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US Bancorp sees paydowns 'diminishing in intensity'

U.S. Bancorp's loan paydowns, which picked up in late 2017 and earlier this year, are starting to moderate.

"Before tax reform, a lot of commercial real estate developers were de-risking ... and they were paying down," said CEO Andrew Cecere on an earnings call. The bank is "optimistic that this is an inflection point ... the paydowns that we saw earlier in the year [are] at least starting to slow."

"While paydown activity remains a headwind, it is gradually diminishing in intensity," said CFO Terrance Dolan.

U.S. Bancorp reported a 0.9% increase in loans from the second quarter and a 1.8% increase on a year-over-year basis, excluding the selloff of a student loan portfolio.

The bank expects loan growth to "get a little stronger" in the fourth quarter and into 2019, according to Cecere. "As investment spending gains traction and companies work through their cash balances and tax repatriation, we expect commercial loan growth to continue to improve," said Dolan.

Average deposits were down by 1.4% from the second quarter and 1.5% year over year, compared to a 1.1% year-over-year increase in deposits in the second quarter, and a 5.2% year-over-year increase in deposits in the third quarter of 2017. Dolan said that, on a year-over-year basis, the decline was "nearly 100%" due to the migration of one large financial customer that was the target of an acquisition.

The bank anticipated the move and had taken it into account in its net interest margin and asset liability modeling, according to Dolan. The bank's "consumer deposits are growing," said Dolan. "When we think about 2019, we do expect growth in deposits," he said.