So, what's the real story with Comerica
This wasn't a good quarter. Revenue was up 4%, as net interest income rose about 4% and non-interest income rose close to 3%. I realize that this is a tough environment for banks, but if you can't grow your top line at the pace of the country's GDP, you're already in trouble. Non-interest expenses continued to climb faster than revenue, and the company saw net income drop 8% from the year-ago level.
At least there's still some balance-sheet growth. Average loan balances rose more than 10%, and deposits were up 5%. But I'm discouraged at the continuing decline in non-interest-bearing deposits, which have been an advantage and source of strength for Comerica and others like UnionBanCal
The company is considering selling its interest in Munder Capital, which could raise a substantial chunk of money, considering what Merrill Lynch
Stocks like Comerica are partly why I'm graying before my time. Even with exceptionally modest growth estimates, the shares look undervalued, but I suppose it's fair to ask whether they can accomplish even exceptionally modest growth. Ultimately, I think this may be a "use it or lose it" proposition. If Comerica doesn't do better, it'll get bought, which at least offers a potential floor for investors.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).