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Cadence pulling back loan growth; shares fall 12%

Houston-based Cadence Bancorp. expects moderate loan growth in the mid-single-digit range for 2020, management said on the bank's third-quarter earnings call.

This is a "material change in the trajectory of our growth" from prior years, said CEO Paul Murphy. "It's appropriate and it's largely by design."

The bank has experienced issues with credit quality recently, particularly in its restaurant, leveraged loans and energy portfolios. The bank's net charge-offs for the third quarter were $31.3 million, compared to only $3.1 million in the year-ago quarter. The bank's stock fell 12.2% when the market opened after it reported earnings.

The bank had one commercial and industrial credit charged off where the borrower experienced "liquidity pressure" and had to do a "highly distressed sale," bank management said. Despite the large size of the distressed credit, management said it was one-off event that is not present in other loans at the bank.

Despite its recent issues with credit quality, Cadence will be able to grow loans in new geographic areas, including Atlanta and Dallas, management said.

"We're certainly being cautious," President Samuel Tortorici added on the call.