PNC has reported strong accounting earnings for Q3-09 and lower charge-offs as well as lower 90 day lates. The press and the blogs were all over it as a news search in Google reveals:
The sell side jumps on the bandwagon as well... Wells Fargo Upgrades PNC Financial Services Group (PNC) to Outperform; Raises ... StreetInsider.com (subscription)
As a result their share jumped more than 10%.
But, and there is always a but, if we look at the bigger picture things really don't look so rosy...
As a matter of fact, if anyone really bothered to look at the numbers offered (not even the real 10Q numbers, but the numbers offered in the conference call), one would realize that there was no real improvement in asset quality, despite lower charge-offs. As a matter of fact, asset quality AND loan quality got worse, not better - both quarter over quarter and year over year!!! This was the crux of the share price collapse in PNC to begin with. What the hell is wrong with those charged with analyzing these companies?
The BoomBustBlog PNC Financial Results Review - 3Q09
PNC Financial Services (PNC) reported strong earnings growth in 3Q2009 primarily off lower loan provisioning for loan losses and lower non-interest expenses. Lower provision for losses despite a substantial rise in non-performing assets, and contracting interest earning assets (which declined 3.1% q-o-q in 3Q2009- at the sharpest rate among all leading banks which have reported their 3Q2009 earnings till date) raise concerns over sustainability of continuing growth in returns to shareholders in the near-to-medium term.
PNC reported 3Q2009 net profit per diluted share of $1.0 compared with net profit per diluted share of $0.14 per share in 2Q09, well ahead of both our and consensus estimates.From an operational standpoint, they outperformed our estimates - kudos to management!
PNC's total net revenues increased 1.5% q-o-q to around $4,048 million in 3Q09 compared with $3,987 million in 2Q09. Non-interest income increased 1.2% q-o-q to $1,826 million in 3Q09 primarily due to growth in asset management fees (up 16.3% q-o-q to $242 million) and other income (up 5.7% q-o-q to $314 million) partially offset by reduction in mortgage fees which decreased 15.5% q-o-q to $207 million off lower loan refinancing volumes. In 3Q09, non-interest revenues accounted for 45.1% of the total net revenues against 45.3% and 39.5% in 2Q09 and 3Q08, respectively.
Net interest income increased 1.8% q-o-q to $2,222 million in 3Q09 compared with $2,182 million in 2Q09 off higher net interest margin (NIM) which increased 16bps q-o-q to 3.76% in 3Q09 compared with 3.60% in 2Q09. The growth in NIM was primarily due to interest rate on deposit which declined from 1.25% in 2Q09 to 1.04% at the end of 3Q09. This positive impact was offset by decline in average earning assets, down a significant 3.1% q-o-q to $243.2 billion in 3Q09 compared with $235.7 billion in 2Q09. The management forecasts a flat net interest income for 4Q09 (compared with 3Q09) due to marginal improvement in NIM off benefit from re-pricing of its high interest rates on deposits.
In 3Q-09 PNC's net charge-offs declined to $650 million (down 18.2% q-o-q) or 1.59% of average loans on an annualized basis compared with $795 million, or 1.89% of average loans in 2Q09. Nevertheless, nonperforming assets (NPAs) grew 19.1% q-o-q to $5.6 billion or 3.50% of total loans as of September 30, 2009 led by increase in nonperforming commercial loans (up 26.2% q-o-q) and residential real estate loans (up 40.4% q-o-q) in 3Q09.
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Non-interest expenses declined 10.5% q-o-q to $2,379 million in 3Q09 compared with $2,658 million in 2Q09 primarily due to lower acquisition and integration costs (non-recurring), reversal of $66 million of an indemnification charge related to Visa litigation (non-recurring), and FDIC assessment of $133 million in the 2Q09 (will probably recur over several quarters). PNC realized cost savings of around $200 million in 3Q09 off its acquisition of National City Corporation (NCC), in line with the Company's two years goal of reducing annualized non-interest expenses by $1.2 billion. Consequently, the Bank's efficiency ratio improved considerably by 790 basis points q-o-q to 58.8% in 3Q09 as compared to 66.7% and 68.4% in 2Q09 and 3Q08, respectively.
Net income available to common shareholders were $467 million in 3Q09 compared with meager $65 million in 2Q09.
Asset Quality - No real improvement seen despite lower charge-offs
PNC's credit losses shrunk in 3Q09, with gross charge-offs declining to $738 million (annualized charge-off rate of 1.8%) in 3Q09 from $881 million (annualized charge off rate of 2.1%) in 2Q09, while the provisions for loan losses totalled $914 million in 3Q09 (annualized rate of 2.3%) against $1,087 million (annualized rate of 2.6%) in 2Q09.
However, nonperforming loans increased significantly to $5,126 million (3.19% of total loans) at the end of 3Q09 from $4,156 million (2.52% of total loans) at the end of 2Q09 and remained comparatively high when compared with $841 million (1.12% of total loans) at the end of 3Q08. Total non-performing assets also increased to $5,644 million (3.51% of total loans) in 3Q09 compared with $4,656 million (2.82% of total loans) at the end of 2Q09. However, the 90 days past due loans declined to $875 million at the end of 3Q09 from $1,043 million at the end of 2Q09. The surge in tangible equity and contraction in 90 days past due loans led to moderate decline in Texas ratio to 50.0% in 3Q09 against 51.7% in 2Q09. This is, however, considerably higher compared to 19.9% in 3Q08.
Loans and Deposits - continuing to contract in 3Q2009
In 3Q09, PNC's total loan portfolio declined to $162.0 billion at the end of 3Q09 from $168.9 billion in 2Q09. The decline in loans was driven by 8.0% decrease in commercial, 3.6% decline in commercial real estate, and a relatively modest decline in consumer loans, owing to tough lending and credit environment. Further, the total deposits also declined to $183.8 billion in 3Q09 from $190.4 billion in 2Q09 primarily on the back of divestiture of its 61 branches (and $4.1 billion of deposits and $800 million of loans) in September 2009. Consequently, the loan-to-deposit ratio increased 73bps q-o-q to 87.4% at the end of 3Q09 compared with 86.6% in 2Q09.
Tier 1 capital
In 3Q09, tier 1 common ratio and tier 1 risk-based capital ratio improved 20bps and 30bps q-o-q to 5.5% and 10.8%, respectively, largely owing to the increase in retained earnings and decline in risk weighted assets.
At this point, our forensic research on PNC still stands sans the surprisingly positive EPS performance from the quarter. Asset quality and the potential for significant future loan losses still loom ahead. Subscribers can download the following analysis history. There is a free public option at the bottom. I would also like to note that I have re=opened the monthly retail subscription option and will start allowing analysts to interact (on a limited basis) with professional subscribers in the discussion and comment forums.
Disclaimer: short PNC