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Hancock Whitney Reports Fourth Quarter 2021 EPS of $1.55

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A Strong Finish to a Record Year; 2021 EPS totaled $5.22

GULFPORT, Miss., January 18, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hancock Whitney Corporation (Nasdaq: HWC) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2021. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2021 totaled $137.7 million, or $1.55 per diluted common share (EPS), compared to $129.6 million, or $1.46 per diluted common share, in the third quarter of 2021. The fourth quarter of 2021 included ($4.9) million, or ($0.04) per share after-tax, of net nonoperating income items, mostly from storm-related insurance proceeds. The third quarter of 2021 included ($1.4) million, or ($0.01) per share after-tax, of net nonoperating income items, related to Hurricane Ida expenses offset by severance reversal and a gain from the sale of the remaining Hancock Horizon Funds. Excluding the impact of these nonoperating items in both quarters, EPS would be up $0.06 linked-quarter. The company reported net income for the fourth quarter of 2020 of $103.6 million, or $1.17 per diluted common share. There were no nonoperating items in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Fourth Quarter 2021 Highlights

  • Pre-provision net revenue (PPNR) totaled $134.2 million, down slightly, linked-quarter

  • Core loan growth of $652.5 million, more than offset the impact of $404.3 million in PPP loan forgiveness leading to an overall increase in total loans of $248.3 million linked-quarter

  • Deposits increased $1.3 billion as noninterest-bearing demand deposits increased $739.4 million and interest-bearing accounts increased $518.3 million

  • $29.1 million reserve release and $0.7 million in net charge-offs led to a negative provision for credit losses of $28.4 million

  • ACL coverage remained strong at 1.76% (1.80% excluding PPP loans)

  • Both nonperforming loans and criticized commercial loans declined 6% and 2%, respectively, linked-quarter

  • The continued impact of excess liquidity, driven mainly by PPP loan forgiveness and Hurricane Ida related deposits, led to a 14 bps compression in reported NIM

  • TCE ratio 7.71%, down 14 bps, impacted by OCI and excess liquidity

"Fourth quarter’s results were a strong finish to a record year," said John M. Hairston, President & CEO. "Our company grew to over $36 billion in total assets, as both loan and deposit growth exceeded expectations. Annual earnings per share were $5.22, compared to a loss in 2020, while operating pre-provision, net revenue (PPNR) totaled $538 million, an increase of $46.5 million, or 9%. The work we started pre-pandemic, coupled with the de-risking efforts in early 2020, have put us on a path to achieving updated corporate strategic objectives (CSOs), including the previously announced path to a 55% efficiency ratio. Expense management efforts are evident as we surpassed our target for the fourth quarter of 2021, while revenue initiatives are underway. Today our credit metrics are among the best in class, and our capital remains solid despite the impact of excess liquidity on our TCE ratio. We are looking forward to carrying the momentum from the year-end finish to a brighter 2022, not only for our company, but for our clients, associates and communities, as we hopefully begin to emerge from today’s ongoing pandemic environment."

Loans

Loans totaled $21.1 billion at December 31, 2021, up $248.3 million, or 1%, linked-quarter. Core loans increased $652.5 million from September 30, 2021, more than offsetting the impact of $404.3 million in PPP loan forgiveness. Growth was reflected in markets across the footprint and in specialty lines. Management expects core loans to grow by 6-8% in 2022, while quarterly results will reflect normal seasonality.

Average loans totaled $20.8 billion for the fourth quarter of 2021, down $171.0 million, or 1%, linked-quarter.

Deposits

Total deposits at December 31, 2021 were $30.5 billion, up $1.3 billion, or 4%, from September 30, 2021. Seasonality, excess liquidity related to stimulus and other pandemic-related client funds, and hurricane related recovery proceeds contributed to the fourth quarter of 2021’s elevated level of deposits.

DDAs totaled $14.4 billion at December 31, 2021, up $739.4 million, or 5%, from September 30, 2021 and comprised 47% of total period-end deposits. Interest-bearing transaction and savings deposits totaled $11.6 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of $358.0 million, or 3%, linked-quarter. Compared to September 30, 2021, time deposits of $1.1 billion were down $78.9 million, or 7%. Interest-bearing public fund deposits increased $239.2 million, or 8%, linked-quarter, ending December 31, 2021 at $3.3 billion.

Management expects 2022 deposit levels to remain flat to slightly down.

Average deposits for the fourth quarter of 2021 were $29.8 billion, up $513.4 million, or 2%, linked-quarter.

Asset Quality

The total allowance for credit losses (ACL) was $371.4 million at December 31, 2021, down $29.1 million from September 30, 2021. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the company recorded a negative provision for credit losses of $28.4 million, compared to a negative provision of $27.0 million in the third quarter of 2021. Net charge-offs totaled $0.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, or 0.01% of average total loans on an annualized basis, down from $1.8 million, or 0.03% of average total loans in the third quarter of 2021. The ratio of ACL to period-end loans was 1.76% (1.80% excluding PPP loans) at December 31, 2021, compared to 1.92% (2.00% excluding PPP loans) at September 30, 2021.

The company’s overall asset quality metrics continued to improve with commercial criticized and total nonperforming loans down 2% and 6%, respectively, linked-quarter. Nonperforming assets (NPAs) totaled $66.8 million at December 31, 2021, down $5.0 million, or 7%, from September 30, 2021. During the fourth quarter of 2021, total nonperforming loans decreased $4.1 million, or 6%, while ORE and foreclosed assets were down $0.9 million, or 11% linked-quarter. Nonperforming assets as a percent of total loans, ORE and other foreclosed assets was 0.32% at December 31, 2021, down 2 bps from September 30, 2021.

Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin (NIM)

Net interest income (TE) for the fourth quarter of 2021 was $231.9 million, a decrease of $5.5 million, or 2%, from the third quarter of 2021.

The net interest margin (NIM) was 2.80% in the fourth quarter of 2021, a decline of 14 bps linked-quarter. Factors driving the NIM compression are mainly related to the impact of additional excess liquidity noted earlier (-10 bps), change in earning asset yield (-4 bps) and forgiveness of over $400 million in PPP loans (-2 bps), partly offset by lower deposit costs (+1 bp) and other (+1 bp).

Average earning assets were $32.9 billion for the fourth quarter of 2021, up $816.3 million, or 3%, from the third quarter of 2021.

Management expects NIM to remain flat to slightly down through mid-year 2022, and then begin to expand.

Noninterest Income

Noninterest income totaled $89.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, down $3.7 million, or 4%, from the third quarter of 2021. Included in noninterest income was a $3.6 million gain from storm-related insurance proceeds (nonoperating item). In the third quarter of 2021, noninterest income included a $4.6 million gain from the sale of the remaining Hancock Horizon Funds. Adjusting for these items, noninterest income for the fourth quarter of 2021 totaled $86.0 million, down $2.8 million, or 3%, linked-quarter.

Service charges on deposits were up $0.2 million, or 1%, from the third quarter of 2021. Bankcard and ATM fees were up $0.8 million, or 4%, from the third quarter of 2021, driven by seasonality and improved economic activity and consumer-spending patterns.

Investment and annuity income and insurance fees were up $0.4 million, or 5%, linked-quarter. Trust fees were down $0.5 million, or 3% linked-quarter.

Fees from secondary mortgage operations totaled $5.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, down $1.5 million, or 22%, linked-quarter, as we are currently seeing a slowdown in activity compared to 2020’s refinance "boom".

Other noninterest income totaled $19.1 million, down $3.1 million, or 14%, from the third quarter of 2021. The decrease is due to a lower level of specialty income.

Noninterest Expense & Taxes

Noninterest expense totaled $182.5 million, down $12.2 million, or 6% linked-quarter. Included in the total was ($1.3) million of net nonoperating expenses related primarily to partial reversals of accruals for Hurricane Ida expense and closed branch writedowns. In the third quarter of 2021, noninterest expense included $3.2 million, related primarily to Hurricane Ida, partly offset by a reversal of severance. Excluding these items, operating expense totaled $183.8 in the fourth quarter of 2021, down $7.7 million, or 4%, linked-quarter.

Personnel expense (operating) totaled $107.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, down $6.7 million, or 6%, linked-quarter. The decrease is mainly related to savings associated with efficiency initiatives noted last quarter.

Occupancy and equipment expense totaled $16.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, down $0.8 million, or 5%, from the third quarter of 2021. Amortization of intangibles totaled $3.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, down $0.2 million, or 4%, linked-quarter.

ORE and other foreclosed assets expense totaled $0.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to gains exceeding expenses by $0.4 million in the third quarter of 2021.

Other operating expense totaled $56.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, virtually flat linked-quarter.

The effective income tax rate for fourth quarter 2021 was 16.4%. The lower than normal rate was related to the company revising its tax elections in anticipation of potential tax reform to a higher statutory tax rate. The company expects the tax rate to return to a normal quarterly range of 19-20% in 2022, absent any changes in tax laws. The effective income tax rate continues to be less than the statutory rate due primarily to tax-exempt income and tax credits.

Capital

Common stockholders’ equity at December 31, 2021 totaled $3.7 billion, up $40.6 million, or 1%, from September 30, 2021. The tangible common equity (TCE) ratio was 7.71%, down 14 bps from September 30, 2021, mainly the result of excess liquidity and a year-end fair value adjustment in OCI. The company’s CET1 ratio is estimated to be 11.16% at December 31, 2021, virtually flat linked-quarter. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the company repurchased 393,527 shares of its common stock at an average price of $48.98 per share. This stock repurchase is part of the Board authorization to repurchase up to 4,338,000 shares of the company’s common stock, set to expire December 31, 2022. To-date the company has repurchased 449,876 shares under this authorization.

Conference Call and Slide Presentation

Management will host a conference call for analysts and investors at 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 to review the results. A live listen-only webcast of the call will be available under the Investor Relations section of Hancock Whitney’s website at investors.hancockwhitney.com. A link to the release with additional financial tables, and a link to a slide presentation related to fourth quarter results are also posted as part of the webcast link. To participate in the Q&A portion of the call, dial 844-200-6205 or 646-904-5544, access code 925066.

An audio archive of the conference call will be available under the Investor Relations section of our website. A replay of the call will also be available through January 25, 2022 by dialing 866-813-9403 or 929-458-6194, access code 899285.

About Hancock Whitney

Since the late 1800s, Hancock Whitney has embodied core values of Honor & Integrity, Strength & Stability, Commitment to Service, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility. Hancock Whitney offices and financial centers in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas offer comprehensive financial products and services, including traditional and online banking; commercial and small business banking; private banking; trust and investment services; healthcare banking; certain insurance services; and mortgage services. The company also operates a loan production office in Nashville, Tennessee. BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent bank rating and analysis firm, consistently recommends Hancock Whitney as one of America’s most financially sound banks. More information is available at www.hancockwhitney.com.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This news release includes non-GAAP financial measures to describe Hancock Whitney’s performance. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered alternatives to GAAP-basis financial statements and other bank holding companies may define or calculate these non-GAAP measures or similar measures differently. The reconciliations of those measures to GAAP measures are provided either in the financial tables or in Appendix A thereto.

Consistent with the provisions of subpart 229.1400 of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation S-K, "Disclosures by Bank and Savings and Loan Registrants," the company presents net interest income, net interest margin and efficiency ratios on a fully taxable equivalent ("TE") basis. The TE basis adjusts for the tax-favored status of net interest income from certain loans and investments using the statutory federal tax rate to increase tax-exempt interest income to a taxable equivalent basis. The company believes this measure to be the preferred industry measurement of net interest income and it enhances comparability of net interest income arising from taxable and tax-exempt sources.

The company presents certain additional non-GAAP financial measures to assist the reader with a better understanding of the company’s performance period over period, as well as to provide investors with assistance in understanding the success management has experienced in executing its strategic initiatives. These non-GAAP measures may reference the concept "operating." The company uses the term "operating" to describe a financial measure that excludes income or expense considered to be nonoperating in nature. Items identified as nonoperating are those that, when excluded from a reported financial measure, provide management or the reader with a measure that may be more indicative of forward-looking trends in the company’s business.

Important Cautionary Statement about Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements that we may make include statements regarding our expectations of our performance and financial condition, balance sheet and revenue growth, the provision for credit losses, loan growth expectations, management’s predictions about charge-offs for loans, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and our operations, the adequacy of our enterprise risk management framework, the ongoing impact of future business combinations on our performance and financial condition, including our ability to successfully integrate the businesses, success of revenue-generating and cost reduction initiatives, the effectiveness of derivative financial instruments and hedging activities to manage risks, projected tax rates, increased cybersecurity risks, including potential business disruptions or financial losses, the adequacy of our internal controls over financial reporting, the financial impact of regulatory requirements and tax reform legislation, the impact of the change in the referenced rate reform, deposit trends, credit quality trends, the impact of natural or man-made disasters, the impact of PPP loans and forgiveness on our results, changes in interest rates, inflation, net interest margin trends, future expense levels, future profitability, improvements in expense to revenue (efficiency) ratio, purchase accounting impacts, accretion levels and expected returns.

Given the many unknowns and risks being heavily weighted to the downside, our forward-looking statements are subject to the risk that conditions will be substantially different than we are currently expecting. If efforts to contain and inoculate our population against COVID-19 and other variants thereof are unsuccessful and restrictions on movement are re-imposed, the economic impact could continue to be substantial. The COVID-19 outbreak and its consequences, including responsive measures to manage it, have had and are likely to continue to have an adverse effect, possibly materially, on our business and financial performance by adversely affecting, possibly materially, the demand and profitability of our products and services, the valuation of assets.

In addition, any statement that does not describe historical or current facts is a forward-looking statement. These statements often include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "intends," "plans," "forecast," "goals," "targets," "initiatives," "focus," "potentially," "probably," "projects," "outlook," or similar expressions or future conditional verbs such as "may," "will," "should," "would," and "could." Forward-looking statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of management and on information currently available to management. Our statements speak as of the date hereof, and we do not assume any obligation to update these statements or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those contained in such statements in light of new information or future events. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Any forward-looking statement made in this release is subject to the safe harbor protections set forth in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on such statements. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Part I, "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and in other periodic reports that we file with the SEC.

HANCOCK WHITNEY CORPORATION

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

(Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

Twelve Months Ended

(dollars and common share data in thousands, except per share amounts)

12/31/2021

9/30/2021

12/31/2020

12/31/2021

12/31/2020

NET INCOME

Net interest income

$

229,296

$

234,709

$

238,286

$

933,235

$

942,523

Net interest income (TE) (a)

231,931

237,477

241,401

944,414

955,523

Provision for credit losses

(28,399

)

(26,955

)

24,214

(77,494

)

602,904

Noninterest income

89,612

93,361

82,350

364,334

324,428

Noninterest expense

182,462

194,703

193,144

807,007

788,792

Income tax expense (benefit)

27,102

30,740

(297

)

104,841

(79,571

)

Net income (loss)

$

137,743

$

129,582

$

103,575

$

463,215

$

(45,174

)

For informational purposes - included above, pre-tax

Nonoperating item included in noninterest income:

Gain on hurricane-related insurance settlement

$

3,600

$

$

$

3,600

$

Gain on sale of Hancock Horizon Funds

4,576

4,576

Gain on sale of Mastercard Class B common stock

2,800

Nonoperating items included in noninterest expense:

Efficiency initiatives

(649

)

(1,867

)

38,296

Hurricane related expenses

(680

)

5,092

4,412

Loss on redemption of subordinated notes

4,165

Provision for credit loss associated with energy loan sale

160,101

PERIOD-END BALANCE SHEET DATA

Loans

$

21,134,282

$

20,886,015

$

21,789,931

$

21,134,282

$

21,789,931

Securities

8,552,449

8,308,622

7,356,497

8,552,449

7,356,497

Earning assets

33,610,435

32,348,036

30,616,277

33,610,435

30,616,277

Total assets

36,531,205

35,318,308

33,638,602

36,531,205

33,638,602

Noninterest-bearing deposits

14,392,808

13,653,376

12,199,750

14,392,808

12,199,750

Total deposits

30,465,897

29,208,157

27,697,877

30,465,897

27,697,877

Common stockholders' equity

3,670,352

3,629,766

3,439,025

3,670,352

3,439,025

AVERAGE BALANCE SHEET DATA

Loans

$

20,770,130

$

20,941,173

$

22,065,672

$

21,207,942

$

22,166,523

Securities (b)

8,378,258

8,368,824

6,921,099

8,105,830

6,398,749

Earning assets

32,913,659

32,097,381

29,875,531

32,060,863

29,235,313

Total assets

35,829,027

35,207,960

33,067,462

35,075,392

32,390,967

Noninterest-bearing deposits

14,126,335

13,535,961

11,759,755

13,323,978

10,779,570

Total deposits

29,750,665

29,237,306

27,040,447

29,093,709

26,212,317

Common stockholders' equity

3,642,003

3,606,087

3,406,646

3,545,255

3,433,099

COMMON SHARE DATA

Earnings (loss) per share - diluted

$

1.55

$

1.46

$

1.17

$

5.22

$

(0.54

)

Cash dividends per share

0.27

0.27

0.27

1.08

1.08

Book value per share (period-end)

42.31

41.81

39.65

42.31

39.65

Tangible book value per share (period-end)

31.64

31.10

28.79

31.64

28.79

Weighted average number of shares - diluted

87,132

87,006

86,657

87,027

86,533

Period-end number of shares

86,749

86,823

86,728

86,749

86,728

Market data

High sales price

$

53.61

$

48.19

$

34.89

$

53.61

$

44.24

Low sales price

45.06

39.07

18.59

32.52

14.32

Period-end closing price

50.02

47.12

34.02

50.02

34.02

Trading volume

23,889

22,482

27,564

100,904

158,267

PERFORMANCE RATIOS

Return on average assets

1.53

%

1.46

%

1.25

%

1.32

%

(0.14

)%

Return on average common equity

15.00

%

14.26

%

12.10

%

13.07

%

(1.32

)%

Return on average tangible common equity

20.13

%

19.22

%

16.74

%

17.74

%

(1.82

)%

Tangible common equity ratio (c)

7.71

%

7.85

%

7.64

%

7.71

%

7.64

%

Net interest margin (TE)

2.80

%

2.94

%

3.22

%

2.95

%

3.27

%

Noninterest income as a percent of total revenue (TE)

27.87

%

28.22

%

25.44

%

27.84

%

25.35

%

Efficiency ratio (d)

56.57

%

57.44

%

58.23

%

57.29

%

60.07

%

Average loan/deposit ratio

69.81

%

71.62

%

81.60

%

72.90

%

84.57

%

Allowance for loan losses as a percentage of period-end loans

1.62

%

1.78

%

2.07

%

1.62

%

2.07

%

Allowance for credit losses as a percent of period-end loans (e)

1.76

%

1.92

%

2.20

%

1.76

%

2.20

%

Annualized net charge-offs to average loans

0.01

%

0.03

%

0.44

%

0.15

%

1.78

%

Allowance for loan losses to nonperforming loans + accruing loans 90 days past due

527.59

%

506.17

%

305.20

%

527.59

%

305.20

%

FTE headcount

3,486