6 takeaways from banks’ first quarter results


Bruce Van Saun, President and CEO of Citizens Financial Group, hit the nail on the head when he said that “we are sort of working through a transitional phase”.

He was referring to the regional bank’s mortgage fees falling after a strong year last year, but he could have generally spoken of the first quarter of the industry as a whole.

Bank profits have strengthened, but deposits continue to pile up, mortgage activity is cooling off somewhat after a very hot 2020, and mergers and acquisitions are accelerating in the banks’ quest for growth as the economy begins to recover from pandemic recession.

An increase in demand for commercial loans would solve some problems and ease the pressure on management, especially on new CEOs like Jane Fraser of Citigroup and Kevin Blair of Synovus Financial. Many executives have expressed confidence that loan growth is imminent, but others – including Bill Demchak, President and CEO of PNC Financial Services Group – say the timing of the rebound is much more difficult to predict. to stare.

A positive during the quarter was the widespread release of loan loss reserves. Nevertheless, the banks would like to have a better idea of ​​the pace of the recovery in the coming months.

Here are six takeaways from the first quarter 2021 results, all with an eye on the questions banks hope they can answer more clearly in three months.

Contributors to this card exhibition: Laura Alix, Jim Dobbs, Allissa Kline, Jon Prior, John Reosti, Paul Davis and Dean Anason.

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