Bank and thrift earnings keep rolling in this week, and now we turn to one of the banks whose stock I actually own -- North Carolina's own BB&T
Revenue growth was relatively modest (up about 7% by my count), but management leveraged this into nearly 13% EPS growth when all was said and done. That said, there are two ways to look at these earnings, and BB&T provides the numbers for both. You can look at the straight reported net income (growth of about 11%), or at the "cash operating earnings," which grew about 4%. The latter figures exclude a lot of the accounting pluses and minuses that go into standard statements but don't always exactly reflect reality.
Since BB&T's earnings are relatively easy to follow, I'll just touch on some of the highlights. Net interest income growth was restrained to 5%, although the company did pretty well managing its interest spreads. Non-interest income was once again strong, as the company's insurance operations continue to grow.
It's also pretty apparent from both the balance sheet and management's comments that the company is willing to suffer some lower margins for growth -- deposits were up 10% (and loans were up nearly 11%), which is pretty good growth in this environment. And while lower margins might rankle some, I'd hardly say this is a shareholder-unfriendly company. Not only did the company recently hike its dividend, but it also bought shares in the open market to neutralize the impact of the stock issued to buy Main Street Banks.
Management also had some interesting comments on the recent merger activity in the banking sector. It may have been interested in either Regions Financial
While BB&T isn't exactly analysts' favorite bank, I, for one, like it quite a lot. Here is a proven management team with a sound philosophy toward mixing acquisitions and de novo growth, as well as growing both the interest and non-interest-based businesses.
For more bankable Foolishness:
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- Wachovia Weighs In
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson owns shares of BB&T but has no financial interest in any other stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).