Huntington reports higher profit as it taps into FirstMerit deal

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Huntington Bancshares in Columbus, Ohio, reported higher quarterly earnings that reflected its ability to integrate FirstMerit.

The $100 billion-asset company said Wednesday that its first-quarter profit rose 21% from a year earlier to $208 million. Excluding costs tied to last year’s acquisition of FirstMerit, earnings per share met the average estimate of 21 cents compiled by FactSet Research Systems.

Huntington is “particularly pleased” it was able to retain FirstMerit accounts, Stephen Steinhour, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a press release. Deposits at March 31 rose 38% from a year earlier to $76 billion.

Huntington is “clearly outperforming” its projection of 10% runoff in FirstMerit deposits, Steinour said.

Other metrics received a lift from FirstMerit.

Revenue jumped 40% to nearly $1.1 billion and total loans rose 32% to $67 billion.

Huntington closed 110 branches during the first quarter, putting the company on track to reach the $255 million of projected merger-related expense cuts, Steinour said.

Credit quality remained solid. Nonperforming assets fell 15% to $458 million. Net chargeoffs totaled just 0.24% of average loans and were below the company’s long-term target range of 0.35% to 0.55% for the 12th quarter in a row.

“We had a good start to the year and are encouraged by the momentum we’re currently seeing,” Steinour said.

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