Today U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB ) announced that in the first quarter of 2014 its earnings stood at $0.73 per share, identical to what it reported in the first quarter of last year. Its total net income dropped slightly from $1.428 billion to $1.397 billion, a decline of $31 million, or 2.2%.
"Our first quarter earnings of $1.4 billion, or $0.73 per diluted common share, demonstrated our Company's ability to generate strong results in the face of a slow-growing and uncertain economy," noted U.S. Bancorp Chairman, President and CEO Richard Davis in the earnings press release. He continued, "Our performance clearly reflects the advantage of our diversified business mix and disciplined expense management which has enabled us to withstand the revenue challenges facing our industry in this slow-growth economy."
U.S. Bancorp reduced its common shares outstanding by 2% throughout the year. It said it returned 67% of first-quarter earnings to shareholders through dividends and the buyback of 12 million common shares.
The Consumer and Small Business Banking line of business watched its net income decline by $77 million or 21% relative to the first quarter of last year, largely as a result of its mortgage banking revenue falling by more than 40%, from $401 million to $236 million. Offsetting this decline were gains seen in its Wealth Management and Securities Services, Payments Services, and Treasury and Corporate Support lines of business, which witnessed their incomes increase by $14 million (41%), $23 million (11%) and $40 million (8%), respectively.
While its major profitability metrics fell relative to the first quarter of 2013, U.S. Bancorp continued to report strong numbers, with a return on average assets and common equity of 1.56% and 14.6%, respectively. In addition, its efficiency ratio stood at 52.9%.
"Our business model has shown strength and resilience through times of challenge, change and new opportunities," Davis said in the earnings announcement. "We are well positioned for the strengthening economic climate and the team is working every day to create value for our shareholders."