Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 23, 2018 • 02:00 pm ET


Wintrust Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WTFC) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Welcome to the Wintrust Financial Corporation's Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2017 Earnings Conference Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time. (Operator Instructions)

Following the review of the results by Edward Wehmer, Chief Executive Officer and President; and David Dykstra, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, there will be a formal question-and-answer session.

During the course of today's call, Wintrust management may make statements that constitute projections, expectations, beliefs or similar forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from the results anticipated or projected in any such forward-looking statements. The company's forward-looking assumptions that could cause the actual results to differ materially from the information discussed during the call are detailed in the fourth quarter and full year 2017 earnings press release and in the company's most recent Form 10-K and any subsequent filings filed with the SEC. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Edward Wehmer. You may begin.

Edward Joseph Wehmer

Thank you very much. Welcome, everybody, to our fourth quarter earnings call. With me as always are Dave Dykstra; Dave Stoehr, our Chief Financial Officer; and Kate Boege, our General Counsel. We will conduct this call the same format as always. I will provide some general comments about the quarter and the full year. Dave Dykstra will then go into some detail on other income and other expense, then back to me for some summary comments and talks about the future then some time for questions. I was telling Dave the other day, I said I must have been a pretty good boy last year because Santa came through. I asked him for an interest rate increase and some tax reform, and I'm getting both. So I'm going to try to be a really good boy this year, too.

For the fourth quarter, reported net income was $68.8 million or $1.17 a share, an increase of 26% over last year. Like other companies, this was somewhat a noisy quarter due to the tax reform bill. We booked a $7.6 million benefit related to the patches of the bill, and that benefit was partially offset by additional short- and long-term comp accruals and increases in number of other discretionary expense categories.

The addition to the long-term comp accrual is really kind of a good thing when you think about it. We -- our long-term comp runs in three-year cycles, we have three outstanding at any point in time, and it's based upon the projections at any point in time. With the rate increase and with the tax decrease, those projections obviously looked -- made things look pretty good coming forward. So that kind of adjustment is a good thing for us. And we were fortunate to have our balance sheet positioned for the tax benefit, which offset this, and ended up with us having another record year for Wintrust.