Growth top of the agenda in banks’ upcoming quarterly financials

Since the onset of the financial crisis in the second half of 2008, much of the coverage of banks’ quarterly financials has focused on the quality of their loan books. With key credit quality metrics starting to come under control, banks have reported profitability growth in recent quarters, with much of the profitability coming from lower provisions for loan losses.  With credit quality metrics starting to return to normalized levels, the focus of attention is now starting to shift towards revenue generation (both net interest income and noninterest income).

Net interest income of course is dependent on loan growth, as well as the net interest margin.  For many banks, the net interest margin has risen in recent quarters, as the deposit mix has shifted to non-interest and low-interest deposits.  However, banks now also need to show evidence that of growth in their loan portfolios.   Leading bank card issuers have indicated that credit card outstandings will grow in 2011.  In recent quarters, banks have reported significant growth in small business loan originations (although overall small business loan portfolios continue to shrink).   And banks are indicating growth in other lending categories, such as auto lending.  So, for 1Q11 financials, industry experts will be looking closely at banks’ loan portfolio details to find evidence of loan growth.  They will also be listening closely to bank executive statements on the prospects for loan growth for the remainder of 2011.

Industry observes will also be looking at noninterest revenue closely, focusing on overall revenue growth, composition of noninterest revenue and statements by bank executives on their plans to accelerate noninterest revenue growth in the coming quarters.