Cost-cutting helps Butterfield to triple net income

Published by The Royal Gazette – 25 February 2014

Butterfield Bank today announced that full-year net income more than tripled to $78.2 million in 2013.

Core earnings, which eliminate items “outside the course of normal business”, were up 39.5 percent to $76.6 million.

In its earnings statement today, the bank said the improvement in results was driven by cutting expenses and better performance of its investments.

The bank declared a quarterly dividend of one cent per share and, in addition, a special dividend of one cent per share.

Brendan McDonagh, Butterfield’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “Our focus on improving shareholder value through disciplined management of capital and expenses while prudently investing in our core businesses to generate revenue growth and sustainable returns is showing results.

“By virtually all measures, Butterfield delivered enhanced value to shareholders. Building upon the significant improvements we achieved in 2013, we will continue to pursue business opportunities under this strategic course.

“The bank maintained strong capital ratios while actively managing and optimising its capital structure. In 2013, the Bank retired $53 million in subordinated capital, repurchased $20.3 million of common and preference shares and paid $38.5 million in common dividends to shareholders, declaring interim dividends each quarter.”

The bank managed to cut core, non-interest expenses by $18.1 million, or 6.7 percent.

However, the struggles of borrowers in the lingering, five-year recession were evident in the bank’s loan book. Non-performing loans past due by 90 days or more totalled $116.6 million at the end of last year. This was down by $25.1 million, mainly due to $15.4 million of charge-offs on commercial mortgages not considered recoverable and repayment of residential mortgages, result in a net decrease of $9.6 million in non-performing residential mortgages.

Butterfield’s total loan book grew by $132.3 million to $4.1 billion. Commercial loans grew by $84.9 million, while residential loans climbed $52.1 million, primarily in the bank’s European operations.

The bank’s Bermuda operations booked net income of $33.8 million in 2013, an increase of nearly 35 percent, or $8.7 million compared to 2012. The increase in profit in Bermuda was achieved despite a $3.8 million fall in revenue, “due principally to cost management initiatives and higher income from our investment portfolio”.

Non-interest expenses totalled $152.3 million in Bermuda, down $12.5 million from 2012, “due to reduced headcount, a reduction in senior management compensation, savings from technology, and other expense management initiatives”, the bank said.

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