Webster Financial Earnings Call INSIGHTS: Mindful Commercial Banking, Sizing Up the Loan Pipeline

On Friday, Webster Financial Corp (NYSE:WBS) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Mindful Commercial Banking

Bob Ramsey – FBR Capital Markets: I was a little curious (indiscernible) your commercial loan yield actually seemed to take a little bit higher this quarter and I was wondering if there was anything sort of one-time or sort of how you are able to manage that?

James C. Smith – Chairman and CEO: I hope you could see the theme throughout the call of the sense of pricing discipline, every relationship has to be measured against its return on that relationship against the capital that supports it. The commercial bank in particular is extremely mindful of its responsibility to generate profitable relationships, and I think that’s a lot of what we’re seeing. I also think that the market has been fairly responsible. We haven’t seen wild moves toward unrealistic pricing. There’s been a little bit of pressure here and there, but on balance we’re pleased with the discipline that we’ve seen overall in the market, but I credit this a lot to Joe Savage and his commercial banking team that have worked extraordinarily hard to make sure that everybody appreciates how important it is to gauge each relationship based on its ultimate value.

Bob Ramsey – FBR Capital Markets: I also was hoping maybe you could touch a little bit on the securities book, I know you all mentioned on the call a couple times sort of the challenge of securities prepayments, particularly as rates continue to fall. Obviously you are keeping a pretty short duration book. What you are doing to try and minimize the impact of securities prepayments and hold on to the yield that you have?

James C. Smith – Chairman and CEO: I think Bob, it’s (kind of) a lot of what we’ve been buying on the CMBS side has been structured such that we can minimize prepayment risk and treasury function has been very successful in looking at buying securities that have limited prepayment risk as a result of the size of the loan, as a result of geography, and that’s sort of been paying off in the last two quarters.

Sizing Up the Loan Pipeline

Mark Fitzgibbon – Sandler O’Neill & Partners: I wondered if you can share with us the size of the loan pipeline and what the complexion of that looks like?

James C. Smith – Chairman and CEO: Glenn, you are going take that.

Glenn I. Maclnnes – CFO, Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporation: I gave comments throughout but the pipeline on the commercial side is around $365 million. I think pretty much across the board we’re a little bit lower quarter-to-quarter in CRE because they had such a great second quarter in terms of origination volume, but were up significantly in all other lines of business there. Strong performance when you think about the way that the (BPB) team has rebuilt the pipeline. So we’re relatively comparable numbers, even though again they had one of the strongest origination quarters, actually I think as we reported one of the best quarters ever. I think the consumer finance team the pipeline is actually up quarter-over-quarter and as you could tell from the origination volumes that team did extremely well. And in WSA we’re up almost twice the pipeline that we have there, I think, again, strong primarily on the fact that we’ve added a number of business development officers there and that’s really starting to come through in the numbers.

Mark Fitzgibbon – Sandler O’Neill & Partners: And then also as it related to the margin I was curious how much wiggle room do you think you have to drive your deposit cost down from here I think your current cost is around 43 basis points.

Glenn I. Maclnnes – CFO, Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporation: Yeah, we think we have just a few 2 basis points or 3 basis points over the short-term and we continue to drive that down.

Mark Fitzgibbon – Sandler O’Neill & Partners: And then lastly in the press release you referenced at corporate finance products revenue what exactly is that?

Glenn I. Maclnnes – CFO, Webster Bank and Webster Financial Corporation: That’s client swap activity in the commercial side.