Comerica profit beats on loan growth

Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:49am EDT

(Reuters) - U.S. regional bank Comerica Inc (CMA.N) posted a second-quarter profit above analysts' expectations, helped by an increase in commercial loans and said it expects loan and non-interest income to grow due to its acquisition of Sterling Bancshares.

Comerica bought smaller rival Sterling last July for about $1 billion in stock to bolster its position in the oil-backed Texas market.

The company expects provision for credit losses and net charge-offs at or near the second-quarter levels for the rest of the year, Chief Financial Officer Karen Parkhill said on a conference call.

For the second quarter, provision for credit losses fell 58 percent to $19 million and charge-offs fell 50 percent to $45 million.

Larger banks JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) reported strong growth in their mortgage lending businesses and lower loan losses last week. Wells and JPMorgan also said charge-offs for bad loans declined.

Net income attributable to Comerica's common shareholders was $142 million, or 73 cents per share, while analysts expected the company to earn 62 cents per share.

Net interest income rose about 11 percent to $435 million. For the full year the company expects net interest income to increase 3 percent to 5 percent.

Total loans grew about 10 percent to $43.22 billion, boosted by about 20 percent growth in commercial loans.

The increase in commercial loans was broad-based with increases across nearly all of Comerica's businesses, Chief Executive Ralph Babb said on the call.

Comerica, which has operations in Arizona, Texas and California, continues to feel the pinch of a prolonged low interest rate environment. Net interest margin fell to 3.10 percent from 3.14 percent, a year earlier.

Comerica shares, which have gained about 43 percent since touching a low of $21.48 last September, were up slightly at $30.84 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Eileen Anupa Soreng in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)