Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. (NYSE:CFR) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Jan 30, 2020 • 11:00 am ET
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Frost Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Earnings Conference Call.
[Operator Instructions] Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. [Operator Instructions]
I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, A.B. Mendez, Senior Vice President and Director of Investor Relations.
Thanks, Shauntel. This morning's conference call will be led by Phil Green, Chairman and CEO and Jerry Salinas, Group Executive Vice President and CFO.
Before I turn the call over to Phil and Jerry, I need to take a moment to address the Safe Harbor provisions. Some of the remarks made today will constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 as amended.
We intend such statements to be covered by the Safe Harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 as amended. Please see the last page of text in this morning's earnings release for additional information about the risk factors associated with these forward-looking statements.
If needed, a copy of the release is available on our website or by calling Investor Relations department at 210-220-5234.
At this time, I'll turn the call over to Phil.
Phillip D. Green
Thanks, A.B. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us today, I'll review the fourth quarter and full-year results for Cullen/Frost and our CFO, Jerry Salinas, will also provide additional comments. And then we're going to open it up to your questions.
In the fourth quarter, Cullen/Frost earned $101.7 million or $1.60 per share, compared with earnings of $117.2 million and $1.82 a share reported in the same quarter a year ago. For the full year, Cullen/Frost earned $435.5 million or $6.84 a share compared with earnings of $446.9 million or $6.90 a share reported in 2018.
The lower interest rate environment impacted our results, as you would expect. However, our team continues to execute our strategy of pursuing consistent above-average organic growth across our enterprise and we are investing for the long term, while maintaining our quality standards.
Our return on average assets was 1.21% in the fourth quarter compared to 1.48% in the fourth quarter of last year. Average deposits in the fourth quarter of $27.2 billion were up 2.6% compared to the fourth quarter of last year, while average loans were up 5.4%. Our provision for loan losses was $8.4 million in the fourth quarter compared to $8 million in the third quarter of this year and $3.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Net charge-offs for the fourth quarter were $12.7 million compared with $6.4 million in the third quarter and $9.2 million in the fourth quarter of last year. Fourth quarter annualized net charge-offs were 34 basis points of average loans. Non-performing assets were $109.5 million at the end of the fourth quarter compared with $105 million in the third quarter and $74.9 million in the fourth quarter of last year.
Overall delinquencies for accruing loan at