First Citizens BancShares Reports Earnings for First Quarter 2021


RALEIGH, N.C., April 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Citizens BancShares Inc. (“BancShares”) (Nasdaq: FCNCA) reported strong earnings for the first quarter of 2021. Key results for the quarter ended March 31, 2021, are presented below:

FIRST QUARTER RESULTS
                           
Q1 2021 Q1 2020   Q1 2021 Q1 2020   Q1 2021 Q1 2020   Q1 2021 Q1 2020   Q1 2021 Q1 2020
Net income (in millions)   Net income per share   Net interest margin   Return on average assets   Return on average equity
$147.3 $57.2   $14.53 $5.46   2.80% 3.55%   1.16% 0.57%   14.70% 6.34%
FIRST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
     
Net income   Net income was $147.3 million for the first quarter of 2021, an increase of $90.1 million, or by 157.7%, compared to the same quarter in 2020. Net income per common share increased to $14.53 for the first quarter of 2021, from $5.46 per share for the same quarter in 2020.
     
Return on average assets and equity   Return on average assets for the first quarter of 2021 was 1.16%, up from 0.57% for the same quarter in 2020. Return on average equity for the first quarter of 2021 was 14.70%, up from 6.34% for the same quarter in 2020.
     
Net interest income and net interest margin   Net interest income was $339.7 million for the first quarter of 2021, an increase of $1.3 million, or by 0.4%, compared to the same quarter in 2020. The taxable-equivalent net interest margin (“NIM”) was 2.80% for the first quarter of 2021, down 75 basis points from 3.55% for the same quarter in 2020.
     
Provision for credit losses   The provision for credit losses was an $11.0 million credit during the first quarter of 2021, compared to a $28.4 million expense during the same quarter in 2020. The allowance for credit losses (“ACL”) was $210.7 million at March 31, 2021, compared to $224.3 million at December 31, 2020, representing 0.63% and 0.68% of loans, respectively.
     
Operating performance   Noninterest income was $136.6 million for the first quarter of 2021, an increase of $72.6 million, or by 113.5%, compared to the same quarter in 2020. Noninterest expense was $295.9 million for the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of $4.0 million, or by 1.3%, compared to the same quarter in 2020.
     
Loans and credit quality   Total loans grew to $33.18 billion, an increase of $388.9 million, or by 4.8% on an annualized basis, since December 31, 2020. Excluding loans originated under the Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (“SBA-PPP”), total loans increased $25.3 million, or by 0.3% on an annualized basis, since December 31, 2020. The net charge-off ratio was 0.03% for the first quarter of 2021 compared to 0.10% for the same quarter in 2020.
     
Deposits   Total deposits grew to $47.33 billion, an increase of $3.90 billion, or by 36.4% on an annualized basis, since December 31, 2020, driven by organic growth, stimulus checks and SBA-PPP fundings.
     
Capital   BancShares remained well capitalized with a total risk-based capital ratio of 14.2%, a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 12.0%, a Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of 11.0% and a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 7.8%.
     

MERGER WITH CIT

On October 15, 2020, BancShares entered into a definitive merger agreement with CIT Group Inc. (“CIT”) through which the companies plan to combine in an all-stock merger. The transaction was approved by the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks on February 5, 2021, as well as the shareholders of both companies on February 9, 2021. We are continuing to work with other regulators on remaining approvals and anticipate closing in mid-2021 subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

ONGOING COVID-19 RESPONSE

BancShares remains dedicated to serving our customers and communities throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Our branches have re-opened with enhanced safety protocols and our corporate locations remain at limited occupancy as we navigate the challenges of COVID-19.

During the first quarter of 2021 in the second round of SBA-PPP, BancShares originated approximately 9,600 SBA-PPP loans totaling $1.1 billion. We recorded $30.9 million of interest and fee income related to SBA-PPP loans for the quarter. As of March 31, 2021, remaining net deferred fees on SBA-PPP loans were $66.7 million.

With respect to the first round of SBA-PPP, we began accepting and processing applications for forgiveness during the third quarter of 2020. We have received approximately 12,000 forgiveness decisions from the SBA to date, representing over $1.4 billion in forgiveness payments. BancShares originated approximately 23,000 loans during round one totaling $3.2 billion.

Through March 31, 2021, approximately 98% of all COVID-19 related loan extensions have begun repayment. Delinquency trends among loans entering repayment are in line with the remainder of the portfolio, and we have not seen significant declines in overall credit quality.

During 2020, we recorded $36.1 million in reserve build due to uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and its potential impact on our credit portfolio. Improved macroeconomic factors used as inputs into our ACL models and continued low net charge-offs during the first quarter of 2021 resulted in a provision credit of $11.0 million driven primarily by a $13.7 million reserve release.

NET INTEREST INCOME

Net interest income was $339.7 million for the first quarter of 2021, an increase of $1.3 million, or by 0.4%, compared to the same quarter in 2020. This was primarily due to interest and fee income on SBA-PPP loans, organic loan growth and lower rates paid on interest-bearing deposits, partially offset by a decline in the yield on interest-earning assets. SBA-PPP loans contributed $30.9 million in interest and fee income during the quarter. The taxable-equivalent NIM was 2.80% during the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of 75 basis points from 3.55% for the same quarter in 2020. The margin decline was primarily due to a decrease in the yield on interest-earning assets and changes in earning asset mix, partially offset by lower rates paid on interest-bearing deposits and the yield on SBA-PPP loans. The taxable-equivalent NIM declined 22 basis points from 3.02% in the linked quarter primarily due to changes in earning asset mix and a decline in the yield on interest-earning assets.

PROVISION FOR CREDIT LOSSES

Provision for credit losses was an $11.0 million credit for the first quarter of 2021, compared to $28.4 million in provision expense for the same quarter in 2020. The change was driven primarily by a $13.7 million reserve release attributable to continued low net charge-offs, strong credit performance, and improvements in macroeconomic factors.

Total net charge-offs for the first quarter of 2021 were $2.7 million, a decrease from $7.5 million for the same quarter in 2020 due to a lower volume of charge-offs and stable recoveries. The net charge-off ratio was 0.03% for the first quarter of 2021, compared to 0.10% for the same quarter in 2020. Excluding the impact of SBA-PPP loans on average loan balances, the net charge-off ratio was 0.04% for the first quarter of 2021.

NONINTEREST INCOME

Noninterest income was $136.6 million for the first quarter of 2021, an increase of $72.6 million, or by 113.5%, compared to $64.0 million for the same quarter in 2020. The largest driver of this increase was a $67.4 million favorable change in the fair market value adjustment on our marketable equity securities portfolio. Mortgage income increased by $7.8 million due to impairment of mortgage servicing rights recorded in the first quarter of 2020 and subsequently reversed in the current quarter as interest rates increased. Additionally, mortgage income increased as we experienced higher production and sales volume. Wealth management services increased by $5.8 million primarily due to increases in advisory and transaction fees, assets under management, and annuity fees. Realized gains on available for sale securities decreased by $10.6 million. Service charges on deposits decreased $4.9 million primarily due to elevated customer deposit balances.

NONINTEREST EXPENSE

Noninterest expense was $295.9 million for the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of $4.0 million, or by 1.3%, compared to the same quarter in 2020. Other expense decreased by $9.1 million driven by lower pension expense, a decrease in the reserve for unfunded commitments and declining travel expenses due to COVID-19. Processing fees paid to third parties increased by $3.3 million as a result of continued investment in digital and technological capabilities. Merger-related expenses increased by $2.6 million driven by legal and consulting expenses related to the pending merger with CIT.

INCOME TAXES

The effective tax rate was 23.0% for the first quarter of 2021 compared to 22.8% for the same quarter in 2020.

LOANS AND DEPOSITS

At March 31, 2021, loans totaled $33.18 billion, an increase of $388.9 million, or by 4.8% on an annualized basis, since December 31, 2020. Of this growth, $363.6 million was related to SBA-PPP loans. Excluding SBA-PPP loans, total loans increased $25.3 million, or by 0.3% on an annualized basis, since December 31, 2020.

At March 31, 2021, deposits totaled $47.33 billion, an increase of $3.90 billion, or by 36.4% on an annualized basis, since December 31, 2020, driven by organic growth, SBA-PPP loan fundings and stimulus checks.

ALLOWANCE FOR CREDIT LOSSES

The ACL was $210.7 million at March 31, 2021, compared to $224.3 million at December 31, 2020. The ACL as a percentage of total loans was 0.63% at March 31, 2021, compared to 0.68% at December 31, 2020. The reduction was primarily due to improved macroeconomic factors. Excluding SBA-PPP loans, which have no associated ACL, the ACL as a percentage of total loans was 0.69% as of March 31, 2021, compared to 0.74% as of December 31, 2020.

NONPERFORMING ASSETS

Nonperforming assets, including nonaccrual loans and other real estate owned, were $243.0 million, or 0.73% of total loans and other real estate owned at March 31, 2021, compared to $242.4 million or 0.74% at December 31, 2020. Excluding the impact of SBA-PPP loans on average loan balances, the ratio of total nonperforming assets to total loans, leases, and other real estate owned was 0.80% as of March 31, 2021, and December 31, 2020.

CAPITAL TRANSACTIONS

During the first quarter of 2021, BancShares did not repurchase any shares of Class A common stock compared to a total of 349,390 shares of Class A common stock for $159.7 million at an average cost per share of $457.10 for the same quarter in 2020. All Class A common stock repurchases completed in 2020 were consummated under previously approved authorizations. Following the expiration of our latest share repurchase authorization on July 31, 2020, share repurchase activity was suspended.

EARNINGS CALL DETAILS

First Citizens BancShares Inc. will host a conference call to discuss the company’s financial results on April 28, 2021, at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

To access this call, dial:

Domestic:
International:
Conference ID:
    833-654-8257
602-585-9869
8784208

The first quarter 2021 earnings presentation and news release will be available on the company’s website at www.firstcitizens.com/investor-relations.

After the conference call, you may access a replay of the call through May 28, 2021, by dialing 855-859-2056 (domestic) or 404-537-3406 (international) with conference ID 8784208.

For investor inquiries, contact Deanna Hart, Investor Relations, at 919-716-2137.

ABOUT FIRST CITIZENS BANCSHARES

BancShares is the financial holding company for Raleigh, North Carolina-headquartered First Citizens Bank. First Citizens Bank provides a broad range of financial services to individuals, businesses, professionals and the medical community through branch offices in 19 states, including digital banking, mobile banking, ATMs and telephone banking. As of March 31, 2021, BancShares had total assets of $53.9 billion.

For more information, visit First Citizens’ website at firstcitizens.com. First Citizens Bank. Forever First®.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This communication contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding the financial condition, results of operations, business plans and future performance of BancShares. Words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “predicts,” “forecasts,” “intends,” “plans,” “projects,” “targets,” “designed,” “could,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “potential” or “continue” or other similar words and expressions are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on BancShares’ current expectations and assumptions regarding BancShares’ business, the economy, and other future conditions.

Because forward-looking statements relate to future results and occurrences, they are subject to inherent risks, uncertainties, changes in circumstances and other factors that are difficult to predict. Many possible events or factors could affect BancShares’ future financial results and performance and could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of BancShares to differ materially from any anticipated results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic on BancShares’ business and customers, the financial success or changing conditions or strategies of BancShares’ customers or vendors, fluctuations in interest rates, actions of government regulators, the availability of capital and personnel, the delay in closing (or failure to close) one or more of BancShares’ previously announced acquisition transaction(s), the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of BancShares’ previously announced acquisition transaction(s), and general competitive, economic, political, and market conditions, as well as risks related to the proposed transaction with CIT including, in addition to those described above and among others, (1) the risk that the cost savings, any revenue synergies and other anticipated benefits of the proposed transaction may not be realized or may take longer than anticipated to be realized, including as a result of the impact of, or problems arising from, the integration of the two companies or as a result of the condition of the economy and competitive factors in areas where BancShares and CIT do business, (2) disruption to BancShares’ and CIT’s businesses as a result of the announcement and pendency of the proposed transaction and diversion of management’s attention from ongoing business operations and opportunities, (3) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the right of one or both of the parties to terminate the definitive merger agreement, (4) the risk that the integration of BancShares’ and CIT’s operations will be materially delayed or will be more costly or difficult than expected or that BancShares and CIT are otherwise unable to successfully integrate their businesses, (5) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be or have been instituted against BancShares and/or CIT, (6) the failure to obtain required governmental approvals (and the risk that such approvals may result in the imposition of conditions that could adversely affect the combined company or the expected benefits of the proposed transaction), (7) reputational risk and potential adverse reactions of BancShares’ and/or CIT’s customers, suppliers, employees or other business partners, including those resulting from the announcement or completion of the proposed transaction, (8) the failure of any of the closing conditions in the definitive merger agreement to be satisfied on a timely basis or at all, (9) delays in closing the proposed transaction, (10) the possibility that the proposed transaction may be more expensive to complete than anticipated, including as a result of unexpected factors or events, (11) the dilution caused by BancShares’ issuance of additional shares of its capital stock in connection with the proposed transaction, (12) general competitive, economic, political and market conditions, (13) other factors that may affect future results of BancShares and CIT including changes in asset quality and credit risk, the inability to sustain revenue and earnings growth, changes in interest rates and capital markets, inflation, customer borrowing, repayment, investment and deposit practices, the impact, extent and timing of technological changes, capital management activities, and other actions of the Federal Reserve Board and legislative and regulatory actions and reforms, and (14) the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on CIT’s business, the parties’ ability to complete the proposed transaction and/or any of the other foregoing risks.

Except to the extent required by applicable laws or regulations, BancShares disclaims any obligation to update such factors or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements included herein to reflect future events or developments. Further information regarding BancShares and factors which could affect the forward-looking statements contained herein can be found in BancShares’ Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and its other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  Three months ended
(Dollars in thousands, except share data; unaudited) March 31, 2021   December 31, 2020   March 31, 2020
SUMMARY OF OPERATIONS          
Interest income $ 355,323     $ 376,876     $ 369,559  
Interest expense 15,671     18,160     31,159  
Net interest income 339,652     358,716     338,400  
Provision for credit losses (10,974 )   5,403     28,355  
Net interest income after provision for credit losses 350,626     353,313     310,045  
Noninterest income 136,649     126,765     64,011  
Noninterest expense 295,926     305,373     299,971  
Income before income taxes 191,349     174,705     74,085  
Income taxes 44,033     36,621     16,916  
Net income $ 147,316     $ 138,084     $ 57,169  
Preferred stock dividends 4,636     4,636      
Net income available to common shareholders $ 142,680     $ 133,448     $ 57,169  
Net interest income, taxable equivalent $ 340,271     $ 359,370     $ 339,174  
PER COMMON SHARE DATA          
Net income $ 14.53     $ 13.59     $ 5.46  
Cash dividends on common shares 0.47     0.47     0.40  
Book value at period-end 405.59     396.21     351.90  
CONDENSED BALANCE SHEET          
Cash and due from banks $ 410,495     $ 362,048     $ 454,220  
Overnight investments 7,588,757     4,347,336     688,518  
Investment securities 10,222,107     9,922,905     8,845,197  
Loans and leases 33,180,851     32,791,975     29,240,959  
Allowance for credit losses (210,651 )   (224,314 )   (209,259 )
Other assets 2,717,047     2,757,730     2,574,818  
Total assets $ 53,908,606     $ 49,957,680     $ 41,594,453  
Deposits $ 47,330,997     $ 43,431,609     $ 35,346,711  
Other liabilities 2,256,209     2,296,803     2,290,222  
Shareholders’ equity 4,321,400     4,229,268     3,957,520  
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity $ 53,908,606     $ 49,957,680     $ 41,594,453  
SELECTED PERIOD AVERAGE BALANCES        
Total assets $ 51,409,634     $ 49,557,803     $ 40,648,806  
Investment securities 9,757,650     9,889,124     7,453,159  
Loans and leases 33,086,656     32,964,390     29,098,101  
Interest-earning assets 48,715,279     46,922,823     38,004,341  
Deposits 44,858,198     43,123,312     34,750,061  
Interest-bearing liabilities 27,898,525     26,401,222     23,153,777  
Common shareholders’ equity 3,935,267     3,786,158     3,625,975  
Shareholders’ equity $ 4,275,204     $ 4,126,095     $ 3,682,634  
Common shares outstanding 9,816,405     9,816,405     10,473,119  
SELECTED RATIOS          
Annualized return on average assets 1.16 %   1.11 %   0.57 %
Annualized return on average equity 14.70     14.02     6.34  
Net yield on interest-earning assets (taxable equivalent) 2.80     3.02     3.55  
Total risk-based capital ratio 14.2     13.8     13.7  
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio 12.0     11.6     11.4  
Common equity Tier 1 ratio 11.0     10.6     10.4  
Tier 1 leverage capital ratio 7.8     7.9     9.0  
 

ALLOWANCE FOR CREDIT LOSSES AND ASSET QUALITY DISCLOSURES

  Three months ended
(Dollars in thousands, unaudited) March 31, 2021   December 31, 2020   March 31, 2020
ALLOWANCE FOR CREDIT LOSSES (1)    
ACL at beginning of period $ 224,314     $ 223,936     $ 225,141  
Adoption of ASC 326         (37,924 )
Initial PCD allowance on new acquisitions         1,193  
Provision for credit losses (10,974 )   5,403     28,355  
Net charge-offs of loans and leases:          
Charge-offs (8,563 )   (9,848 )   (14,261 )
Recoveries 5,874     4,823     6,755  
Net charge-offs of loans and leases (2,689 )   (5,025 )   (7,506 )
ACL at end of period $ 210,651     $ 224,314     $ 209,259  
ACL at end of period allocated to:          
PCD $ 22,935     $ 23,987     $ 26,916  
Non-PCD 187,716     200,327     182,343  
ACL at end of period $ 210,651     $ 224,314     $ 209,259  
Reserve for unfunded commitments $ 11,571     $ 12,814     $ 10,512  
SELECTED LOAN DATA          
Average loans and leases:          
PCD $ 454,521     $ 479,302     $ 530,087  
Non-PCD 32,515,793     32,374,204     28,502,231  
Loans and leases at period-end:          
PCD 432,773     462,882     560,352  
Non-PCD 32,748,078     32,329,093     28,680,607  
RISK ELEMENTS          
Nonaccrual loans and leases $ 194,534     $ 191,483     $ 174,571  
Other real estate owned 48,512     50,890     55,707  
Total nonperforming assets $ 243,046     $ 242,373     $ 230,278  
Accruing loans and leases 90 days or more past due $ 7,377     $ 5,862     $ 2,970  
RATIOS          
Net charge-offs (annualized) to average loans and leases 0.03 %   0.06 %   0.10 %
ACL to total loans and leases(2):          
PCD 5.30     5.18     4.80  
Non-PCD 0.57     0.62     0.64  
Total 0.63     0.68     0.72  
Ratio of total nonperforming assets to total loans, leases and other real estate owned 0.73     0.74     0.79  


(1)
BancShares recorded no ACL on investment securities as of March 31, 2021, December 31, 2020, or March 31, 2020.
(2) Loans originated in relation to the SBA-PPP do not have a recorded ACL. As of March 31, 2021, the ratio of ACL to total Non-PCD loans excluding SBA-PPP loans was 0.63% while the ratio of ACL to total loans excluding SBA-PPP loans was 0.69%. As of December 31, 2020, the ratio of ACL to total Non-PCD loans excluding SBA-PPP loans was 0.67% while the ratio of ACL to total loans excluding SBA-PPP loans was 0.74%

AVERAGE BALANCE AND NET INTEREST MARGIN SUMMARY

  Three months ended
  March 31, 2021   December 31, 2020   March 31, 2020
  Average       Yield/   Average       Yield/   Average       Yield/
(Dollars in thousands, unaudited) Balance   Interest   Rate (2)   Balance   Interest   Rate (2)   Balance   Interest   Rate (2)
INTEREST-EARNING ASSETS                                  
Loans and leases (1) $ 33,086,656     $ 323,602     3.92 %   $ 32,964,390     $ 345,300     4.12 %   $ 29,098,101     $ 326,155     4.46 %
Investment securities:                                  
U.S. Treasury 383,300     171     0.18     526,072     250     0.19     299,777     1,677     2.25  
Government agency 791,293     1,900     0.96     695,757     1,574     0.90     721,254     4,121     2.29  
Mortgage-backed securities 7,882,679     20,607     1.05     7,981,834     21,130     1.06     6,060,434     30,707     2.03  
Corporate bonds 602,883     7,742     5.14     591,780     7,657     5.18     205,504     2,477     4.82  
Other investments 97,495     472     1.96     93,681     600     2.55     166,190     678     1.64  
Total investment securities 9,757,650     30,892     1.27     9,889,124     31,211     1.26     7,453,159     39,660     2.13  
Overnight investments 5,870,973     1,448     0.10     4,069,309     1,019     0.10     1,453,081     4,518     1.25  
Total interest-earning assets $ 48,715,279     $ 355,942     2.93     $ 46,922,823     $ 377,530     3.17     $ 38,004,341     $ 370,333     3.88  
INTEREST-BEARING LIABILITIES                                  
Interest-bearing deposits:                                  
Checking with interest $ 10,746,225     $ 1,409     0.05 %   $ 9,688,744     $ 1,533     0.06 %   $ 8,188,983     $ 1,701     0.08 %
Savings 3,461,780     299     0.04     3,230,625     306     0.04     2,593,869     285     0.04  
Money market accounts 9,008,391     2,508     0.11     8,529,816     3,242     0.15     7,016,587     9,109     0.52  
Time deposits 2,805,317     4,577     0.66     3,017,044     5,976     0.79     3,761,216     13,099     1.40  
Total interest-bearing deposits 26,021,713     8,793     0.14     24,466,229     11,057     0.18     21,560,655     24,194     0.45  
Securities sold under customer repurchase agreements 641,236     338     0.21     684,311     374     0.22     474,231     442     0.38  
Other short-term borrowings                         157,759     804     2.02  
Long-term borrowings 1,235,576     6,540     2.12     1,250,682     6,729     2.13     961,132     5,719     2.35  
Total interest-bearing liabilities $ 27,898,525     $ 15,671     0.23     $ 26,401,222     $ 18,160     0.27     $ 23,153,777     $ 31,159     0.54  
Interest rate spread         2.70 %           2.90 %           3.34 %
Net interest income and net yield on interest-earning assets     $ 340,271     2.80 %       $ 359,370     3.02 %       $ 339,174     3.55 %
                                                     

(1) Loans and leases include PCD and non-PCD loans, nonaccrual loans and loans held for sale.
(2) Yields related to loans, leases and securities exempt from both federal and state income taxes, federal income taxes only, or state income taxes only are stated on a taxable-equivalent basis assuming statutory federal income tax rates of 21.0% for all periods presented, as well as state income tax rates of 3.3% for the three months ended March 31, 2021, and 3.4% for the three months ended December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2020. The taxable-equivalent adjustment was $619 thousand, $654 thousand and $774 thousand for the three months ended March 31, 2021, December 31, 2020 and March 31, 2020, respectively.

Contact:    Barbara Thompson
Corporate Communications
919-716-2716
      Deanna Hart
Investor Relations
919-716-2137