Nationsbank, the country's fourth-largest banking company, said yesterday that its first-quarter profits increased 95 percent, while Chase Manhattan reported earnings rose 20.5 percent.
Like most other banking companies, Nationsbank and Chase said their first-quarter results benefited from a wider spread between the interest rates they paid for deposits and the rates they collected on loans and increased collections of fees from consumers.
Both were badly hurt by losses on real estate loans the last few years, but Nationsbank seems to be recovering more quickly than Chase.
While the scope of Nationsbank's operations are not as grandiose as its name, the company has outgrown its home in North Carolina to become one of the nation's biggest banking companies. The result of the merger last year of NCNB Corp. of Charlotte, N.C.,and C&S/Sovran Corp. of Atlanta, it is now the leading bank in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.
Nationsbank's profit of $310 million, or $1.28 a share, was up from $159 million, or 70 cents a share, a year ago. In addition to a $204 million profit from securities it holds as an investment, Nationsbank benefited from its first quarterly decline in non-performing assets in two years. Non-performing assets are badly delinquent or troubled loans not expected to be repaid in full, and real estate acquired through foreclosure.
Chase, the nation's largest bank a few decades ago and now the sixth biggest, is building its consumer business and expanding into Connecticut, but it remains only about half as profitable as many regional banking companies, after adjusting for size.
At Chase, first-quarter profits of $141 million equaled 81 cents a share, up from $117 million, or 73 cents a share, a year ago. Chase wrote off as a loss $294 million of loans, up from $270 million a year ago but down from $319 million in the fourth quarter. To prepare for losses on other loans it has identified as weak, Chase added $300 million to its loan-loss reserve.