News Release · January 28, 2020

First Citizens BancShares Reports Earnings For Fourth Quarter 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. — First Citizens BancShares Inc. (BancShares) (Nasdaq: FCNCA) reported strong earnings for the year ended 2019, benefiting from balance sheet growth leading to strong net interest income, according to Frank B. Holding, Jr., Chairman of the Board. Key results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2019, are presented below:

For the quarter ended

4Q19

4Q18

4Q18

Net income (in millions)

$101.9

$89.5

$89.5

Net income per share

$9.55

$7.62

$7.62

Annualized return on average assets

1.05%

1.00%

1.00%

Annualized return on average equity

11.32%

10.17%

10.17%

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Net income for the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled $101.9 million, an increase of $12.4 million, or 13.9% compared to the same quarter in 2018. Net income per share increased $1.93, or 25.3%, to $9.55 in the fourth quarter of 2019, from $7.62 per share during the same quarter in 2018. Year-to-date net income was $457.4 million, an increase of $57.1 million, or 14.3% over 2018.
  • Return on average assets for the fourth quarter of 2019 was 1.05%, up 5 basis points from the same quarter in 2018. Return on average equity for the fourth quarter of 2019 was 11.32%, an improvement of 115 basis points over the same period of 2018.
  • BancShares reported total net interest income of $327.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of $6.2 million, or 1.9% compared to the same quarter in 2018. The taxable-equivalent net interest margin (NIM) was 3.62% for the fourth quarter of 2019, down 20 basis points from 3.82% during the same quarter in 2018. Year to date net interest income was $1.31 billion, an increase of $102.5 million or 8.5% over 2018. Year-to-date NIM was 3.77%, up 8 basis points from 2018.
  • Noninterest income totaled $104.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to $82.0 million for the same quarter of 2018, an increase of $22.4 million or 27.3%. Noninterest expense was $292.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to $275.4 million during the same quarter of 2018, an increase of $16.9 million or 6.1%.
  • Total loans grew to $28.88 billion, an increase of $3.36 billion, or 13.2% since December 31, 2018. Excluding loan growth from acquisitions of $2.00 billion during 2019, loans grew $1.36 billion or 5.3%. The net charge-off ratio was 0.14% for the fourth quarter of 2019, up from 0.11% for the same quarter in 2018.
  • Total deposits grew to $34.43 billion, an increase of $3.76 billion, or 12.3% since December 31, 2018. Excluding deposit growth from acquisitions of $2.27 billion during 2019, deposits grew $1.49 billion or 4.8%.
  • BancShares repurchased 254,510 shares of its Class A common stock during the fourth quarter of 2019 totaling approximately $125.0 million. At December 31, 2019, BancShares remained well capitalized with a total risk-based capital ratio of 12.1%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio and common equity Tier 1 ratio of 10.9%, and a leverage ratio of 8.8%.

RECENT MERGER ACTIVITY

On December 31, 2019, BancShares' bank subsidiary First Citizens Bank & Trust Company (First Citizens Bank) completed the merger of Franklin, North Carolina-based Entegra Financial Corp. and its Bank subsidiary, Entegra Bank (Entegra). Under the terms of the agreement, cash consideration of $30.18 for each share of common stock was paid to the shareholders of Entegra totaling approximately $222.8 million. First Citizens Bank acquired $1.68 billion in assets, $1.03 billion in loans and $1.33 billion in deposits. This impact includes approximately $110 million in loans and $180 million in deposits to be divested per regulatory requirements during 2020.

On September 24, 2019, First Citizens Bank entered into a definitive merger agreement for the acquisition of Duluth, Georgia-based Community Financial and its bank subsidiary, Gwinnett Community Bank. The agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Under the terms of the agreement, cash consideration of $2.3 million will be paid to the shareholders of Community Financial. The transaction is anticipated to close during the first quarter of 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. As of September 30, 2019, Community Financial reported $223 million in assets, $145 million in loans and $211 million in deposits.

NET INTEREST INCOME

Net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled $327.1 million, an increase of $6.2 million, or 1.9%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. The taxable-equivalent NIM was 3.62% during the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease of 20 basis points from 3.82% for the comparable quarter in the prior year. Net interest income growth was largely due to an increase in interest earned on loans of $20.3 million due primarily to loan volume, partially offset by a $13.4 million increase in interest expense on deposits. The primary drivers of the margin decline were a 25 basis point increase in deposit rates, largely in time deposits and money markets, and a 6 basis point decline in loan yields.

Net interest income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, totaled $1.31 billion, an increase of $102.5 million, or 8.5%, compared to the same period of 2018. The taxable-equivalent NIM was 3.77% for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, an increase of 8 basis points from 3.69% in 2018. The primary driver of the growth was an increase in interest income on loans, partially offset by higher interest expense on deposits. Interest and fees on loans grew $144.1 million due to a rise in average loan balances and a 19 basis point increase in the loan yield. This growth was partially offset by a $53.8 million increase in interest expense on deposits due to a 27 basis point increase in deposit rates, largely due to time deposits and money markets, coupled with interest-bearing deposit balance growth.

PROVISION FOR LOAN AND LEASE LOSSES

BancShares recorded net provision expense of $7.7 million and $31.4 million for the three and twelve month periods ended December 31, 2019, respectively, as compared to $11.6 million and $28.5 million, respectively, for the same periods in 2018. The fluctuations in provision expense are primarily due to differences in loan growth, portfolio composition and portfolio credit quality. The net charge-off ratio was 0.14% and 0.11%, respectively, for the three and twelve month periods ended December 31, 2019, compared to 0.11% for both the three and twelve month periods ended December 31, 2018.

NONINTEREST INCOME

Noninterest income for the fourth quarter of 2019 totaled $104.4 million, an increase of $22.4 million, or 27.3% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Noninterest income, excluding gains on extinguishment of debt, realized gains on available for sale securities sales and fair value adjustments on marketable equity securities, was $97.0 million for three months ended December 31, 2019, compared to $98.5 million for the same period in 2018. The decrease was primarily driven by a decrease in cardholder services income of $3.1 million, partially offset by an increase in mortgage income of $1.6 million.

Noninterest income for the twelve months of 2019 totaled $415.9 million, an increase of $15.7 million, or 3.9%, compared to 2018. Noninterest income, excluding gains on extinguishment of debt, realized gains on available for sale securities sales and fair value adjustments on marketable equity securities, totaled $388.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $380.8 million for the same period in 2018. This increase was driven primarily by a $4.7 million increase in mortgage income, coupled with a $3.6 million increase in cardholder services.

NONINTEREST EXPENSE

Noninterest expense totaled $292.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, a $16.9 million, or 6.1% increase compared to the same period in 2018. The increase was largely driven by a $11.4 million increase in personnel-related expenses primarily due to increased salaries and wages as a result of merit increases and personnel additions from acquisitions and a $5.1 million increase in merger-related expenses. Partially offsetting these increases were a $1.9 million decrease in collection and foreclosure-related expenses and a $1.7 million decrease in consulting expenses.

Noninterest expense totaled $1.10 billion for the twelve months of 2019, a $26.8 million, or 2.5% increase compared to 2018. The increase was largely driven by a $25.7 million increase in personnel-related expenses largely due to increased salaries and wages as a result of merit increases and increased headcount from acquisitions, a $9.4 million increase in equipment expenses and a $10.7 million increase in merger-related expenses due to recent acquisition activity. Partially offsetting these increases were a $8.2 million reduction in FDIC insurance expense as the large bank surcharge was eliminated in the fourth quarter of 2018, a $4.6 million decrease in collection and foreclosure-related expenses and a $4.1 million decline in other expenses primarily driven by reduced legal fees.

INCOME TAXES

Income tax expense totaled $29.7 million and $26.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2018, respectively, representing effective tax rates of 22.5% and 22.8% for the respective periods.

Income tax expense totaled $134.7 million and $103.3 million for the twelve months of 2019 and 2018, respectively, representing effective tax rates of 22.7% and 20.5% for the respective twelve month periods. The effective tax rate increase in 2019 was primarily due to the 2018 recognition of a tax benefit resulting from the Tax Act.

LOANS AND DEPOSITS

At December 31, 2019, loans totaled $28.88 billion, an increase of $3.36 billion since December 31, 2018. Of this growth, $2.00 billion was related to acquisitions, which included $1.03 billion from the acquisition of Entegra in the fourth quarter of 2019. Excluding acquired loans, total loans increased $1.36 billion since December 31, 2018, or by 5.3%.

At December 31, 2019, deposits totaled $34.43 billion, an increase of $3.76 billion since December 31, 2018. Of this growth, $2.27 billion was related to acquisitions, which included $1.33 billion from the acquisition of Entegra in the fourth quarter of 2019. Excluding acquired deposits, total deposits increased $1.49 billion since December 31, 2018, or by 4.8%.

ALLOWANCE FOR LOAN AND LEASE LOSSES

The allowance for loan and lease losses was $225.1 million at December 31, 2019, compared to $223.7 million at December 31, 2018. The allowance as a percentage of total loans was 0.78% at December 31, 2019, compared to 0.88% at December 31, 2018.

NONPERFORMING ASSETS

BancShares' nonperforming assets, including nonaccrual loans and other real estate owned, were $168.3 million, or 0.58% of total loans and other real estate owned at December 31, 2019, compared to $133.9 million or 0.52% at December 31, 2018.

SHARES REPURCHASED

During the fourth quarter of 2019, BancShares repurchased 254,510 shares of Class A common stock for $125.0 million at an average cost per share of $490.96. During the twelve months of 2019, BancShares repurchased a total of 998,910 shares of Class A common stock for $450.8 million at an average cost per share of $451.33. During the three months ended December 31, 2018, BancShares repurchased a total of 257,000 shares of Class A common stock for $107.2 million at an average cost per share of $417.27. During the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, BancShares repurchased a total of 382,000 shares of Class A common stock for $165.3 million at an average cost per share of $432.78. All Class A common stock repurchases completed in 2019 and 2018 were consummated under previously approved authorizations.

On October 29, 2019, the Board authorized share repurchases of up to 500,000 of BancShares' Class A common stock for the period November 1, 2019, through January 31, 2020. This authority will supersede all previously approved authorities. Of this authority, Bancshares has repurchased 108,410 shares as of December 31, 2019.

ABOUT FIRST CITIZENS BANCSHARES

BancShares is the financial holding company for Raleigh, North Carolina-headquartered First Citizens Bank. First Citizens Bank provides a broad range of financial services to individuals, businesses, professionals and the medical community through branch offices in 19 states, including digital banking, mobile banking, ATMs and telephone banking. As of December 31, 2019, BancShares had total assets of $39.82 billion.

For more information, visit First Citizens' website at firstcitizens.com. First Citizens Bank. Forever First®.

DISCLOSURES ABOUT FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

The discussions included in this Press Release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995, including Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933. For the purposes of these discussions, any statements that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Such statements are often characterized by the use of qualifying words such as "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "plans," "projects," or other statements concerning opinions or judgments of the Registrant and its management about future events. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the statements. The accuracy of such forward-looking statements could be affected by factors beyond the Registrant's control, including, but not limited to, the financial success or changing conditions or strategies of the Registrant's customers or vendors, fluctuations in interest rates, actions of government regulators, the availability of capital and personnel, the delay in closing (or failure to close) one or more of our previously announced acquisition transaction(s), the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of our previously announced acquisition transaction(s), or general competitive, economic, political, and market conditions. These forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this Press Release, and the Registrant undertakes no obligation to revise or update these statements following the date of this Press Release, except as may be required by law.

Download the First Citizens BancShares Fourth Quarter 2019 Financials (PDF).

Contact Information:

Barbara Thompson
919-716-2716
First Citizens Bank

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