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FLEET FINANCIAL GROUP REPORTS THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS OF $76.6 MILLION

FLEET FINANCIAL GROUP REPORTS THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS OF $76.6 MILLION
 PROVIDENCE, R.I., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Fleet Financial Group (NYSE: FLT) today reported third quarter net income of $76.6 million, or 49 cents per fully diluted share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to $9.1 million, or 1 cent per fully diluted share, in the third quarter of 1991(a), it was announced by Terrence Murray, chairman and chief executive officer.
 For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Fleet reported net income of $197.5 million, or $1.25 per fully diluted share, compared to $62.4 million, or 45 cents per fully diluted share, for the first nine months of 1991.
 "The third quarter was highlighted by continued building of momentum in a number of key areas," Murray said. "Net income increased for the fourth consecutive quarter and nonperforming assets trended down for the third consecutive quarter, being reduced by almost $200 million since Jan. 1."
 As previously announced, third quarter results included two non- recurring items: a gain of $121 million (pre-tax) in connection with the Aug. 7 public sale of approximately 19 percent of the stock of Fleet Mortgage Group, Inc., the company's mortgage banking subsidiary; and a special provision of $115 million(pre tax) relating to a potential bulk sale of problem assets of up to $500 million.
 Nonperforming assets were reduced $90 million during the quarter, to $1.424 billion at Sept. 30, 1992. Loan loss reserves rose to $1.067 billion at Sept. 30 (4.02 percent of loans), up from $1.062 billion at June 30, 1992 and $958 million at Sept. 30, 1991.
 Murray also noted that non interest expenses, excluding the non- recurring charge for the sale of problem assets, were reduced from $562 million in 1992's second quarter to $534 million in the third quarter. Earnings By Group
 The New England Banking Group, continuing an improving earnings trend in 1992, contributed $42 million to Fleet's third quarter net income, compared to a loss of $33 million in 1991's third quarter. Fleet's Massachusetts bank posted third quarter earnings of $21 million, while its Connecticut bank contributed $10 million to the corporation's earnings; the latter bank lost money in 1991's third quarter. Fleet's Rhode Island bank recorded its first profit in eight quarters, $8 million, and earnings also showed strong improvement over year-earlier results at Fleet's banks in Maine and New Hampshire.
 The New York Banking Group earned $23 million, compared to $21 million in last year's third quarter, with upstate New York bank contributing $28 million to earnings. Fleet's Long Island Bank continued to reduce nonperforming assets, and as a result, its loss was less than in the past several quarters.
 The Financial Services Group earned $32 million, compared to $39 million in the third quarter of 1991. Fleet Mortgage Group, which earned $20 million a year ago, contributed $24 million to the corporation's earnings, an amount which reflects the corporation's sale of 19 percent of the Mortgage Group in August, 1992. Net Income Summary
 Net interest income on a fully taxable equivalent basis totaled $508 million for 1992's third quarter, compared to $408 million in the comparable period of 1991. The net interest margin was 4.83 percent compared to 4.82 percent in the prior quarter and 3.94 percent for the third quarter of 1991.
 The credit loss provision in the third quarter of 1992 was $107 million, vs. $127 million in 1991's third quarter, while third quarter net chargeoffs were $102 million, compared to $100 million in the third quarter a year ago.
 Noninterest income in the third quarter increased 27 percent to $411 million, primarily due to the $121 million gain on the partial sale of Fleet Mortgage Group, an amount which was offset in part by reduced gains on sales of securities. Third quarter results include $12 million of securities gains, compared to $64 million in the same period of 1991.
 Noninterest expense totaled $649 million ($534 million before the non-recurring provision for the potential sale of problem assets) in the third quarter of 1992, compared to the $581 million ($488 million before one-time BNE consolidation charges of $93 million) reported for the third quarter of 1991, a quarter which, as noted, partially reflected the purchase of BNE in July 1991. Higher 1992 expenses reflected higher incentive compensation at Fleet Mortgage related to increased volume and the fact that the third quarter 1991 included expenses from BNE only from the date of purchase. Balance Sheet
 Total assets at Sept. 30, 1992, were $45 billion, while total loans and leases were $27 billion at the same date.
 Including dual convertible preferred stock, Fleet Financial Group's equity was $2.9 billion and its equity to assets ratio as of Sept. 30 was 6.49 percent. The corporation's tier one risk-based capital ratio was approximately 10.6 percent, compared to 9.35 percent at Sept. 30, 1991.
 As a result of accounting comments which had been made by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Fleet's recently filed shelf registration statements, the company has reclassified its "investment portfolio securities" to "securities held for sale." Fleet had previously reported on June 30, 1992, approximately $3.6 billion in the securities held for sale category, but has now chosen to reclassify substantially all of its investment portfolio securities as securities held for sale for all reporting periods since Dec. 31, 1991. Securities held for sale will continue to be accounted for at the lower of cost or market. These restatements do not affect earnings for any period.
 Fleet Financial Group is a diversified financial services company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: FLT) with approximately 1,300 offices nationwide. Its lines of business include commercial and consumer banking, mortgage banking, consumer finance, asset-based lending, investment management and student loan processing.
 Detailed Financial Schedules are available via tax or mail upon request to Fleet Corporate Communications, 401-278-6242
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 NOTE TO EDITORS: (a) On July 14, 1991, Fleet acquired the assets and liabilities of the former Bank of New England (BNE) banking franchise from the FDIC. Accordingly, third quarter and year-to-date 1991 results of operations are included for only the period owned by Fleet.
 -0- 10/21/92
 /CONTACT: Robert W. Lougee, Jr., 401-278-5879, Thomas L. Lavelle, 401-278-3003, Bruce P. Crooks, 401-278-6241, Judith B. Ragge, 401-278- 6444, all of Fleet Financial Group/
 (FLT) CO: Fleet Financial Group ST: Rhode Island IN: FIN SU: ERN


CH -- NE008 -- 2877 10/21/92 12:10 EDT
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Date:Oct 21, 1992
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