Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 17, 2020 • 11:00 am ET

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Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Executive
David J. Turner

be challenging. However, we remain committed to achieving full year adjusted positive operating leverage. While our hedging strategy helps mitigate the risk from lower rates, full year growth and net interest income will be difficult. We have good momentum in growing non-interest revenue, which we expect to continue. So while total revenue growth may be modest, we will continue to lean into the expenses and the opportunities identified through simplifying growth, all the while continuing to make prudent investments to drive revenue growth.

We'll again spend approximately $625 million on technology in 2020. We expect to open approximately 20 new branches and we will continue to hire talented bankers across our businesses. With respect to the effective tax rate, we expect the full year 2020 range to be 20% to 22%.

So let's shift to asset quality. Overall credit results remained in line with our risk expectations during the quarter. We saw improvement in several categories while experiencing some normalization in others. Net charge offs were 46 basis points for the quarter and 43 basis points for the year, in line with our expected range of 40 to 50 basis points for 2019.

Provision equaled net charge-offs, resulting in an allowance equal to 1.05% of total loans and 171% of total non-accrual loans. Nonperforming loans increased 10%, primarily attributable to single credit within the waste management industry, which we expect will be resolved over the next several quarters. Delinquencies and total debt restructured loans remain stable quarter-over-quarter while business services criticized loans decreased 3%. For 2020, we expect full year net charge-offs between 45 and 55 basis points.

Let me comment briefly on CECL. We continue to finalize our day one impact assumptions and expect the impact to be in the $500 million to $530 million range. So let's take a look at capital and liquidity. During the quarter, the company repurchased 7.8 million shares of common stock for $132 million and declared $149 million in common dividends. Our common equity Tier 1 ratio was estimated at 9.6%, in line with our target level of 9.5%. The low deposit ratio at the end of the fourth quarter was 85%.

The next slide reflects 2019 performance against our targets, and we've also provided you with a summary of full year 2020 expectations. Wrapping things up, in light of the challenging and changing economic backdrop, we are pleased with our fourth quarter and full year financial results. We have a solid strategic plan designed to deliver consistent and sustainable performance throughout any economic cycle.

With that, we're happy to take your questions but do ask that each caller ask only one question to allow for more callers. We will open the line for your questions.