Citigroup, Wells Fargo profits decline as margins narrow

Business Saturday 16/July/2016 15:09 PM
By: Times News Service
Citigroup, Wells Fargo profits decline as margins narrow

New York: Citigroup and Wells Fargo are feeling the pinch.
The lenders on Friday reported second-quarter profit dropped from a year earlier as persistently low interest rates continued to squeeze lending margins. Citigroup reduced its forecast for net interest margin, the difference between what a bank charges for loans and pays depositors, while Wells Fargo said the UK’s vote to leave the European Union will probably keep interest rates low for the immediate future.
"It looks like there’s a lid on US yields for some period of time,” Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
Citigroup’s second-quarter net income dropped 17 per cent to $4 billion, or $1.24 a share, from a year earlier as revenue excluding accounting adjustments fell 8 per cent to $17.5 billion, the company said on Friday in a statement. Net interest margin fell 6 basis points to 2.86 per cent from the first quarter, and the company lowered its forecast for the second half of 2016 to 2.90 per cent from 2.95 per cent.
The reduction reflects "somewhat lower loan yields as well as the absence of a previously assumed rate increase in the US,” Citigroup CFO John Gerspach said on a call with analysts.
Wells Fargo, the largest US home lender, said net income slid 2.8 per cent to $5.6 billion, or $1.01 a share, from a year earlier. Mortgage banking revenue declined 17 per cent to $1.41 billion, while the bank’s net interest margin decreased 4 basis points to 2.86 per cent, falling short of some analysts’ estimates.
Revenue growth
"Revenue growth has not been strong enough to offset growth in rising credit costs,” said Shannon Stemm, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis. "Because of that, Wells Fargo, which historically has been a very consistent earnings-per-share grower, has seen earnings per share contract.”
US Bancorp and PNC Financial Services Group, the nation’s largest regional banks, also posted second-quarter results on Friday. Minneapolis-based US Bancorp said profit climbed 2.6 per cent to a record $1.52 billion, or 83 cents a share, from a year earlier. PNC, based in Pittsburgh, reported net income dropped 5.3 per cent to $989 million, or $1.82 a share. Both lenders’ net interest margin narrowed in the quarter.
Share price
Wells Fargo shares fell 2.5 per cent in New York trading to $47.71, the worst performer in the 24-company KBW Bank Index. Citigroup slid 0.3 per cent and PNC dropped one per cent, while US Bancorp advanced 1.6 per cent.
Even with the tightened margins, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo was able to increase revenue from interest-bearing assets by 4 per cent in the quarter and also expects to do so on a full-year basis, Shrewsberry said on a call with analysts.
"It’s still our plan, and our goal, and what we’re telling you is that we intend to grow net interest income, even if there are no rate moves,” Shrewsberry said.
Wells Fargo’s provisions for credit losses more than tripled to $1.07 billion from a year earlier, tied largely to the bank’s oil and gas portfolio, while net write-offs rose about 42 per cent to $924 million, the bank said.
"It was the energy portfolio which surprised to the downside,” Chris Wheeler, an analyst at Atlantic Equities, wrote in a note to clients. "The oil and gas portfolio remains under significant pressure.”