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December 2016 rate hike could boost M&T margin by 10 basis points

M&T Bank Corp. saw incremental benefits from the Federal Reserve's December 2016 rate hike, and expects a further boost in the 2017 first quarter, according to company executive vice president and CFO, Darren King.

King told analysts and investors during a Jan. 19 earnings conference call that the company saw about a two-basis-point increase in its margin as a result of the hike, though he noted that it was "offset largely by core margin pressures." Still, King said the company expects "further benefit from a full quarter's impact," and added later that even if the Fed holds rates at current levels the company could still see "some expansion of the margin as the benefit ... becomes fully embedded in the run rate."

He added later in the call that the December rate hike could move M&T's net interest margin up by 6 basis points to 10 basis points in 2017.

M&T posted fourth-quarter 2016 net income available to common shareholders of $308 million, or $1.98 per share, it announced earlier Thursday. The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the period was $2.03.

King added during the call that the company could also continue to see some funding benefits as higher-cost deposits from its purchase of Hudson City Bancorp roll off its books or into lower-rate funding. "We think there's still some juice left there ... the re-pricing continues and the churn in that book continues," he said in response to an analyst question.

King also discussed the company's loan growth outlook for 2017, saying during the call that it is projecting net loan growth in "the mid-single-digit range."