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Hancock Whitney expects net interest margin to fall again in Q4

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Hancock Whitney expects net interest margin to fall again in Q4

Hancock Whitney Corp. forecasts net interest margin falling 2 basis points to 4 basis points in the fourth quarter, CFO Michael Achary said during the company's third-quarter earnings call.

The Gulfport, Miss.-based bank reported NIM of 3.41% in the third quarter, compared with 3.45% in the previous quarter and 3.36% in the year-ago period. The guidance includes the impact of the Federal Reserve's rate cut in September and the expectation of an additional cut in the upcoming October meeting.

However, the CFO said Hancock Whitney usually sees an inflow of demand deposits in the fourth quarter, and the bank has paid down some of its borrowings, specifically brokered CDs.

"So that will kind of round out the guidance to the narrowing of 2 to 4," he explained.

When asked by an analyst whether the fourth-quarter NIM guidance includes accretion from the MidSouth deal or any other interest recoveries, Achary said "some level of accretion" has been built in the guidance, but it assumes no other specific recoveries. In the third quarter, interest recoveries boosted third-quarter NIM by 5 basis points.

The bank also expects the adoption of the current expected credit losses standard to increase the loan loss allowance by 20% to 30%. However, that figure does not take into account the MidSouth deal, management said.

In the third quarter, charges related to the bank's acquisition of MidSouth Bancorp Inc. dragged down third-quarter EPS by 26 cents, and the company's EPS of 77 cents fell short of consensus analyst estimates of 90 cents.