Zions Bancorp missed earnings estimates after weak energy prices forced it to raise its loss reserves.
The $57 billion-asset company earned $73.2 million in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss of $59 million in the same period of 2013, when it recorded a large Volcker Rule-related charge on debt investments. Per-share earnings of 36 cents were 6 cents below the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.
Zions made $12 million loan-loss provision, after recording substantial negative provisions in recent quarters. The company added to its provision in part because "the inherent credit risk in our energy portfolio has increased due to lower oil prices, Chief Executive Harris Simmons said in a news release. Zions has $3.2 billion of energy-related loans, or 7.9% of its loan portfolio.
Zions' net interest income was flat, at $430 million, as a 3% increase in total loans, to $40.1 billion, offset a shrinking margin. Its net interest margin tightened by 8 basis points, to 3.25%.
Noninterest income was $129.4 million, compared to a $31 million loss a year ago on Volcker-related charges. Zions' income from dividends and equity investments was sharply higher, and service chargers were slightly higher.
Noninterest expense fell to $412.2 million, 17% lower than a year ago, when Zions had an $80 million charge for debt extinguishment. However, compensation costs rose 5%, to $238.7 million, in part from higher personnel costs for comprehensive capital analysis and review (CCAR) testing.