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Zions sees net earnings slip YOY in Q4'19 on 'comparatively flat' loan volumes

Salt Lake City-based Zions Bancorp. NA reported net earnings applicable to common shareholders of $174 million, or 97 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to $217 million, or $1.08 per share, for the same period in 2018.

The S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus GAAP EPS estimate for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $1.04.

In a news release, Zions Chairman and CEO Harris Simmons said fourth-quarter 2019 earnings were dampened by "comparatively flat" loan volumes and $37 million in severance and restructuring charges to facilitate a cost reduction initiative that will largely take effect during the first quarter of 2020. The company also reported a $10 million expense related to the resolution of a self-identified operational issue and a $6 million derivative valuation gain on client-related interest rate swaps.

Net interest income decreased to $559 million from $576 million. Net interest margin for the quarter was 3.46%, compared to 3.67% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Loans and leases, net of unearned income and fees, increased to $48.71 billion at Dec. 31, 2019, from $46.71 billion at Dec. 31, 2018.

For full year 2019, net earnings applicable to common shareholders totaled $782 million, or $4.16 per share, compared to $850 million, or $4.08 per share, for full year 2018.

The S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus GAAP EPS estimate for 2019 was $4.26.