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SunTrust Reports 10% Growth in Earnings per Share

PRNewswire
ATLANTA
Apr 11, 2001

SunTrust Banks, Inc. today reported net income for the first quarter of 2001 of $337.5 million or $1.14 per diluted share, up 10% from the $1.04 per diluted share earned in the first quarter of 2000. For the quarter, reported return on assets was 1.36% and return on average realized equity was 21.85%.

"We are pleased to report record earnings per share in the first quarter despite a slowing economy," said L. Phillip Humann, SunTrust's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The Company continued its tradition of strong earnings by creating meaningful improvements in the areas of net interest margin and continued improvements in operating efficiency."

Fully taxable net interest income was $815.2 million in the first quarter. The net interest margin for the quarter was 3.57%, up 8 basis points from the fourth quarter. Average loans for the first quarter were $71.7 billion, up 7% from the first quarter of last year. During the quarter, the Company securitized $1.9 billion of mortgage loans which are now classified as securities available for sale. Adjusting for recent securitizations, average loans were up 10% from the first quarter of last year and an annualized 6% from the fourth quarter. Average deposits for the first quarter were $54.5 billion, up an annualized 3.3% from the fourth quarter.

Noninterest income, excluding securities gains and losses, was $468.8 million in the quarter, up 9% from the first quarter of 2000. During the quarter, the Company recorded a gain of $52.9 million on the sale of Star Systems stock representing a historical ownership in the ATM network. Including net securities gains, total noninterest income was $525.9 million for the quarter, up 20% from the first quarter of 2000. Noninterest income represented 40% of total revenue or 37% without net securities gains.

Total noninterest expense in the quarter was $742.7 million. During the quarter, the Company spent $6 million or $.01 per diluted share on its One Bank initiative for enhancements to customer based systems that will yield operating efficiencies in the future. The Company's efficiency ratio was 55.38%, an improvement from the 57.31% reported in the first quarter of 2000.

Nonperforming assets were $369.3 million at quarter end or .52% of loans and foreclosed properties, down 14% from $428.3 million or .59% of loans and foreclosed properties at fourth quarter end. The Company took advantage of favorable prices in the secondary loan market to sell three of its largest nonperforming corporate loans, which enabled the Company to exit its remaining unsecured movie theatre exposure and the Company's largest nonperforming health care credit. Nonperforming assets at March 31, 2001, included $348.7 million in nonperforming loans and $20.6 million in net other real estate owned. The allowance for loan losses at March 31, 2001, was $872.0 million and represented 1.24% of loans and 250% of nonperforming loans.

Net charge-offs in the first quarter were $66.3 million or .38% of average loans up from $53.4 million in the fourth quarter of last year. The provision for loan losses was $67.3 million for the quarter. The sale of three of the Company's largest nonperforming loans partially accounts for the increase in net charge-offs. In addition, the Company wrote down other nonperforming loans that had further credit deterioration during the quarter.

At March 31, 2001, SunTrust had total assets of $103.7 billion. Equity capital of $7.8 billion represented 7.55% of total assets. Book value per share was $26.83.

Please refer to the Investor Relations section of our website at http://www.suntrust.com/ for the corresponding financial tables and information.

SunTrust management will host a conference call to discuss the earnings results and answer analyst questions at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on April 11, 2001. Interested parties may access the conference call by dialing 888-791-5525, passcode 3599167. A replay of the call will be available through 4:00 p.m. on April 15, 2001, by calling 800-294-7483, passcode 3599167.

Alternatively, interested parties may choose to listen to an audio webcast of this live event at http://www.suntrust.com/ and choosing "Click Here for Webcast" in the Investor Relations section. A replay of the audio webcast will be maintained at this same location.

SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is the nation's ninth-largest commercial banking organization. The Company operates through an extensive distribution network in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and also serves customers in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include traditional deposit and credit services as well as trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries the Company provides credit cards, mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage and capital markets services.

SOURCE: SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Contact: Gary Peacock of SunTrust Banks, Inc., 404-658-4879