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 RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Signet Banking Corporation (NYSE: SBK) today announced third quarter earnings of $45.8 million, an increase of 60 percent from $28.6 million a year earlier, and earnings of $124.5 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, up 61 percent from $77.4 million last year.
 Net income per share for the 1993 third quarter was 80 cents, an increase of 57 percent from 51 cents last year, and $2.19 for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, up 56 percent from $1.40 for the prior year. Historical per share data has been adjusted to reflect the two- for-one common stock split declared on June 23, 1993 and distributed July 27, 1993.
 "The 1993 third quarter and year-to-date earnings growth resulted from the combination of higher net interest income and increased non- interest revenue driven primarily by the significant growth in the credit card portfolio," said Robert M. Freeman, chairman and chief executive officer. "Additionally, improved credit quality and lower charge-offs resulted in reduced levels of loan loss provisions."
 The return on assets (ROA) was 1.51 percent for the 1993 third quarter and 1.43 percent for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993, while the return on common stockholders' equity (ROE) was 20.02 percent and 19.08 percent for the same respective periods.
 At Sept. 30, 1993, Signet's common equity reached 7.92 percent of assets, a considerable increase from the 6.91 percent reported 12 months earlier.
 Non-performing assets declined for the eighth consecutive quarter and totaled $114.5 million at Sept. 30, 1993, or 1.97 percent of loans and foreclosed properties. The level of non-performing assets was down by $15.2 million from the previous quarter and $128.0 million from the third quarter of 1992. The company attributes the reduction in non- performing assets to its aggressive initiatives to manage asset quality and continuing progress in the disposition of non-performing assets in the liquidating real estate portfolio.
 The allowance for loan losses amounted to $254.7 million, or 4.42 percent of loans, at Sept. 30, 1993, compared with $295.8 million, or 5.45 percent, at Sept. 30, 1992. The allowance at the end of the 1993 third quarter equaled 471 percent of non-performing loans and 222 percent of non-performing assets.
 Net interest income increased $34.7 million, or 33 percent, for the quarter and $82.0 million, or 26 percent, for the first nine months of 1993 from the corresponding periods in 1992. The higher level of net interest income was generated primarily by tremendous growth in credit card loans and lower funding costs.
 The net yield margin was 5.21 percent for the quarter, up 79 basis points from the same quarter last year, and 18 basis points from the previous quarter. The margin benefited from an improved mix of earning assets, especially a higher proportion of credit card receivables, reduced levels of lower-yielding temporary investments (excluding loans held for sale), and a favorable rate environment.
 Reflecting continued improvement in asset quality and the strength of Signet's allowance for loan losses, the loan loss provision for the third quarter and the first nine months of 1993 declined 11 percent and 31 percent, respectively, from the corresponding periods last year. Net charge-offs were $14.5 million for the quarter and $44.9 million for the first nine months of 1993, down substantially from $19.1 million and $87.0 million for the same periods in 1992. The dollar amount of net charge-offs in the credit card portfolio continued to decline in spite of the vigorous growth in outstandings.
 Non-interest income totaled $85.5 million for the third quarter and $243.3 million for the nine-month period, representing respective increases of 19 percent and 21 percent. Non-interest operating income increased 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively, over the quarter and the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1992. Third quarter income from credit card service charges grew 152 percent while mortgage originations and servicing fees increased 46 percent over 1992 levels.
 Non-interest expense for the quarter rose $21.0 million, or 17 percent, from the 1992 level, and $64.4 million, or 18 percent, for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993. Higher operating costs in both periods are largely attributable to the growth of the credit card business and are reflected in increased staffing and marketing expense. Excluding expenses incurred by the card business, all other expenses for the quarter were up less than 1 percent year over year.
 Total assets at Sept. 30, 1993 amounted to $11.7 billion compared with $11.6 billion at Sept. 30, 1992 and $12.0 billion at June 30, 1993. Total loans (net of unearned income) of $5.8 billion increased 6 percent from the end of the third quarter of 1992, but decreased slightly from the second quarter. Total deposits of $7.8 billion were up a modest 1 percent from the third quarter of 1992, and relatively unchanged from the previous quarter.
 The reduced level of loans and total assets is the result of the company's asset securitization program. On Sept. 30, 1993, the company securitized $1.2 billion of credit card receivables which had been classified as loans held for sale (temporary investments). The company expects to securitize additional credit card receivables during the fourth quarter and has classified $750 million of credit card loans as held for sale in anticipation of that event. Adjusting for the effects of securitization, credit card loans grew at an annualized rate of 104 percent during the quarter, as the company added $882 million of receivables to its portfolio. Total managed card receivables reached $4.3 billion and consisted of $2.2 billion in securitized assets, $1.3 billion of loans on the balance sheet, and $750 million of loans held for sale.
 Signet Banking Corporation, with $11.7 billion in assets, serves commercial and individual customers through 239 regional offices located in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, and a 24- hour full-service Telephone Banking Center. The company provides the full array of investment, credit, cash management, and general banking products and services to corporate, institutional, and individual customers, and has gained national prominence as an issuer and servicer of credit card loans.
 -0- 10/18/93
 /CONTACT: Teri A. Temples, public relations director, Signet Banking Corporation, 804-771-7210/

CO: Signet Banking Corporation ST: Virginia IN: FIN SU: ERN

MH-PB -- DC007 -- 3129 10/18/93 07:35 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 18, 1993

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