -- the guidance that we've given, the low to high 60s that includes our estimate of CECL adoption and any impact it would have. And we really don't think that the go-forward provision varies significantly from the incurred method. I guess I would continue to remind people about the volatility that CECL can have on provisioning because of the economic forecast that you have to incorporate. So at whatever point, we start to see our -- 2 years out, our -- the variables change, we will be able to see some uptick in provision. But that's not unique to Texas Capital. Everyone will experience that.

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Jennifer Haskew Demba, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division - MD [32]

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Okay. One last question. The technology bankers. Just curious what their level of experience is? Where they came from, et cetera?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [33]

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Very, very deep in experience. I have been interviewing with our credit senior team and Kerry Hall, our Regional President, here in Austin, for over 12 years, to find a technology banking team that we had very, very high confidence in on the target market, Jennifer, they would go after, and the risk profile of the kind of clients that they would target. And I'm extremely excited about Doug, Doug Mangum, he's going to head this up, who is heading this up for us and his team. And Doug spent a period of time with Silicon Valley Bank. After that, he was with Wells Fargo for some time and ran this business for them. So we're just very fortunate that Austin attracts a lot of talented people. And we've set that business up in Austin.

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Operator [34]

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Our next question comes from Steven Alexopoulos with JPMorgan.

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Steven A. Alexopoulos, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD and Head of Mid-Cap & Small-Cap Banks [35]

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I'd like to start on the net interest margin. So you're at 2.95% in the fourth quarter, the guidance is 3.05% to 3.15%. What's the road map to get from, where the NIM was in 4Q, to this fairly material increase in 2020.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [36]

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So we assume some shift in assets. We assume that we're -- half is going to be down some and then we'll shift into -- more to MCA, and then we'll start to see some C&I growth. So it's the earning asset shift. We'll also -- we've got some liquidity. We've had some higher levels of liquidity. We still expect to have a higher level of liquidity. But as we start to replace some of the higher cost deposits with more granular deposits, you could potentially see some of our liquidity, kind of, overall liquidity come down a little bit. But really, it's more about the shift in loan mix.

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Steven A. Alexopoulos, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD and Head of Mid-Cap & Small-Cap Banks [37]

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Okay. And do you think you can get into this range before the MOE closes?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [38]

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I think it will be back-end loaded, Steve. I mean, I think, we'll begin to show that trajectory, but what do you think, Julie?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [39]

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Yes, I think -- I think we can probably get there. Yes, I think...

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [40]

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I think, it will be second quarter, not the first quarter.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [41]

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Yes. The other thing, Steve, that's -- the deposit costs that we had a pretty meaningful downtick in, there's still -- the ending spot rate is lower, like on the interest bearing. It's lower than what we saw in the fourth quarter. So there will be some pickup there.

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Steven A. Alexopoulos, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD and Head of Mid-Cap & Small-Cap Banks [42]

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Okay. That's helpful. And then on the deposit growth, which was really strong in the quarter, your average savings were up almost $800 million. Can you give some color? It doesn't sound like Bask was a contributor in the fourth quarter.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [43]

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No, we're just getting some of these verticals we've developed the last few years kicking in. But our core treasury, including our specialized treasury group that works with mortgage finance, those were all really hitting on all cylinders. So we are, in fact, picking up some of those gapped relationships, where we had just not been as thorough the last 3 or 4 years as we grew loans to pick up the treasury business, too. And so it's really helped as we've doubled down on our focus by the relationship managers, teaming up with our treasury team, Steve, and it's really producing good results. But a piece of that, too, is just the seasonality of the mortgage finance, escrow business. And we had very strong numbers on both sides of the balance sheet with that group, too.

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Steven A. Alexopoulos, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD and Head of Mid-Cap & Small-Cap Banks [44]

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Okay. And then final question on credit. When we look at the increase in nonaccruals on the leverage book, which segments did you see the increase in nonaccruals?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [45]

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I don't remember. It wasn't any -- I don't remember, which -- I mean, it's not really relevant. There's not really been a trend, any kind of industry trend in leveraged.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [46]

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In our case, we just haven't seen that diverge.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [47]

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No.

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Operator [48]

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Our next question comes from Brock Vandervliet with UBS.

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Brocker Clinton Vandervliet, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director & Senior Banks Analyst of Mid Cap [49]

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Just a follow-up on that deposit question. The mortgage finance linked deposits, how sticky are those? And just a tremendous increase this quarter, is that seasonal? Does some of those flow back out? Or is that more likely to stick around?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [50]

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It does have some relationship to the volume of the overall industry. So if you're seeing mortgage finance on the asset side really be high, you're going to see some higher escrow deposits also. There is flow in and out, but it rebuilds rapidly when there are those payments on taxes and things of those sort that occur through those accounts, Brock. But there is some relationship, too, and just the sheer volume of mortgage originations, which was quite strong.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [51]

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Brock, I think, I've mentioned that in some of my commentary that we didn't -- sometimes you will see a little more downward pressure from seasonality on the deposit side in those escrow deposits in the fourth quarter and starting in the first quarter. But a lot of that has been overcome with just lower rates and that originations, our clients are still originating. So they're masking those, those flows out for taxes, but just new originations of loans and new escrows.

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Brocker Clinton Vandervliet, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - Executive Director & Senior Banks Analyst of Mid Cap [52]

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Okay. And a couple of people have taken shots at this, but as you look at the trend and the increase in nonperformers and criticized, I mean, what do you see behind the curtain that gives you the confidence with that provision guide? I honestly thought you were going to have a very large CECL adjustment and you're not. It just seems a pretty bullish guide on provision given where some of the problem asset levels are -- seem to be headed.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [53]

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Well, again, we believe, we've properly reserved, Brock. If you had these not on the radar and not being reserved along the way, then certainly, that would be a bigger problem. We did have some tick up in overall criticized classified. But as Julie said, that entire change to the positive quarter-over-quarter was one energy deal that moved to special mention. It was a large energy deal. But that was more than the difference between third quarter criticized classified and fourth quarter. So we don't see that as headed to a significant downward trajectory. If we have an energy deal, a large energy deal that -- back to Jennifer's earlier question and yours, that -- we don't have on the radar yet, that could change our life. But again, we feel like we've really gone to school on leverage for 1.5 years, deep dives, frequent reviews, much more thorough monitoring by the line and also the credit teams and energy beginning first quarter.

So we're not quite as deep into the energy portfolio as far as the frequency and 1.5 years of review, like we are leveraged. But that would be the one of the 2 that I would think we might see something that -- pop up. But we just don't have it on the radar at this point. We feel like we've got a good handle on anything that's showing weakness. Things could change. But at this point, it would only be a guess that it would be worse. Right now, this is our best estimate.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [54]

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And for all of those problems -- those identified problem loans, especially in the nonaccrual, in the nonaccruals, they've been marked to their impairment value based on what the information that we have. And so with all those cases, where it's a problem loan, there's a defined strategy that the team is working on. So certainly, all of that information informs the decision about how to estimate guidance.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [55]

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And we have 3 or 4 good-sized loans this quarter that should payoff that are in that classified category as well. So Julie alluded to that earlier, too, Brock, we're going to see some recovery of reserve, if you will, that helps mitigate the net provisioning for 2020 also.

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Operator [56]

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Our next question comes from Brad Milsaps with Piper Sandler.

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Bradley Jason Milsaps, Piper Sandler & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [57]

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Keith, I just wanted to maybe touch on loan growth. Your guidance for mid-single-digit average LHI growth in 2020 is pretty much equal to what you grew in 2019. However, the average balances have been kind of flattish for most of the year and just up slightly from the fourth quarter of '19 to the fourth quarter of '18. Understand you got the -- had the payoffs, but your period-end balances are below the average for the quarter. Just what gives you confidence you can kind of reaccelerate things? Is it just the payoffs and runoffs slowing down or something else that you see out there?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [58]

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Well, you touched on it, but these paydowns on leveraged and on energy total about $550 million. So going in -- and that's been accumulating, of course, throughout the year. So going in with our run rate for this next year, we have to overcome more than $0.5 billion of average outstandings in traditional LHI. But we do have these 2 new C&I businesses. Now they're not going to be, out of the gate, booking hundreds of millions the first year, but we're going to see a nice contribution to helping backfill and give us also businesses that we like the risk appetite and also the self-funding components of these 2 C&I businesses.

We also are -- we've really been working hard on a new strategy and tactical plan on our prospecting on general C&I. And we're very, very encouraged by the pipeline that our bankers are creating. And I don't know if that is going to have a major impact until maybe the middle of the year because it does take time, of course, for some of those to hatch, but we've been working on this for a year now. And I feel very good about the discipline and focus as we pivoted away from leveraged and focused more on the general C&I and these new C&I businesses we're launching. So I feel like it's very achievable.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [59]

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And then, Brad, the other thing that I mentioned is that we're planning to portfolio some of the MCA one-to-four family loans later in the year.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [60]

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And those come on at a little better rate than -- as Julie mentioned, than the warehouse loans and also a better risk weighted capital assessment.

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Bradley Jason Milsaps, Piper Sandler & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [61]

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Great. That's helpful. And just one more follow-up. When you guys announced the MOE, I think, you had an asterisk sort of next to your -- the 2021 numbers that The Street had for you at the time, that you might accelerate some expenses. I'm curious if kind of what you talked about today sort of encompasses that acceleration or there's kind of more to come in that regard as you kind of think about the combined earning power of the 2 companies?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [62]

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All we talked about was that in coming up with the cost saves -- the percentage of -- the cost saves as a percentage of the combined NIE that we had tried to use -- that was for 2020, we had tried to use The Street estimates, except on our side, we had some additional costs. And really, Brad, those were related to Bask Bank. And so we've talked about those today.

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Bradley Jason Milsaps, Piper Sandler & Co., Research Division - MD & Senior Research Analyst [63]

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Perfect. I just wanted the clarity on, kind of, what will be included...

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [64]

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[Which you would see when] we go public with that, Bask Bank today.

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Operator [65]

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Our next question comes from Gary Tenner with D.A. Davidson.

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Gary Peter Tenner, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [66]

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I had a couple of questions. First, Julie, I think, if I understood your commentary correct around the yet to be launched verticals. You've mentioned there were, I think, 6 additional verticals where you've invested around $8.5 million. If I heard that correctly, I don't recall hearing that kind of commentary before and kind of the ramifications if you didn't roll them out. So I'm wondering if there's any change in the, kind of philosophy or view of the viability of those businesses with the pending transaction?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [67]

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Yes -- no, that $8.5 million was just -- that was actually related to the C&I verticals. And so we've launched 2. And the $8.5 million was related to -- to the evaluation of multiple C&I verticals. We've launched 2, and we will evaluate some others going forward. But what we said is those 2 are going to be breakeven this year. And within 2 years, they will recoup the $8.5 million that we've invested, even if we don't do any additional C&I verticals. That wasn't related to deposits at all, that was related to the C&I loan verticals.

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Gary Peter Tenner, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [68]

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Right. Right. And then secondly, on your commentary on the efficiency ratio, where you talk about the adjusted number excluding the marketing fee component for deposits, can you help me understand the rationale for excluding that expense?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [69]

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Yes. And we don't -- in the [count] of adjusted, we don't really exclude it, we just move it up into net revenue. We move it up as a component of margin. The way that the fee works, it has to be classified as non-interest expense, but really, it's a margin component. And so all we do in that adjusted efficiency is move it to the place -- move it to the top of the income statement.

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Gary Peter Tenner, D.A. Davidson & Co., Research Division - Senior VP & Senior Research Analyst [70]

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Okay. So you're not solely excluding it from the efficiency calculation. Okay.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [71]

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So it's just moving. It's just geography. It's moving. But it's to illustrate how punitive it can be just on the efficiency ratio. Just because of the way it had to be categorized.

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Operator [72]

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Our next question comes from Brian Foran with Autonomous Research.

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Brian D. Foran, Autonomous Research LLP - Partner & US Regional Banks [73]

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I guess, it sounds like a lot of people are maybe struggling with the same thing on the deposits. The growth was so strong in the back half of the year, the numbers attached to Bask Bank, the commercial escrow and some other initiatives are pretty big. But then you've got the flat average guide, and that's down a little bit from period end. Is it possible -- you referenced some deposits that maybe weren't sticky in the fourth quarter are seasonally elevated, is it possible to put kind of a number on how much of the existing fourth quarter deposits you'd expect to go away in the first quarter? And then when you talk about the pool of high-cost deposits that you want to optimize, whatever the word was, is there a total number that you have earmarked, like you're looking at your deposit base and there's x billion that you'd love to take out over the next 2 years and swap into these other initiatives?

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [74]

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The flat deposit guidance, that is about the repositioning. That's about the repositioning. And there are some higher cost deposits that we would expect to replace with some of the new verticals. And then same thing, we will have -- we have some brokered CDs, which -- those have varying maturities over the next year. And depending on how the verticals or how Bask Bank is tracking, we would replace those. So it's really -- the flat deposit growth is really about optimizing the liability side of the balance sheet.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [75]

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And that helps our NIM some, too. There was an earlier question about our NIM. And again, as we reposition the cost of funds and our funding, it will help us on NIM as well.

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Brian D. Foran, Autonomous Research LLP - Partner & US Regional Banks [76]

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Okay. And then maybe, I don't know how it works with the merger pending, but it's maybe a little unusual to see this many kind of new initiatives and changes in this pending period. I mean -- or all the kind of strategies, the Bask Bank initiative, the funding, I mean, is it all kind of something that's aligned and part of the new entities combined strategic plan.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [77]

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This is no surprise as far as the diligence that we each conducted. So certainly, these are not new ideas or something brand-new to Independent. I think, they see us as offering some real strategic innovative capabilities that for a $50 billion bank are kind of table stakes, really important. And certainly, we've always thought of ourselves, Brian, as a company that played up and would be a $50 billion bank someday. So I think it's good for our organic standalone company, and it will be even better for the combined company. And yes, there's no surprises relative to the expectations by David Brooks and the Independent team.

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Operator [78]

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Our next question comes from Jon Arfstrom with RBC Capital Markets.

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Jon Glenn Arfstrom, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD of Financial Services Equity Research [79]

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Just a quick one on Bask. I know you had a prior relationship with American through BankDirect. But I'm curious if Bask has some kind of an exclusive with American almost like a card loyalty program or something like that? Or -- curious, how you defend against competition in the product?

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [80]

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Agility. It's, it's -- there is not an exclusive. That is something that, of course, we would have liked to have had. But had we done that, and that excludes us, too, from pursuing other potential affiliates. So it ended up being -- we don't have an exclusive, Jon, but we do have a running start. And I think, in this business, you always have to be running, expecting the wolves to be right behind you. And therefore, always looking for new ways to innovate and add new capabilities, new affiliates, new product, and we're all about that. So that's our situation with American. We're very excited about it. And American seems to be as well.

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Jon Glenn Arfstrom, RBC Capital Markets, Research Division - MD of Financial Services Equity Research [81]

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Okay. And safe to say it's a likely template for other products that you're thinking about.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [82]

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It is.

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Julie L. Anderson, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - CFO & Secretary [83]

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Yes.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [84]

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It is. And again, it's not just a vanilla-only forever, but we want to nail this. And so we're not going to get distracted, talking about all the other things we'll be able to do with this digital platform, but we have many other ideas relative to serving other clients, business as well as consumer.

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Operator [85]

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This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to President and CEO, Keith Cargill, for any closing remarks.

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C. Keith Cargill, Texas Capital Bancshares, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [86]

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I just want to thank everyone for joining our call. And we look forward to a great quarter this quarter and focused every day on taking better care of clients than we ever have before, despite the merger work that's ongoing. Have a good evening. Thank you.

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Operator [87]

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Thank you for your participation in TCBI's Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call. Please direct requests for follow-up questions to Julie Anderson, at julie.anderson@texascapitalbank.com. You may now disconnect.