Crestar's '95 profits: a record $209 million 'Dull is a virtue' for Loyola's acquirer


January 19, 1996|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Crestar Financial Corp., which last month captured a chunk of Baltimore's banking market with the acquisition of Loyola Capital Corp., said yesterday that it earned a record $209.1 million for the year.

Full-year earnings were up 14 percent from 1994 excluding nonrecurring merger charges associated with the Loyola acquisition, the company said.

Crestar earned $55.6 million, or $1.28 a share, excluding the one-time charge of $29.3 million in the fourth quarter.

Richard G. Tilghman, Crestar's chairman and chief executive, said the year was a success because the company completed five acquisitions and increased profits.

"We are delighted with the results of 1995," Mr. Tilghman said.

Crestar closed yesterday at $54.625, up 37.5 cents.

Crestar's results contained virtually no surprises, which pleased Michael Plodwick, a banking analyst with Deutsche Morgan Grenfell CJ Lawrence Inc.

"In banking, dull is a virtue," he said. "Crestar has been pretty consistent all year."

The company's loans grew to $11.8 billion, up 5 percent from a year ago; deposits were up 7 percent, to $13.3 billion; and total assets jumped 11 percent to $18.3 billion.

Mr. Plodwick said loan growth has been slowing nationally among banks. "There seems to be more concern with banks growing their loans too fast," he said.

Crestar generated a steady stream of earnings from the fees it charges consumers on products and services ranging from credit cards to deposit accounts.

Fee income, or noninterest income, was up 26 percent in the fourth quarter, to $74.2 million, and it increased 11 percent to $288.5 million for the year.

Eugene S. Putnam Jr., Crestar's director of corporate finance and investor relations, said fourth-quarter fee income was distorted by a $1.3 million gain in the sale of securities this year and a $9 million loss on securities sales in 1994.

He said about 30 percent of Crestar's revenues comes from fee income, which is higher than most banks.

Crestar charged off $60.6 million in bad loans for the year, up 56.6 percent from a year ago. The majority of the bad loans were consumer credit loans, Mr. Putnam said.

Loans behind 90 days on interest and principal payments, and those where payments are in question, fell to $93.4 million, down from $115.6 million a year ago.

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