First Horizon National Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled despite lower revenue as the bank holding company sharply cut its credit costs and gained over a year-earlier quarter hindered by a large payout for preferred dividends.
The parent of First Tennessee Bank, like other regional banks, has posted improving results of late as credit measures strengthen and lower reserves are needed for troubled loans.
In recent years, the company has stepped up its focus on retail banking and capital markets, while largely exiting the mortgage business.
"We're ready to meet the continuing challenges of a slow economic recovery and a low interest rate environment, Chief Executive Bryan Jordan said Friday.
First Horizon reported a profit of $34.9 million, a jump from $14.5 million a year earlier. On a per-share basis, which reflects the bank's payment of $63.2 million in preferred stock dividends a year earlier, First Horizon reported per-share earnings of 13 cents versus a per-share loss of 20 cents a year ago.
Total revenue declined 7.1% to $360.1 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 14 cents a share on $362 million in revenue.
Loan-loss provisions dropped to $10 million from $45 million a year earlier and $32 million in the third quarter.
Net charge-offs, or loans lenders don't think are collectible, fell to 1.84% of average loans, down from 2.36% a year earlier and 2.65% last quarter. Nonperforming assets, or those near default, declined to 2.57%, from 4.48% and 3.02%, respectively.