ZIONS BANCORPORATION REPORTS EARNINGS OF $0.39 PER DILUTED COMMON SHARE FOR FOURTH QUARTER 2007
Las Vegas, Nev.
January 24, 2008
Nevada State Bank’s parent company, Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION) (“Zions” or “the Company”) today reported fourth quarter net earnings applicable to common shareholders of $42.2 million, or $0.39 per diluted common share, compared to $142.7 million or $1.32 per diluted common share for the fourth quarter of 2006. The return on average common equity was 3.29% compared to 10.50% for the third quarter of 2007 and 12.08% for the fourth quarter of 2006.
Net earnings applicable to common shareholders for 2007 were $479.4 million or $4.42 per diluted share compared to $579.3 million or $5.36 per diluted share for 2006. The return on average common equity for 2007 was 9.57% compared to 12.89% for 2006.
Comparisons to 2006 include the impact of the Company's acquisition of The Stockmen's Bancorp, Inc., which became effective January 17, 2007.
Fourth Quarter 2007 Key Performance Highlights Compared to Third Quarter 2007
"This quarter, relatively strong core performance was largely overshadowed by impairment and valuation losses," said Harris H. Simmons, chairman and chief executive officer. "We were pleased by the strength of loan growth during the quarter as well as solid core deposit growth. While credit costs increased, the deterioration in credit was manageable and reflects our historically strong underwriting."
Earnings for the fourth quarter of 2007 were unfavorably impacted by the following items, including those previously disclosed in Form 8-K filings on December 19, 2007 and December 31, 2007:
|1.||The Company recognized a pretax charge of approximately $109 million or $0.60 per diluted share for eight Available For Sale trust preferred REIT CDO securities deemed to be other than temporarily impaired. Of this amount, approximately $65 million pretax had been recognized as of September 30, 2007 as a component of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income.|
|2.||The Company recorded a pretax loss of approximately $49 million or $0.29 per diluted share from purchases of $895 million of certain securities from Lockhart Funding, LLC, an off-balance sheet commercial paper conduit sponsored by Zions Bank. These purchases were made at book value pursuant to a liquidity agreement between Zions Bank and Lockhart. Approximately $55 million of these purchases resulted from investment downgrades. All of the $895 million of securities purchased from Lockhart are guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies, or are rated AAA by at least one rating agency. At December 31, 2007, Lockhart had approximately $2.1 billion of securities remaining in its portfolio.|
|3.||The Company recorded a pretax charge of approximately $8.1 million or $0.05 per diluted share for the fair value of its contingent obligation related to certain Visa litigation.|
On-balance-sheet net loans and leases were $39.1 billion at December 31, 2007, an increase of approximately $1.3 billion or 13.4% annualized from $37.8 billion at September 30, 2007, and an increase of approximately $4.4 billion or 12.8% from $34.7 billion at December 31, 2006. Loan growth during the quarter was concentrated primarily in commercial lending and secondarily in commercial term real estate and consumer loans, principally at Zions Bank, Amegy Bank of Texas, and Vectra Bank Colorado. Construction and land development loans declined slightly during the quarter.
Average core deposits for the fourth quarter of 2007 increased $0.8 billion or 10.2% annualized to $31.9 billion compared to $31.1 billion for the third quarter of 2007 and increased $2.1 billion or 7.1% compared to $29.8 billion for the fourth quarter of 2006. Average total deposits for the fourth quarter of 2007 increased $0.6 billion to $36.4 billion or 7.0% annualized compared to $35.8 billion for the third quarter of 2007, and increased $2.5 billion or 7.5% compared to $33.9 billion for the fourth quarter of 2006. Average noninterest-bearing demand deposits for the fourth quarter of 2007 were $9.3 billion compared to $9.4 billion for the third quarter of 2007 and $9.5 billion for the fourth quarter of 2006.
Net Interest Income
Net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2007 increased $2.2 million or 1.9% annualized to $478.9 million compared to $476.6 million for the third quarter of 2007, and increased $19.8 million or 4.3% compared to $459.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2006. Taxable-equivalent net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2007 increased $2.0 million or 1.7% annualized to $485.2 million compared to $483.1 million for the third quarter of 2007, and increased $19.9 million or 4.3% from $465.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2006.
During the fourth quarter of 2007, the Company purchased asset-backed commercial paper from Lockhart. The amount of commercial paper included in money market investments on the Company’s average balance sheet for the fourth quarter was approximately $763 million. The amount of the purchased commercial paper outstanding at December 31, 2007 was approximately $710 million. These purchases were made to provide liquidity to Lockhart due to ongoing contraction and disruptions in the credit markets.
The net interest margin was 4.27% for the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to 4.44% for the third quarter of 2007 and 4.60% for the fourth quarter of 2006. Among the primary factors influencing the decline of the net interest margin for the quarter were strong loan growth funded mainly by increased nondeposit borrowings, purchases of Lockhart commercial paper, and competitive deposit pricing pressures.
As a result of the $158.2 million of impairment and valuation losses on securities previously discussed, noninterest income for the fourth quarter of 2007 was $(20.2) million. Noninterest income was $145.8 million for the third quarter of 2007 and $139.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2006. During the quarter, service charges and fees on deposit accounts and trust and wealth management income both continued their recent growth, reflecting continued organic growth in these businesses. Loan sales and servicing income decreased during the quarter primarily because of an impairment charge of $3.3 million on retained interests from certain previous small business loan securitizations due to increases in default and discount rate assumptions. Trading and nonhedge derivative income (loss) includes $7.0 million of nonhedge derivative losses for the fourth quarter compared to $9.4 million of losses for the third quarter of 2007.
Noninterest expense for the fourth quarter of 2007 was $353.0 million compared to $352.0 million for the third quarter of 2007 and $342.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2006. Salaries and employee benefits decreased $13.3 million during the quarter primarily because of reductions to bonus, long-term incentive, and profit sharing accruals. Other noninterest expense increased $14.0 million mainly due to the $8.1 million Visa litigation accrual and to increased FDIC premiums of approximately $2.6 million. The Visa litigation accrual represents an estimate of the Company’s proportionate share of a contingent obligation to indemnify Visa Inc. for certain litigation matters. The increase in the efficiency ratio to 75.9% for the fourth quarter of 2007 was primarily due to the impairment and valuation losses on securities and to the Visa litigation accrual. The efficiency ratio was 56.6% excluding the impairment and valuation losses on securities. The efficiency ratio was 56.0% for the third quarter of 2007 and 56.7% for the fourth quarter of 2006.
The income tax provision was a benefit of $11.0 million for the fourth quarter. Taxable income was significantly lower as previously discussed, and the Company reduced its liability for uncertain tax positions under the provisions of FIN 48, which reduced income taxes and related interest and penalties by $11.9 million.
Nonperforming assets were $283.9 million at December 31, 2007 compared to $196.6 million at September 30, 2007 and $82.0 million at December 31, 2006, primarily reflecting continuing weakness in residential development and construction activity in the Southwest. The ratio of nonperforming assets to net loans and leases and other real estate owned was 0.73% at December 31, 2007 compared to 0.52% at September 30, 2007 and 0.24% at December 31, 2006.
Net loan and lease charge-offs for the fourth quarter of 2007 were $26.7 million or 0.28% annualized of average loans. This compares with $18.1 million or 0.19% annualized of average loans for the third quarter of 2007 and $17.9 million or 0.21% annualized of average loans for the fourth quarter of 2006.
The provision for loan losses was $70.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to $55.4 million for the third quarter of 2007 and $26.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2006. The combined provisions for loan losses and unfunded lending commitments were $70.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2007, $55.5 million for the third quarter of 2007, and $27.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2006.
The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of net loans and leases was 1.18% at December 31, 2007, 1.11% at September 30, 2007 and 1.05% at December 31, 2006. The allowance was 171.0% of nonperforming loans at December 31, 2007. The total allowance and reserve for credit losses (allowance for loan losses plus the reserve for unfunded lending commitments) was $480.9 million or 1.23% of net loans and leases at December 31, 2007 compared to $439.6 million or 1.16% at September 30, 2007 and $384.5 million or 1.11% at December 31, 2006.
The Company has not repurchased any common shares since August 16, 2007. At December 31, 2007, approximately $56.3 million remained under the current $400 million repurchase authorization. For 2007, the Company repurchased approximately 3.9 million common shares for $318.8 million at an average price of $81.04 per share. The Company has stated that it does not anticipate a resumption of share repurchases in the near term. Approximately 2.6 million shares were issued in January 2007 for the Stockmen's acquisition.
The Company’s tangible equity ratio was 6.17% at December 31, 2007 compared to 6.40% at September 30, 2007 and 6.51% at December 31, 2006. The decrease from the previous quarter is primarily due to loan growth and to reduced earnings, partially offset by net improvements in Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income.
Weighted average common and common-equivalent shares outstanding for the fourth quarter of 2007 were 106,902,983 compared to 107,879,963 for the third quarter of 2007 and 108,221,096 for the fourth quarter of 2006. Common shares outstanding at December 31, 2007 were 107,116,505 compared to 106,934,360 at September 30, 2007 and 106,720,884 at December 31, 2006.
Effective November 2, 2007, the Company’s National Bank of Arizona subsidiary completed the sale of the 11 California branches included in its acquisition of The Stockmen’s Bancorp in January 2007. The sale of these branches included approximately $169 million of loans and $190 million of deposits. No gain or loss was recognized, and goodwill and core deposit intangibles were reduced to reflect the sale of the branches.
Zions will host a conference call to discuss these fourth quarter results at 5:30 p.m. ET this afternoon (January 24, 2008). Media representatives, analysts and the public are invited to listen to this discussion by calling 1-800-659-2056 (international: 617-614-2714) and entering the passcode 90495326, or via on-demand webcast. A link to the webcast will be available on the Zions Bancorporation Web site at www.zionsbancorporation.com. A replay of the call will be available from 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, January 24, through midnight ET on Thursday, January 31, by dialing 1-888-286-8010 (international: 617-801-6888) and entering the passcode 27713068. The webcast of the conference call will also be archived and available for 30 days.
About Zions Bancorporation
Zions Bancorporation is one of the nation’s premier financial services companies, consisting of a collection of great banks in select high growth markets. Zions operates its banking businesses under local management teams and community identities through over 500 offices and approximately 600 ATMs in ten Western and Southwestern states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington. The Company is a national leader in Small Business Administration lending and public finance advisory services. In addition, Zions is included in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ Financial 100 indices. Investor information and links to subsidiary banks can be accessed at www.zionsbancorporation.com.
Statements in this news release that are based on other than historical data are forward-looking, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations or forecasts of future events. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, nor should they be relied upon as representing management’s views as of any subsequent date. Forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties and actual results may differ materially from those presented, either expressed or implied, in this news release. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to: the Company’s ability to successfully execute its business plans and achieve its objectives; changes in general economic and financial market conditions, either nationally or locally in areas in which the Company conducts its operations, including changes in asset-backed commercial paper markets and valuations in structured securities and other assets; changes in interest rates; continuing consolidation in the financial services industry; new litigation or changes in existing litigation; increased competitive challenges and expanding product and pricing pressures among financial institutions; legislation or regulatory changes which adversely affect the Company’s operations or business; and changes in accounting policies or procedures as may be required by the Financial Accounting Standards Board or other regulatory agencies.
Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements are discussed in the 2006 Annual Report on Form 10-K of Zions Bancorporation filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and available at the SEC’s Internet site (http://www.sec.gov).
The Company specifically disclaims any obligation to update any factors or to publicly announce the result of revisions to any of the forward-looking statements included herein to reflect future events or developments.