Zions Bancorp. in Salt Lake City posted stronger third-quarter profits despite recording additional expenses from Hurricane Harvey.

The $65.6 billion-asset company said Monday that it had earned $152 million, up almost 30% from a year earlier.

Harris Simmons, chairman and CEO of Zions, said in a press release that the company had moderate loan growth and continued improving its credit quality. The company is also on track to meet the cost savings goals management had outlined for 2017, he said.

Harris H. Simmons, CEO of Zions Bancorp.
Storm aftermath
“The quarterly results were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which led us to provide financial relief to affected employees in Texas, and to set aside additional reserves for any credit-related impact from the storm," Harris Simmons, chairman and CEO of Zions, said in discussing the third quarter.

“The quarterly results were impacted by Hurricane Harvey, which led us to provide financial relief to affected employees in Texas, and to set aside additional reserves for any credit-related impact from the storm," Simmons said. "We are pleased with the quarterly earnings result, and look forward to continued progress in simplifying our business, meeting our customers' needs and improving our profitability in the year ahead."

Zions is aiming to keep noninterest expense growth to 2% to 3% for the year and to reach an efficiency ratio in the low 60% range. For the third quarter, its efficiency ratio stood at 62.3%. Noninterest costs rose more than 2% to $413 million, which included $6 million for expenses related to property damage and community and employee support from Harvey. Zions also said it has made more than 300 interest-free loans totaling $5 million to employees in the affected areas.

Net interest income totaled $522 million, up more than 11% from a year earlier because of an increase in interest on securities. The net interest margin rose 9 basis points to 3.45%.

Loans held for investment, net of allowance, totaled $43.6 billion, up 4% from a year earlier. The commercial portfolio increased more than 4% , and consumer loans rose 11% from a year earlier, while commercial real estate credits declined almost 3%. Provision for credit losses fell almost 94% to $1 million.

Noninterest income fell roughly 4% to $139 million as customer-related fees declined.

Jackie Stewart

Jackie Stewart covers community banks and mergers and acquisitions for American Banker.