Western Alliance deposits stabilize, profits beat, shares rise after hours

(Reuters) -Western Alliance Bancorp on Tuesday posted stronger-than-expected earnings and said its deposits had stabilized after the March banking crisis, news that boosted its shares and other U.S. regional banks in after-hours trading.

The lender said total deposits fell 11.3% to $47.6 billion in the first quarter from the previous three months, but deposits steadied late in the quarter, growing $2 billion from March 31 to April 14.

“While we experienced elevated net deposit outflows immediately following the closure of other banks, deposit balances quickly stabilized,” said CEO Kenneth Vecchione in a statement.

The company said some 73% of its deposits were insured and immediately available liquidity exceeds uninsured deposits, it said. Its proportion of insured deposits was well above industry norms among the 50 largest U.S. banks.

Analysts at Bespoke Investment Group wrote in a research note that Western Alliance’s results were “another sign of stability for banks.”

Meanwhile, First Horizon Corp, a Tennessee-based lender being bought by TD Bank Group, reported quarterly adjusted earnings of 45 cents​​ per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ estimate of 47 cents.

First Horizon’s earnings “showed small misses… but in general, while the regional lender fell short of estimates it’s clearly not in the midst of a major crisis,” Bespoke wrote.

Western Alliance and other regional lenders came under pressure recently, with consumers moving money into bigger banks after the failure of two U.S. lenders triggered worries about a broader crisis and funding costs.

Last month, Western Alliance affirmed its full-year deposit growth forecast of 13% to 17%.

Western Alliance’s stock surged more than 15% after the closing bell. Among other regional banks that have been hammered in recent weeks, PacWest Bancorp shares surged 9% and Zions Bancorporation, First Republic Bank and Comerica Inc each rallied around 3%.

Net interest income for Western Alliance rose 36% from a year earlier to $609.9 million in the quarter ended March 31, reaping windfalls from higher interest payments, as U.S. banking heavyweights did.

Still, the lender reported a 5% decline in net interest income from the previous quarter due to an increase in average balances of short-term borrowings and interest bearing deposits.

A worsening economy prompted the lender to stockpile $19 million in rainy-day funds in the quarter, more than double a year earlier.

The lender reported a 3.6% rise in first-quarter adjusted profit from a year earlier to $2.30 per share, well above analysts’ average estimate of $2.04, according to Refinitiv data.

(Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru and Nupur Anand in New York; Additional reporting by Noel Randewich in San Franciso and Megan Davies; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Lananh Nguyen, David Gregorio and Sonali Paul)