U.S. Bancorp Profits Fall as Bank Boosts Credit Provisions

U.S. Bancorp said profit fell in the third quarter as the biggest US regional lender increased its provisions for credit losses.

(Bloomberg) — U.S. Bancorp said profit fell in the third quarter as the biggest US regional lender increased its provisions for credit losses.

Adjusted earnings came in at $1.05 a share, above the average analyst estimate but below the $1.18 posted in the same period last year, according to a statement from the Minneapolis-based bank Wednesday. Provisions for credit losses increased 42% from a year earlier. 

“Credit-quality trends were in line with expectations and we continued to add to our reserve level, reflecting prudent assessment of the evolving credit environment,” Chief Executive Officer Andy Cecere said in the statement.

The bank reported results a day after it said it won approval from the Federal Reserve to retain its designation as a so-called Category III bank on promises to shrink its balance sheet and reduce its risk profile, freeing it from more stringent regulations.

The lender, which had $668 billion in assets as of Sept. 30, spent months preparing to comply with the rules associated with becoming a Category II bank, a designation given to banks with more than $700 billion in assets. 

The shares, which jumped 7% after Tuesday’s announcement, were down about 2.4% to $34.06 as of 10:35 a.m. in New York.

A Category II designation would have brought stricter liquidity requirements, an annual rather than biennial company-run stress test, and a more complex methodology for determining its capital requirements.

U.S. Bancorp agreed to submit to the stricter regulatory regime as part of its deal for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s Union Bank. It had previously said it would be able to comply with the more stringent rules by the end of 2024, and has been stockpiling capital in anticipation of that transition and a pending regulatory overhaul. That effort brought the CET1 ratio — a key metric for regulators that compares a bank’s capital to its assets — up 60 basis points in the quarter to 9.7%, a level not seen since before the MUFG deal closed.

During a conference call with analysts, executives emphasized that the bank would still be free to boost its balance sheet.

“If we elect to grow or want to grow — and we do want to grow in a capital-efficient manner — we will do so,” Chief Financial Officer John Stern said Wednesday on the conference call, his first as CFO. “We’re going to be emphasizing higher-return loans and deemphasizing lower-return type of assets.”

Citizens Financial Group, which also reported results on Wednesday, said net interest income fell 9% in the third quarter compared to the year prior, amid lower interest-earning assets.

Citizens shares were down 3.6% to $26.12 at 10:40 a.m. in New York.

The bank also outlined progress running off its non-core portfolio, after saying in September it planned to reduce it by about $9.2 billion from $13.7 billion by the end of 2025. In the third quarter, Citizens ran down $1.4 billion toward that goal, it said.

(Updates with share prices, capital starting in the sixth paragraph.)

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