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

Jan 17, 2020 • 11:00 am ET


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


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Good morning and welcome to the Regions Financial Corporation's quarterly earnings call. My name is Shelby and I will be your operator for today's call. [Operator Instructions]

I will now turn the call over to Dana Nolan to begin.

Dana Nolan

Thank you, Shelby. Welcome to Regions' fourth quarter 2019 earnings conference call. John Turner will provide highlights of our financial performance, and David Turner will take you through an overview of the quarter. Earnings-related documents, including forward-looking statements, are available under the Investor Relations section of our website. These disclosures cover our presentation materials, prepared comments, as well as the Q&A segment of today's call.

With that, I will now turn the call over to John.

John M. Turner

Thank you, Dana, and thank you all for joining our call day. Let me begin by saying that we're pleased with our fourth quarter and full-year results. This morning, we reported strong full-year earnings from continuing operations of $1.5 billion, resulting in a 10% year-over-year increase in diluted earnings per share.

This year, we also delivered the highest level of pre-tax pre-provision income in over a decade, while generating 4% positive operating leverage on a reported basis and 2% on an adjusted basis. Despite lower interest rates and significant market volatility, 2019 was a solid year, and I'm proud of all that we accomplished. We continue to make progress on our goal of generating consistent sustainable long-term performance through all phases the economic cycle.

Although market uncertainty continues, the economy is still growing. Our customers are optimistic about their businesses and consumer confidence remains healthy. We're also encouraged by the progress made on the trade front. However, we will continue to monitor geopolitical tensions and the uncertainties they introduce. As we begin the New Year, we have solid momentum and feel good about how we're positioned.

We have a comprehensive hedging strategy in place to protect net interest income, so we don't have to stretch for loan growth. Our core businesses continue to produce good results generating growth in consumer checking accounts and households, credit cards and wealth assets under management. We're very pleased with the performance of our priority markets and investments in our businesses continue to pay off. We have a robust credit risk management framework and, while asset quality continues to normalize, overall it remains pretty benign.

And finally, although we've made significant progress through Simplify and Grow, really one-third complete with our current list of identified initiatives, there are a lot of process improvements and a revenue generating opportunities left. We continue to leverage digital across our omni-channel platform to better meet customer needs and improve efficiency and effectiveness.

A few quick examples. Four-year checking account and credit card production increased 17% and 65% respectively. Loan applications increased 54%, and in mortgage approximately 60% of all applications are completed online. Mobile deposits increased 52% and now represent 13% of all deposits.

As we look forward, we're focused on the things we can't control, meet the needs of our customers with best-in-class service