Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., combined asset growth and paper gains into a strong boost to the bottom line.

Fourth-quarter profits more than doubled year over year to $666 million thanks to accounting adjustments from the tax law as well as an expanded retail loan book.

However, excluding one-time items, earnings per share were 71 cents, or 9 cents short of the consensus of analysts' estimates compiled by FactSet Research systems.

The $152.3 billion-asset company reported a $317 million benefit tied to the revaluation of its deferred tax liability after the signing of the tax law last month.

Citizens Bank signage.
Consumer highlight
Citizens Financial's retail lending portfolio, which includes mortgages, student loans and unsecured personal credits, rose 5% from a year earlier to 58.6 billion. Bloomberg News

Net interest income climbed 10% to $1.1 billion. The net interest margin expanded 18 basis points to 3.08%. Total loans increased 3% to $110 billion, lifted by 5% growth (to $58.6 billion) in the company’s retail lending portfolio, which includes mortgages, student loans and unsecured personal credits.

Noninterest income rose 7% to $404 million as double-digit increases in card, trust and investment fees offset lower revenue from mortgage banking.

Noninterest expenses were $898 million, up 6%, mostly on higher compensation costs. Citizens' efficiency ratio, excluding the one-time items, was 60.5%, improved from 62.1% a year earlier.

The company slashed its provision for credit costs 19% to $83 million.

“We are pleased to report another quarter of strong results to cap what has been an exceptional year for Citizens,” Chairman and Chief Executive Bruce Van Saun, said in a press release Friday announcing the results, noting that the company earned a 10.4% return on tangible common equity.

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