Huntington reports 6 percent increase in profit

By Jamison Cocklin


Columbus-based Huntington National Bank on Thursday reported a 6 percent increase in its third- quarter earnings compared with the same period a year ago.

The bank made a profit of $178 million, or 20 cents per share, up from $167.8 million, or 19 cents per share in the second quarter of 2012.

“Our performance has benefited from ongoing improvement within our core Midwestern economies,” said Stephen D. Steinour, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Huntington, in a statement. “We also made progress in managing expenses, including one-time savings attributable to pension curtailment, right-sizing of some investments and the consolidation of 22 branch locations.”

Huntington operates in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky. It is Youngstown’s largest bank by deposits and market share.

Frank Hierro, regional president of the Mahoning Valley at Huntington, said the Midwest’s economy has positioned the bank for profitable gains.

He said payroll has increased at a faster rate in the states Huntington serves compared with the rest of the country.

That’s helped the bank’s auto and commercial and industrial lending, which he said have been the bank’s “core competencies” in recent years.

Auto lending was up 10 percent year-over-year in the third quarter, said Todd Beekman, a senior manager in investor relations at the bank.

The balance of auto loans at the bank increased by $2 billion in the third quarter, while commercial loans increased by 4 percent or $700 million.

Those gains, along with growth in fee-based revenue, helped the bank offset downward pressure on its mortgage lending operations, Beekman added.

Huntington saw a 47 percent decrease in mortgage banking income — a drop of $21 million in the third quarter.

The trend is one other large banks are experiencing as long-term interest rates rise. Beekman said lower interest rates in recent years have led to a high volume of refinancing, which is starting to taper as interest rates rise.

Customer deposits were up by 6 percent, while non-performing assets decreased by 27 percent and bad loans were down 25 percent in the third quarter.

William Eiler, a spokesman for the bank, said the company was glad to see Congress reach a temporary deal Wednesday that averted a Treasury default and reopened the government.

Hierro added that the bank’s operations were only slightly affected by the impasse.

Eiler joined him in saying it remains important for lawmakers to reach a definitive and permanent solution on the federal budget and government spending.

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