Charles Schwab Corp. executives said its cash-sorting problems, with clients moving money from the bank into higher-yielding products, are beginning to abate despite persistently elevated interest rates.
(Bloomberg) — Charles Schwab Corp. executives said its cash-sorting problems, with clients moving money from the bank into higher-yielding products, are beginning to abate despite persistently elevated interest rates.
“Cash realignment activity decelerated further during the quarter — even with the brief uptick in August and an increase in long-term interest rates,” Chief Financial Officer Peter Crawford said in a Monday statement as the firm reported its third-quarter results.
The Westlake, Texas firm said deposits fell 28% to $284.4 billion in the third quarter from the year prior, beating the $268.8 billion average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Schwab shares rose 3.7% to $53.22 at 10:05 a.m. in New York.
The firm’s net interest revenue sank 24% to $2.2 billion from the year prior as clients moved cash into higher-yielding products. Schwab reported $46 billion in core net new assets for the quarter, and $27 billion in September — which was a decline of 32% from a year earlier. Adjusted earnings per share were 77 cents, a slight beat on analysts’ estimates of 74 cents.
Net revenues fell 16% to $4.6 billion from a year prior, slightly missing analysts’ expectations. Full-year 2023 revenue is expected to decline 8% to 9% versus the prior year, the firm said on a slide during its earnings presentation. Still, executives told analysts that Schwab stands to gain from elevated rates due to its multiple variable-rate products.
The Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes over the past year-and-a-half to combat inflation have pressured Schwab’s banking arm, a pivotal source of revenue. Higher rates encouraged some clients to move money from the bank to other investment products, including money-market funds, in a process known as “cash sorting.”
Company executives have previously said that the worst of that deposit move is over and they anticipate growth again by the end of this year.
The stock tumbled about 38% year-to-date after the bank was hit by some of the turmoil that consumed mid-size banks this spring. The firm issued roughly $2.4 billion of senior notes in late August, “further bolstering our diversified liquidity profile,” Crawford said Monday.
He said the firm will likely issue more debt “to build up extra liquidity” ahead of some debt maturities Schwab is expecting early next year.
The firm has also identified opportunities for increased efficiency, including “harnessing the benefits of increased automation,” Chief Executive Officer Walt Bettinger said in the statement. “Once fully implemented, we expect these actions to deliver at least $1 billion of incremental annual expense savings.”
The brokerage continues to integrate with TD Ameritrade, and unveiled Monday a revamped trading platform built in part on TD Ameritrade’s systems.
“It’s a super-charged, holistic retail trading experience that surpasses its predecessors and makes Schwab the clear destination for retail trading,” James Kostulias, managing director and head of trading services at Schwab said in a statement. “Trading is a huge focus for us at Schwab and represents a critical part of our overall business as we go forward.”
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