Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) stock fell in Tuesday trading, following the pre-market release of its Q1 of fiscal 2020 results.
Similar to other banks reporting during this earnings season, Synchrony's net profit dropped significantly because of a dramatic increase in credit loss provisioning. The economic impact of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is already significant and likely to get worse, and banks are preparing for substantial increases in defaults from their clients. For Synchrony, credit loss provisioning nearly doubled on a year-over-year basis to just under $1.7 billion.
In its inaugural quarter of 2020, Synchrony's net profit cratered by 74% to $286 million, or $0.45 per share. On average, analysts had been expecting a much higher figure of $1.04. Meanwhile, the bank's total revenue slid by 8% to just under $4 billion.
Synchrony's numbers are also down because the company no longer holds the substantial Walmart credit card portfolio. Last year it parted ways with the big retailer; for many years it had been its exclusive credit card issuer until Walmart decided to switch providers to Capital One Financial in 2018.
As is commonplace in the banking sector these days, Synchrony is curtailing certain activities to shore up its business. A significant move was the suspension of its share repurchase program, which at the time of the freeze had $366 million remaining in authorization.
Synchrony's shares fell generally in concert with the broader stock market on Tuesday, declining by 2.7%.