U.S. Markets closed

Edited Transcript of USB earnings conference call or presentation 17-Apr-19 1:00pm GMT

Q1 2019 U.S. Bancorp Earnings Call

MINNEAPOLIS Apr 19, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of U.S. Bancorp earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 1:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

================================================================================

Corporate Participants

================================================================================

* Andrew Cecere

U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO

* Jennifer Ann Thompson

U.S. Bancorp - EVP of IR

* Terrance R. Dolan

U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO

================================================================================

Conference Call Participants

================================================================================

* Betsy Lynn Graseck

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD

* Erika Najarian

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD and Head of US Banks Equity Research

* Gerard S. Cassidy

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

* John Eamon McDonald

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Former Senior Analyst

* John G. Pancari

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Kenneth Michael Usdin

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Kevin James Barker

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

* Michael Lawrence Mayo

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst

* Robert Scott Siefers

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

* Saul Martinez

UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD & Analyst

* Vivek Juneja

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Equity Analyst

================================================================================

Presentation

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Welcome to U.S. Bancorp's First Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. Following a review of the results by Andy Cecere, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Terry Dolan, U.S. Bancorp's Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, there will be a formal question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) This call will be recorded and available for replay beginning today at approximately noon, Eastern Standard Time, through Wednesday, April 24, at 12:00 midnight, Eastern Standard Time. I'll now turn the call conference call over to Jen Thompson, Director of Investor Relations for U.S. Bancorp.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jennifer Ann Thompson, U.S. Bancorp - EVP of IR [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you, Jeff, and good morning to everyone who's joined our call. Andy Cecere and Terry Dolan are here with me today to review U.S. Bancorp's first quarter results and to answer your questions. Andy and Terry will be referencing a slide presentation during their prepared remarks. A copy of the slide presentation as well as our earnings release and supplemental analyst schedules are available on our website at usbank.com.

I'd like to remind you that any forward-looking statements made during today's call are subject to risk and uncertainty. Factors that could materially change our current forward-looking assumptions are described on Page 2 of today's presentation in our press release and in our Form 10-K and subsequent reports on file with the SEC. I'll now turn the call over to Andy.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Jen, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining our call. Following our prepared remarks, Terry and I will be taking your questions.

I'll begin on Slide 3. In the first quarter, we reported earnings of $1 per share. The slide highlights a number of financial metrics, but at a high level, growth in net interest income at e-revenue were in line with our expectations, credit quality was stable, and we delivered positive operating leverage. Our balance sheet is strong and growing, and we continue to see good account and volume momentum across our fee businesses, which is driving market share gains. Turning to capital management, our book value increased by 8.6% from a year ago. During the quarter, we returned 77% of our earnings to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks. Slide 4 provides key performance metrics. In the first quarter, we delivered an 18.4% of return on tangible common equity, and a 1.49% return on average assets.

Now let me turn the call over to Terry, who'll provide more detail on the quarter as well as forward-looking guidance.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Andy. If you turn to Slide 5, I'll start with the balance sheet review and follow up with a discussion of first quarter earnings trends. Average loans grew 0.9% on a linked-quarter basis and increased 3.7% year-over-year, excluding the impact of the second quarter 2018 sale of our federally guaranteed student loan portfolio and the fourth quarter 2018 sale of FDIC-covered loans that had reached the end of the loss coverage period. On the consumer side, we saw good growth in our residential mortgage, retail leasing and installment loan portfolios. Digital acquisition of customer accounts across platforms continues to be robust. Commercial loan growth accelerated in the first quarter, driven by M&A-related lending and slower paydown activity, partly due to timing. New business pipelines are healthy, although, paydown activity is likely to remain elevated and choppy near term. As expected, Commercial Real Estate loans decreased on a sequential and year-over-year basis. This quarter, Commercial Real Estate contributed a 40 basis point drag to linked quarter average loan growth and an 80 basis point drag to year-over-year average loan growth. Given what we consider to be a still unfavorable risk/reward dynamic in certain areas of Commercial Real Estate lending, we expect paydown pressure, which has moderated from peak levels, but continue -- but will continue to restrict growth in this portfolio.

Turning to Slide 6, deposits increased 0.3% on a linked-quarter basis and 0.2% year-over-year. As previously discussed, balance migration related to the business merger of a large financial client continues to impact deposit growth on a year-over-year basis. This migration impact on deposits will continue to moderate through mid-year.

Slide 7 indicates that credit quality was relatively stable in the first quarter. Nonperforming assets increased modestly versus the fourth quarter but were lower by 16.5% compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Slide 8 highlights first quarter earnings. We generated earnings of $1 per share in the first quarter of 2019 compared to earnings per share of $0.96 a year ago.

Turning to Slide 9, net interest income on a fully taxable equivalent basis was lower by 1.4% compared to the fourth quarter but increased 2.8% year-over-year, which was in line with our expectations. Both linked quarter and year-over-year comparisons benefited from loan growth and interest rate hikes. As is typical in the first quarter, linked quarter growth was negatively impacted by 2 fewer days. The first quarter of 2019 also experienced lower interest recoveries than the fourth quarter of 2018.

Slide 10 highlights trends in noninterest income. On a year-over-year basis, we saw mid-single-digit growth in both the merchant processing revenue and corporate payments products revenue, each driven by higher sales volumes. Credit card and debit card revenue declined by 6.2% from a year ago despite strong average account growth this quarter. There were fewer processing days just in the first quarter of 2019 than in the first quarter of 2018, which created an approximate 500 basis point headwind to year-over-year revenue growth. Also, a favorable change in accounting for prepaid revenue in the first quarter of 2018 negatively impacted the credit and debit card revenue growth rate by approximately 400 basis points on a year-over-year basis. The billing cycle impact is simply a timing issue within the full year of 2019 credit and debit card revenue. Both of these items are idiosyncratic to our business.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, we sold our third-party ATM servicing business, however, we continue to provide operational services during the transitional conversion period. Given the sale, we have combined ATM processing revenue with debit -- excuse me, deposit service charges for reporting purposes. The transition services revenue associated with ATM business is included in other income. As a result, the decline and deposit service charges in the first quarter was driven by the impact of the sale of our ATM business. The increase in other income was driven by the inclusion of the transition services revenue, which will decrease over time as well as higher tax credit syndications and equity investment [revenue]. Lower mortgage banking revenue in the first quarter was primarily driven by relative changes in MSR valuations. However, mortgage origination revenue grew in the first quarter, and application volume was up 10% from a year ago. We continue to expect growth in mortgage banking revenue for the full year of 2019. Decline in treasury management fees continues to reflect the impact of changes in earnings credits, which is typical in a rising rate environment. The beneficial revenue impact of compensated balances, which is reflected in net interest income, more than offset the decline in treasury management revenue.

Turning to Slide 11, the year-over-year increase in noninterest expense reflected higher compensation expense primarily due to the impact of hiring to support business growth. This was partly offset by a decrease in other expense primarily reflecting lower costs related to tax advantaged projects and lower FDIC assessment costs.

Slide 12 highlights our capital position. At March 31, our common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, estimated using the Basel III Standardized approach, was 9.3%. This compares to our target of 8.5%.

I'll now provide some forward-looking guidance. For the second quarter, we expect fully taxable equivalent net interest income to increase in the low single digits on a year-over-year basis. We expect fee revenue to increase in the low single digits year-over-year, including the negative impact of the sale of the ATM business. We expect to deliver positive operating leverage of 100 to 150 basis points for the full year of 2019, in line with our previous guidance. We continue to expect our taxable equivalent tax rate to be approximately 20% on a full year basis. Credit quality in the second quarter is expected to remain relatively stable compared with the first quarter. Loan loss provision expense growth will continue to be reflective of loan growth. I'll hand it back to Andy for closing remarks.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Terry. The start of the year is shaping up as we expected. The U.S. economy is healthy and supportive of growth, and the credit quality environment is stable. The macro environment aside, we are confident in our ability to execute and win market share across our lending and fee businesses, supported by our scale, our skill and our risk management discipline. Success in the banking industry will increasingly depend on our ability and determination to adapt to the evolving demands of our customers. The investments we are making in technology and innovation will play a critical role in our long-term success. And the payoff will be increasingly visible in the form of customer acquisition or retention as well as operational efficiency. One area we've been placing a lot of attention is our digital capabilities. We recently launched our newly developed mobile app, which incorporates improved sales functionality and enables a more seamless experience for our customers. Early feedback from the users has been very positive.

If you turn to Slide 13, I want to share a few digital metrics we track. You can see from these slides that digital engagement with our customers is growing and an increasing percentage of transactions and lending activities are occurring outside of physical locations. Particularly encouraging is the trend in digital loan sales. Approximately 1/3 of all loan sales are now completed digitally, up from 25% a year ago. Mortgage lending and small business lending are early digital lending success stories. Currently, nearly 75% of all mortgage loans are completed digitally end to end, and that percentage is growing. This past September, we launched the fully digital lending solution for small businesses that can significantly reduce the customers' time to credit decision and funding to, in some cases, as short as 1 hour. Migration of sales and transactions to our digital platform will enhance customer experience, improve operational efficiency and enable expansion into existing markets where we currently have customers but little or no physical footprint.

In closing, we are off to a good start to the year, and momentum is building across our businesses. I'd like to thank our employees for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. That concludes our formal remarks. We will now open up the call to Q&A.

================================================================================

Questions and Answers

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [1]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from the line of John McDonald with Autonomous Research.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Eamon McDonald, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Former Senior Analyst [2]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andy and Terry, I wanted to ask you guys about the operating leverage target for this year. You came at the low end of the range, the 1 to 1.5, this quarter, but that included some pressure from the billing cycle, processing days issue. So as you look ahead, do you have a bias towards the lower or the higher end of that 1 to 1.50 range? Or I guess, maybe said differently, what kind of environment would get you at the lower end of the operating leverage target? And what would it need to do to get you to the higher end?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [3]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. John, this is Terry. And I think that where we end up in the range will in part be driven by what sort of revenue growth we see throughout the year. The extent that revenue growth picks up a little bit gives us the opportunity to be close to the higher end, but if it's a challenging revenue environment, we're more likely to be closer to that lower end of the range. And it's something that we're just going to continue to manage to and make decisions based upon both short term and long term sort of objectives of the company.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Eamon McDonald, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Former Senior Analyst [4]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. And what's the right level of expense growth for USB in this kind of environment? You've got a little less pressure from compliance spend and some relief there, but on the other hand, you're stepping up investments. And you're getting a little help from FDIC surcharge roll off. How do you -- how should we think about expenses? And what you think about this year? And what's kind of a good target for you guys?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [5]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John, this is Andy. Yes, you're right about both of these items. The pressure on compliance cost has eased as well as we're getting some benefit from FDIC. We will continue to make technology investments for all the digital capabilities that I referred to in my comments. I think another important factor is with the lifting of the consent order, we have a lot more flexibility and physical asset optimization. So I think the other lever that you're going to see us utilize is branch optimization, which, over the next couple of years, I would expect a 10% to 15% reduction in our actual physical count of branches. We're going to open up some in places. We're going to be remolding and changing the footprint, but the net of it will be down 10% to 15%.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Eamon McDonald, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Former Senior Analyst [6]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. And then just one follow-up on the operating leverage. Is there any cadence or seasonality to kind of the operating leverage? And did that billing issue with the processing days hurt you in the first quarter and keep you at the lower end?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [7]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So from a seasonality standpoint, certainly, the impact of the credit card revenue growth did end up impacting it. But this probably narrows just a little bit midyear and then tends to expand in the fourth quarter. It's fairly consistent through the year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [8]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's right, Terry. Typically, over the past many years, I think our strongest to weakest quarter is just in terms -- and principally driven by revenue seasonality, [audit], it's the payment businesses, a lot of businesses, 3, 4, 2, 1, strongest to weakest.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Eamon McDonald, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division - Former Senior Analyst [9]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. But in terms of year-over-year operating leverage, that doesn't necessarily apply. That'll depend on the environment more so whether you get up to that 1.5?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [10]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, and...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [11]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And on the revenue environment, right.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [12]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, where the revenue grows because some of it is variable expense.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [13]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of John Pancari with Evercore.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John G. Pancari, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst [14]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the margin side, first, on the -- actually more specifically around deposits. And we saw a pretty good decline in the non-interest-bearing in the quarter. Can you give us a little bit more color around that driver of that? And if you expect to continue to shift at that pace into interest-bearing? I wanted to get your thoughts on that, first.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [15]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So there certainly continues to be some migration to interest-bearings for the deposits by our customers. We're seeing it mostly on the wholesale side as well as a little bit on the trust side. And that's a function of them looking for higher yield, but it's also a function as earnings credit rates come up with rising rates just more excess deposits that they have the opportunity to be able to shift. I do think that, that moderates a bit and because with short-term rates kind of on hold, there's going to be a lot of less pressure on earnings credit rates, and then that is going to not reduce, but at least lower the increase of the -- any excess deposits. So I do expect it to moderate a bit.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John G. Pancari, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD & Senior Equity Research Analyst [16]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. So how would that play into your margin outlook here as you saw about 1 bp of expansion in this quarter? Is it fair to assume relatively stable despite that continued flow into interest-bearing but with the expected abatement?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [17]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So as you saw, our net interest margin was up 1 basis point on a linked-quarter basis. Given the current rate environment, my expectation from a deposit standpoint is that deposit base will -- the pricing will continue to creep up a little bit. It'll be more driven by the loan growth than where that loan growth is occurring. Our expectation is really no rate hikes for the rest of the year, that the yield curve stays relatively flat. And given that environment, our outlook for the rest of the year is a fairly flat net interest margin. And then the other thing that I would just point out is that there is a little bit of seasonality for us because of our credit card portfolio. In the second quarter, it's usually flat to down a little bit, 1 basis point or 2. So just kind of expect that in the second quarter, but for the full year and through the rest of the year, we pretty much expect it to be flat.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [18]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from Erika Najarian with Bank of America.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Erika Najarian, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD and Head of US Banks Equity Research [19]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just wanted to follow-up on John's question on positive operating leverage. Just wanted to be clear because I think there's a little bit of confusion how the market interpreted your comments on the previous call. So in the environment where both NII and fees are growing low single digits, can we assume that expenses will be flat to up 1% if that's the revenue environment that we're in? I'm just trying to make sure we're interpreting it correctly.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [20]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. I mean, Erica, we -- clearly no one understands the revenue environment that we're in right now. And we're looking at every opportunity to be able to manage it, get expenses down. So I think your expectation is right now that we're going to be very prudent with respect to our spending. We look at -- from a leverage standpoint, Andy talked a little bit about physical asset optimization. And he's looking at any discretionary spending. You remember from the fourth quarter, we went through kind of an organizational redesign. That'll have some benefits to us throughout this year. And also in the first quarter with Tim Welsh taking over our Consumer and Banking business, that gives us opportunities to kind of look at the organizational design structure. So there's a whole variety of different things. And then if you remember, FDIC surcharge going away gives us some flexibility in order to be able to get there. So I think there's a number of different levers, but it's challenging, but we're going to end up having to manage in that environment, and that's our expectation.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Erika Najarian, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - MD and Head of US Banks Equity Research [21]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Got it. Perfect. And underneath your outlook for flat net interest margin, you've often talked to us about the concept of terminal betas, especially on the commercial side. In the environment of no Fed rate hikes, what kind of flexibility do you have on your pricing? And if you could, because we've been so well in the past, give us a sense of how you think pricing will trend on the commercial side versus the retail side.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [22]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, I think that, given the right environment without rate hikes, again, I think the deposit pricing and how that changes will be a function of what sort of loan growth you see and the need to -- and the competition that you'll have with respect to deposits in that situation. I do expect that on the wholesale trust side, there's still going to be -- continue to be some pressure, but I do believe that, that alleviates itself quite a bit. The other thing is that if you end up looking at our deposit growth, we're seeing good deposit growth in terms of consumer balances. And as you know, the pricing flexibility on that side is a little bit better.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [23]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Scott Siefers with Sandler O'Neill.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Robert Scott Siefers, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - Principal of Equity Research [24]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terry, I was hoping you could spend just a second digging into your loan growth outlook. I guess, my understanding was sort of the 1Q would be sort of seasonally weaker, and then maybe things will accelerate a bit from there. But in your prepared remarks, you'd mentioned the paydown pressure you're seeing particularly on the CRE side a couple of times. So just curious for any updated thoughts you might have on the overall loan growth trajectory.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [25]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So when we end up looking at the loan growth, I mean it's hard to look out too far. Certainly, when we think about the second quarter, our expectation is that loans will grow kind of in line with the linked-quarter growth that we saw in the first quarter. But maybe let me give you a little bit of context in terms of some of the dynamics. The middle-market loan growth was or is stronger in the first quarter. On a linked-quarter basis, it was up about 1.3% and year-over-year, is closer to about 5%. So we saw a nice growth in the middle-market space. We saw a good growth with respect to our auto lending. It was a little bit less price-competitive than during the first quarter, and we kind of expect that to continue. Residential mortgages are -- our mortgage volume was strong in the first quarter, and so we continue to believe that, that's going to be a positive thing. C&I, in general, was good. I mean, I think the economy is solid. Our C&I pipelines are strong at this particular point in time, and consumer -- excuse me, businesses continue to spend and make some business investments. So I think that there's just a lot of different factors that would suggest that, that sort of growth will continue.

I think there are 2 things in terms of overall total loans that create a bit of a drag. We talked a little bit about our Commercial Real Estate portfolio, and our expectation is that will continue to slowly -- to continue to be a bit of a drag throughout the rest of the year, just based on where we're at in the business cycle. And then within C&I, kind of buried there is tax-exempt loans. And when the tax rates changed for corporates coming down but individuals staying pretty high, the appetite I guess will be where the opportunity we'll be able to grow. Tax-exempt in the corporate side of the equation or banking side of the equation is a little more challenging. So that on a linked-quarter basis in the first quarter was about a 20 basis point drag for us. So it's kind of a number of puts and takes, but overall, we feel good about where the economy is and where our businesses are spending.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Robert Scott Siefers, Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P., Research Division - Principal of Equity Research [26]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Perfect. That's good color. I appreciate that. And then if I could one more ticky-tack one. Just in the other fee income, I think there was a time not too long ago when obviously, you were doing like $250 million a quarter. That'd be definitely a big, outsized quarter, but more recently, it's kind of crept up there kind of steadily, consistently been in sort of the $225 million to $250 million range. As we look at the $247 million for this quarter, is that a pretty good base to go off of? Or was there anything volatile or unusual in there?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [27]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. There's a -- it's obviously a little bit lumpy in terms of other revenue. Probably, the guidance that I would end up giving you is that through the rest of the year, we would expect the range to be somewhere between $175 million to $225 million on a quarterly basis. So if you're modeling kind of in between there, I think that's a good estimate.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [28]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Ken Usdin with Jefferies.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kenneth Michael Usdin, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [29]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andy, I don't know if you've spoken since the mergers of equals transactions we got last quarter. And I think we all know where you have stood as far as the current strategic imperatives, work on the digital strategy, consolidate some of the branches. Just wondering just where you stand on your view of U.S. banks' size and scale? And how you think, if any differently, just about either the need or desire to think about bank M&A down the road, even if not today, but just from a bigger picture strategic point?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [30]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sure, Ken. First, let me say that we consider all options for growth, and we'll look at anything that is available and/or any strategic initiative that would be sensible for our company. But I will tell you, I think our near-term focus will likely be on the fee businesses, the merchant processing, the trust businesses that we've been focusing on. We have a lot of momentum across our digital activities. We have a lot more flexibility now that we're out of the consent order. We're making a lot of progress across all of our business lines, and I feel very comfortable where we are today.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kenneth Michael Usdin, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - MD and Senior Equity Research Analyst [31]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Then 2 just a small ones. First, on the card spending rate of growth slowing, I know a part was the billing cycle, but just can you just talk to us about what of it is just the underlying in terms of any changes you're just seeing or feeling in terms of just the consumer? That was the first one. The second one was just on commercial loans were just up a lot sequentially, about 30 basis points. I'm just wondering what was underneath that increase.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [32]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So maybe in the consumer spend, again, we talked about the fewer processing days necessarily was an impact. But one other thing that we saw kind of post holiday is that consumer spend did drop pretty dramatically, came back in January, a little stronger in February, and it's kind of at that 4% year-over-year growth rate in March. Our expectation on a full year basis is that, that will continue to get stronger kind of in that 5% to 6% sort of range in terms of continuing to accelerate from a sales standpoint. From a revenue perspective, I think that, again, it's going to continue to get stronger in the second and third quarter. We'll recapture some of the those processing days. But our expectation for credit and debit card revenue for the full year, given the impact of the first quarter, is really low single digits at this particular point in time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [33]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And Terry, that first quarter, that was the period of government shutdown. There was some turbulence in the equity markets. There was weather impacts across some of our geographies. So those things are all past us right now. And that's why we're a little bit more confident going forward.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [34]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, and it's hard to kind of identify or single out any one of those things. But I think, every one of them had some impact in the early part of the first quarter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [35]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Right.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [36]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Betsy Graseck with Morgan Stanley.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Betsy Lynn Graseck, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [37]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Recently, you announced the hiring of a new Chief Digital Officer, Derek White, and I just wanted to understand what your expectation is for how Derek is going to be impacting U.S. Bancorp. It's a pretty senior hire, and I know you just did a whole revamp of the mobile platform. So I'm wondering what's left.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [38]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. There's a lot left. So we have a lot of activity going on from the digital perspective. We have 20 agile studios and growing. We just developed a new app, and we're going to continue to enhance and continue to improve that. We have real-time payments that's impacting the consumer side of the equation as well as the wholesale and ultimately, payments. We have AI going on. We have blockchain. So we have initiatives across all the business lines focused on digital activities. And Derek's goal will be to really bring that all together and to a common U.S. Bank sort of vision and theme so that we're really optimizing with their customers across all business lines and really leveraging capabilities across all our digital and all our business lines for the benefit of the customer. So we're excited to have Derek on board. He has great capabilities, a great background, and I think he's going to fit in the team terrifically.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Betsy Lynn Graseck, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [39]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. So it's beyond consumer and also in areas like B2B?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [40]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, it is.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [41]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think the -- one of the other things that kind of ties into that is continuing to enhance and improve and tie our digital marketing sort of capabilities into that whole digital strategy, data analytics and a lot of those other things that will help drive growth in the future.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Betsy Lynn Graseck, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [42]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And when we think about the impact on the P&L, the improvement in digital and improvement in real-time is obviously very positive for clients. Does it -- how does it impact your P&L? Is it neutral? Do you give up float but get back volume? I'm just trying to think through how you think about the ROIC on all of this.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [43]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, Betsy. The way I think about it is I think it's an enhancement to both revenue and expense because from a revenue standpoint, I think it's going to allow for additional customer acquisition as well as retention, billing the customer from a centrality standpoint. On the expense side of the equation, I think it offers operational efficiencies. And you think about check processing, the courier cost and things and all the -- all those sorts of things, over time I think it'll offer benefits on both sides.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Betsy Lynn Graseck, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - MD [44]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And the float give-up isn't really that big a deal?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [45]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No, the float, you know there's positive and negative of that. And I think the net of it is not going to be that material.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [46]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Vivek Juneja with JP Morgan.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vivek Juneja, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Equity Analyst [47]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A couple of questions for you. One is did I catch this correctly, the prepaid cards, the accounting change in the first quarter of '18, that benefited by 400 basis points? Or did I mishear that?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [48]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, the impact was favorable a year ago. So it actually had a negative impact to the growth rate this year of about 400 basis points. So you think about we're down 6.2%. There was a 500 basis point drag related to 3 fewer processing days, 400 basis point drag related to the accounting change and then the drag associated with consumer spend dynamic that we saw early in the third -- first quarter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vivek Juneja, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Equity Analyst [49]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. And that favorable accounting change, Terry, did that benefit all of 2018 then? Or was this something that reversed in the rest of '18? Or how did this play out?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [50]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No, it was a onetime item in the first quarter of 2018. So it was onetime. And it -- so it won't impact anything related to our future quarters and -- from a comparison standpoint.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Vivek Juneja, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - Senior Equity Analyst [51]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. Got It. And this 500 basis point fewer processing days, that should completely reverse over the course of the next quarter? Or does it take multiple quarters to do that?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [52]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. It's not necessarily in the second quarter. We expect it to reverse principally in the third quarter. Now on a year-over-year basis, 2019 versus 2018, there are actually 2 fewer processing days in total. So we're going to get some of it back but not all of it this year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [53]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next question comes from the line of Kevin Barker with Piper Jaffray.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin James Barker, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - Principal & Senior Research Analyst [54]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just wanted to follow up on some of the comments you made about Commercial Real Estate because it feels like there's a distinct shift here as we go into 2019 versus the outlook or the competitive environment that we saw in the latter half of 2018. You were mentioning where we are in the business cycle in some of your remarks. I just wanted to get a little more color on where you're seeing either outsized competition now or maybe some softness in certain parts of the Commercial Real Estate market?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [55]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, so we're certainly seeing I think with respect to the capital markets, with rates coming down, we saw I think opportunity for some of that project financing to be refinanced in the first quarter. I think that's part of it. We're also seeing insurance companies' pension plans that have been a little more active with respect to taking out construction lending and providing the permanent financing maybe than what we have seen in the past. Fourth quarter was a little bit of an anomaly for us because first quarter kind of got -- some of the first quarter activity got pulled forward into the fourth quarter, but when we think about Commercial Real Estate going through the rest of the year, the type of paydown activity, I think we expect it to continue. So the decline in the portfolio is probably going to be fairly consistent through the year. In terms of type of product, in terms of where we're seeing it, it's really kind of across the board in terms of all the different areas. But it's really from construction through that permanent financing stage. And part of that is we're -- at this particular point in the business cycle, we're just not willing to extend out terms and go deeper with respect to Commercial Real Estate at this particular point in time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [56]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And just to add on Terry, another factor certainly is the flat yield curve. It's allowing some of these nonbanks to take advantage of the lower funding cost, the spots in the curve that are further out than we typically would go.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [57]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Yes.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin James Barker, Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division - Principal & Senior Research Analyst [58]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. That's helpful. And then to follow up on some of the comments around the mobile strategy. You introduced the small business mobile app from the lending you did last year. Could you just give me an update on the progress that you're seeing from that rollout? What the growth looks like? And what it has done incrementally to your overall loan growth?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [59]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. So we scratched -- I mentioned the agile team. That was a great example of the agile team coming together in a matter of months to develop a product that allowed for funding in what was typically days or weeks to hours. And it's in early innings of the project, but it's been very favorable in terms of offering customers a convenient choice, fewer questions before the approval process to get them approved, funding much more rapidly. And it's all part of the mobile app activity that we talked about that allows for just a more convenient, simpler set of navigation options and also sales and information. So it's part of a large strategy, and I also want to highlight that the mobile app that we are introducing now is just phase 1. It'll continue to be updated and enhanced, and you'll see more and more of these capabilities. I also mentioned in my prepared remarks that currently, 75% of our mortgage apps are now done in a digital fashion end to end, which is a huge improvement and a great convenience from a customer standpoint.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [60]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, but I think that is one of the drivers in terms of why we are seeing the application [adoption] getting stronger, and it's one of the reasons why we feel pretty bullish on mortgage origination through the rest of the year.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [61]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Operator Instructions) Your next question comes from the line of Saul Martinez with UBS.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD & Analyst [62]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Couple of questions, very sort of granular questions. First on your deposit service charges of $217 million. Obviously, it's not comparable to the prior quarters because of the ATM processing -- the ATM sale -- business sale, which had been consolidated in prior quarters, and I think it was in there 1 month in the fourth quarter. But my understanding is that not all of that goes away. So how do I think about the $217 million on a like-for-like basis versus previous quarters versus the fourth quarter and the first quarter? I think, they were doing like $45 million a quarter, but what kind of adjustments do we need to make to the prior quarters to get more of an apples-to-apples comparison?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [63]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, the ATM business was sold around mid fourth quarter. So the change in deposit service charges, fourth -- excuse me, first quarter to first quarter is a pretty good metric or indicator with respect to the type of impact that it will have on deposit service charges going forward. The -- and I think that's probably the best way of kind of thinking about it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD & Analyst [64]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. So -- sorry, so the best way to sort of look at the year-on-year delta versus where it was in the first quarter of '18?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [65]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So the delta was about $44 million, $45 million. I think that delta is a pretty good metric.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD & Analyst [66]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay, so it is a 44 -- so it's about $40 million to $45 million. So not all of it goes away in the -- from what you previously were posting in that ATM processing services line, which was like $80 million to $90 million a quarter.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [67]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's right because included in that was third-party service provider as well as branded ATM fees.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD & Analyst [68]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Got it. And then on your C&I loan yields, they ticked up quite a bit this quarter. They were up like 30 -- almost 30 basis points, I think 29 basis points, which is fairly high even in a quarter where you have a hike, and LIBOR obviously moved up. The average LIBOR moved up less than in prior quarters. Is there anything unusual in that tick-up in commercial loan yields that we should be aware of? Or -- because it seems like a pretty big increase.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [69]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, typically, I think you would expect to see about maybe 60% of the rate hike. That would be probably more normal. So maybe in that 20 basis points. The rest of it is really kind of driven by some mix of the growth in the portfolio. So it's really more of a mix issue.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saul Martinez, UBS Investment Bank, Research Division - MD & Analyst [70]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Okay. So you get some rate hike, and then you're benefiting obviously from the -- I guess, from the mix as well.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [71]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Exactly. Yes.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [72]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Mike Mayo with Wells Fargo Securities.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michael Lawrence Mayo, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [73]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I -- I know Betsy asked one question about Derek White, who I guess comes from BBVA, which is considered one of the leaders in digital banking. So that's a pretty big hire. So what metrics should we on the outside look to, to see if the digital banking effort will be successful, say, in 1, 2 or 3 years? Is it percentage of customers that are engaged digitally? Is it customer satisfaction? What's -- what would be your metrics for success for whatever Derek White will be doing now?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [74]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Mike. And it is all those things. It's digital engagement, it's going to be sales activity via the digital platform, it's going to be customer activity via the digital platform. And we're going to share more of those with you on this call and in our quarterly earnings and starting with what we did today because it is something we're very focused on from a company perspective. And because we're focused on it, I want to make sure you're aware of it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michael Lawrence Mayo, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [75]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And you were -- I think pretty recently, you said you might be going out of footprint with some digital banking efforts kind of joining in on the national digital banking wars, so to speak, that's my term and not yours, but it does seem like everyone's doing that around the same time. How does this hiring impact your plans to go out of market for more retail customers?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [76]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That is still our plan. And as a reminder, we have a number of customers outside of our 25 states that are either credit card, mortgage or auto loan customers. We also have large employee bases. And I think what we're focused on expanding and what I'll call a digital-light strategy, a branchlike strategy, digital-first strategy, which is with a few branches with this digital capability that we're talking about and encompassing the current customer base and becoming a more whole bank experience for those customers. So you actually...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michael Lawrence Mayo, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [77]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And then one short follow-up, my last one. Look, you've been around a long time, you know the industry and the business. It's just we haven't found too many examples of cross-selling to a credit card company a lot of other, say, deposit and other products. You're changing a single-product customer, whether it's in credit cards or auto, and making them a full relationship customer. So why is now different? Or maybe there's examples that you see that I don't.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Andrew Cecere, U.S. Bancorp - Chairman, President & CEO [78]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, it's a fair question, Mike. I think, what's changed over the past few years are capabilities that you can do from a digital platform. So historically, you'd really need a physical presence to expand a customer relationship. And if you didn't have a branch in that location or many branches or density of branches, you weren't able to really extend a relationship. I think, with the capabilities today, the 2/3 of transactions happen on a mobile device. The fact that 70% of our customers use the digital platform. All those facts allow you to enter a market with this branch-light concept with a digital platform. That is different from a few years ago, and I think that's the major change.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [79]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think the only thing -- yes, I think the only thing that I would add is that I think a big part of the digital world is the experiential aspect associated with it. And if you think about millennials and Gen Z, et cetera, being much more digitally adept. And I think that as that continues to occur, it's going to continue to create that opportunity.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [80]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your next question comes from the line of Gerard Cassidy with RBC.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gerard S. Cassidy, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [81]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Could you guys share with us -- obviously, credit quality is very strong throughout the industry and for you folks as well. Are there any issues on the horizon that you're keeping your eye on that we should be aware of just as a general trend on credit? And then also, as you answer that question, can you think about also your exposure to retail malls and stuff that's increased activity and retailers shutting down stores? And maybe there might be some pressure in that type of portfolio down the road?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [82]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, good question. Certainly, with respect to our portfolio, there's nothing is really on the horizon that we're too concerned about. As you know that our portfolio is principally prime-based, and that's true across all of our consumer sort of product. And in the commercial side of the equation, it typically is investment-grade -- high investment-grade type of customers that we do business with. So I don't think there is a particular area that we have that just stands out as a concern for us. Certainly, in Commercial Real Estate, and one of the reasons why we're not extending terms in those sorts of things is that at this particular point in the business cycle, we think it's prudent just to continue to hold our own as opposed to expand and grow. And then maybe coming back to your question with respect to retail malls, it -- I think that will continue to be an area of pressure if you think about the industry, but for us, the exposure, I believe, is less than $250 million. So it just isn't a big exposure for us at this particular point in time.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gerard S. Cassidy, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [83]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Very good. And then shifting to deposit betas. Back in '94, '95, Chairman Greenspan shifted his policy on interest rates from raising rates to cutting rates within 6 months in 1995. If the Chairman Powell decides to just cut Fed fund rates this fall and some futures markets or suggesting he might do that, how quickly would your deposit betas start to fall following the Fed reducing short-end rates?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terrance R. Dolan, U.S. Bancorp - Vice Chairman & CFO [84]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As soon as the rate starts moving down, we -- and I think the industry would be fairly proactive in terms of bringing deposit pricing down along with it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [85]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are no further questions at this time. I would now like to turn the call back over to Jen Thompson for closing remarks.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jennifer Ann Thompson, U.S. Bancorp - EVP of IR [86]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thank you all for listening to our earnings call. Please contact the Investor Relations department if you have any follow-up questions.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Operator [87]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This concludes the U.S. Bancorp's First Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. We thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.