Comerica Inc Earnings Call Nuggets: 2012 Loan Outlook, Mortgage Banking

On Tuesday, Comerica Inc (NYSE:CMA) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

2012 Loan Outlook

Conner Fitzgerald – Bank of America Merrill Lynch: This is (Conner Fitzgerald) for Erica. Just on your guidance quickly for the outlook for average loans to increase moderately which like you said you didn’t change. Just because 1Q ’12 was pretty strong, was there any pull forward there, or do you expect kind of growth to temper of in the second half of 2012?

Lars C. Anderson – Vice Chairman, The Business Bank: I think that was Conner and I apologize again for my laryngitis to everybody. Obviously we had a very strong quarter in particularly in commercial loan growth, up 5%, 1.2 billion. The growth was very broad based across a lot of our major markets and most of our businesses. We feel very good about our momentum as we look forward into the second quarter, but we are expecting a moderate average growth for 2012 and that’s given the backdrop of a continued weak economic environment. We also have to keep in mind that we do have some businesses with some variability, Conner, for example dealers tend to build their inventories in spring and sell them down in the summer, so there is some seasonality there and of course mortgage banking finance you’ve seen, there are some variability as mortgage rates continue to change that can certainly impact the outstandings of our portfolio as we head through the balance of the year, but again I point out that we do have very nice momentum. Our Commercial Real Estate commitment is up. Energy commitment is up. Middle Market and it’s very broad-based. So, we feel good about the balance of the year.

Mortgage Banking

Ken Zerbe – Morgan Stanley: Two quick questions here, but first of all in terms of mortgage banking I saw balance was ere down, but did higher mortgage banking fees contribute to the non-interest income this quarter?

Karen L. Parkhill – Vice Chairman and CFO: We did see fee increases and commercial lending increase and in Mortgage Banker that obviously contributed a little bit.

Ken Zerbe – Morgan Stanley: Just the other question on, what is your outlook for reducing your excess liquidity going forward? It looks like you’re able to bring that down a bit this quarter?

Karen L. Parkhill – Vice Chairman and CFO: We did bring it down; it’s now ending under $3 billion on excess liquidity. Clearly, that is a factor of loan growth going forward. Hard to give an outlook. Loan and deposit growth obviously.