First Horizon National Corporation (NYSE:FHN) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Apr 16, 2019 • 09:30 am ET
Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the First Horizon National Corp First Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in a listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please also note, today's event is being recorded.
And at this time, I would like to turn the conference call over to Mr. Aarti Bowman, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.
Thank you, Jamie. Please note that the earnings release, financial supplement and slide presentation we'll use in this call are posted on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.firsthorizon.com.
In this call, we will mention forward-looking and non-GAAP information. Actual results may differ from the forward-looking information for a number of reasons outlined in our earnings materials and our most recent annual and quarterly reports. Our forward-looking statements reflect our views today and we are not obligated to update them. The non-GAAP information is identified as such in our earnings materials and in the slide presentation for this call and is reconciled to GAAP information in those materials.
Also, please remember that this webcast on our website is the only authorized record of this call. This morning's speakers include our CEO, Bryan Jordan; and our CFO, BJ Losch. Additionally, our Chief Credit Officer, Susan Springfield will be available with Bryan and BJ for questions. I'll now turn it over to Bryan.
D. Bryan Jordan
Thank you, Aarti. Good morning to everyone, and thank you for joining the call. I'm pleased with the start to 2019 and remain optimistic about the full year prospects. I'm also confident that our team is controlling those things that we can control.
In the first quarter, our balance sheet showed real momentum with 7% loan growth and over 10% customer deposit growth on a linked-quarter annualized basis. We achieved positive operating leverage and took action to position us better for ongoing improvement. Credit quality remained good and we return capital to our shareholders, taking advantage of attractive share prices to repurchase stock. We increased our common dividend by 17% in a quarter.
As it looks now today, this morning, this way, interest rates are likely to be somewhat more challenging than we might have thought three months ago while we recognized there's probably likely going to be further volatility. Given that, we do think our margin should be reasonably stable from where they are here over the remainder of the year. We can't control interest rates, but as I said earlier, we can and are controlling those things that we can.
We remain focused on achieving our strategic priorities laid out at our November Investor Day. We are making good progress and profitably growing our presence in key markets and maintaining strength in our core Tennessee franchise. Our markets are providing better than average growth opportunities. We are seeing solid loan demand across our markets, particularly in our specialty lending areas. Deposit growth is excellent, helping improve our funding mix. We've been able to hire experienced bankers in new markets, who are adding to our customer base and profitably building