Magazine article American Banker

Barnett Revenues Up Again; Hibernia's Profits Rose 64%

Magazine article American Banker

Barnett Revenues Up Again; Hibernia's Profits Rose 64%

Article excerpt

Good loan growth, improved asset quality and lower expenses helped Barnett Banks Inc. boost its third quarter net income 11% over the year-earlier period, to $123.4 million.

Barnett's per-share income of $1.18 was right in line with Wall Street consensus estimates.

"It was a solid quarter, but not a blow, off-the-doors kind of quarter," said analyst Nancy Bush, with Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. in New York.

Meanwhile, Hibernia Corp., New Orleans, said it earned $23.2 million, up 64% from $14.1 million in the year-earlier quarter, largely because of improved asset quality and loan growth. Hibernia's 24 cents a share was one cent above consensus estimates.

Barnett's quartet was notable in that revenues were up for a second consecutive, period -- to $557.9 million from $553.7 million in the second quarter. Prior to this year's second quarter, Jacksonville-based Barnett had suffered five consecutive quarterly declines in revenue.

"It reflects the fact that Barnett's growth in earnings is back to normal," said Benjamin C. Bishop Jr., with Allen C. Ewing & Co. in Jacksonville.

On a year-to-year comparison. Barnett's net interest income was flat ($420 million compared to $422 million in the year-ago quarter) and noninterest income was actually down, by 9% during the period to $138 million.

The problem was the net interest margin, which slipped 5 basis points from the second quarter to 4.85% due to higher deposit costs and loan yields under pressure. …

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