SAN FRANCISCO - Top executives at two big western thrifts and Hawaii's biggest bank gave upbeat assessments of their companies' prospects at a Montgomery Securities investment conference here last week.
Richard J. Dahl, president of $12.6 billion-asset Bancorp Hawaii, said his company to benefit from improvements in its asset mix and growth in its trust and mortgage businesses.
Kerry Killinger, chairman and chief executive of Seattle-based Washington Mutual Inc., said his company has a new five-year plan to boost return on assets above 1.2% and return on equity above 18%. At yearend 1994, these important measures of financial performance stood at 1.02% and 14.24%.
Charles R. Rinehart, chairman and chief executive of Irwindale, Calif.- based H.F. Ahmanson and Co., said the company expects big efficiency gains from new technologies and a consolidation of back-office operations.
For Bancorp Hawaii, economic growth will be an important factor in increasing earnings. Mr. Dahl said his company now expects annual growth in the range of 1% in 1995 and 2% in 1996, up from the less than 0.5% growth rate of the last four years. Pacing the growth is an uptick in construction, tourism, and nondefense government spending.
"Nineteen ninety-five is turning out, we believe, to be a low point for the construction industry," Mr. Dahl said. A rebound is expected next year.
An increased focus on trust and investment management is expected to grow fees from these services by 12.8% annually through the end of the decade. In 1995, the bank expects to make 12% of all mortgage originations in Hawaii, compared with 7% in 1994.
Bancorp Hawaii also aims to make its asset mix more profitable. Assets now are split nearly equally between consumer loans, commercial loans, and investment securities. Its goal is to reduce the investment securities' share to a fifth, and to have 40% each in commercial and consumer loans.
Mr. Killinger said that $20.3 billion-asset Washington Mutual's fortunes will be driven by careful management of credit quality and a reduction in interest rate risk. The company also intends to reduce its efficiency ratio to below 50% from 56.6% at the end of 1994.
Washington Mutual expects continued growth in consumer banking and torrid growth in its new small business lending unit.
"My guess is that within two to three years we will have a multibillion operation in that area," he said.
Mr. Rinehart said that $54 billion-asset H.F. Ahmanson, the country's biggest thrift, will get a "big jump in efficiency" from consolidating 87 loan centers into two sites by March of 1997.
Also helping is a "fully automated loan servicing" system that was adopted on Sept. 1. By March, Ahmanson expects to transmit all mortgage information electronically to processing sites.
H.F. Ahmanson also is diversifying into consumer lending. The company booked $23 million of consumer loans in August, Mr. Rinehart said.