Bridgeport bank’s lending totals drop
Published 4:04 pm, Thursday, April 20, 2017
Following the first of what could be a succession of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, People’s United Financial reported the first drop in years in its overall loan portfolio, while continuing upward momentum on its home turf of southwestern Connecticut.
People’s United Financial had $58 million less in loans outstanding in the first quarter of 2017 from three months earlier, dipping its total portfolio below the $29.5 billion mark.
People’s United reported net income of $70.8 million, up from $62.9 million in the first quarter of 2016.
People’s United released its quarterly results in advance of its annual meeting Wednesday morning at its Bridgeport headquarters. The company entered 2017 with about 5,175 employees, about three dozen more than a year earlier.
In Connecticut, People’s United increased lending by $12 million or 0.2 percent for $7.8 billion in loans on the street as of March 31. Over the same three months, the company accumulated $494 million in additional deposits in Connecticut, pushing its totals to $17.6 billion. For the first time as of March, People’s United deposits eclipsed the $30 billion mark.
As residential real estate continued its rebound, the bank increased mortgage lending by $271 million across all of its territories to nearly $6.5 billion. In a Thursday conference call, CEO Jack Barnes said the company sees continued opportunities for growth in its commercial lending.
“Our strongest market pipelines right now are in New York, particularly revolving around the new team we have there, and Connecticut, where we have a lot of long-standing strong relationships and again, a good solid pipeline,” Barnes said. “We always deal with pressure from a competitor that will do something that we’re are not willing to. ... Locally, smaller banks often are more aggressive with a borrower and a property that they feel they know very well and they will work hard to either keep or win that type of business — so, that’s our biggest challenge on the competitive front.”
People’s United should be in for another boost in the current second quarter, following its $400 million acquisition in early April of Suffolk Bancorp, giving it more than two dozen new branches on Long Island, N.Y., that will be converted in May to the People’s United brand and systems.
People’s United was not alone among major banks locally to see a decline in its overall loan balances — both Bank of America and Wells Fargo also reported slight drops in their lending portfolios in the first quarter, with JPMorgan Chase registering an increase.
People’s United attributed the drop in its total lending to its “mortgage warehouse” business that provides lines of credit to other mortgage lenders. Barnes attributed the decline to the “rate-driven nature” of that line of business.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-354-1047; www.twitter.com/casoulman