Mortgage Woes Drive $248.6 Million Q4 Loss at First Horizon
Memphis-based First Horizon National Corp. on Thursday posted a net loss of $248.6 million, or $1.97 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter as mortgage woes pulled at the bank's bottom line. Rising loan-loss reserves, a reduction in the value of mortgage servicing rights and charges stemming from an earnings enhancement plan all contributed to the loss, First Horizon said. The bank also reduced its dividend by 56 percent to 20 cents per share. Loan loss reserves increased $107 million to $353 million during the fourth quarter, First Horizon said, as the bank bolstered itself for increased losses stemming from an extended downturn in the U.S. housing market. The bank provisioned $156 million during the quarter against net charge-off activity of $54.8 million -- it's worth noting that charge-offs jumped dramatically during the fourth quarter from $35.8 million in Q3. Residential non-performing assets continued to increase as well, rising 26 percent in the fourth quarter and more than doubling NPA volume from one year earlier. First Horizon saw the value of its servicing rights drop by more than 20 percent on a quarter-to-quarter basis to $1.16 billion, as the bank said its servicing assets reflected lower values "from observable market inputs." The drop in MSR valuation contrasts sharply with an earlier earnings report from JPMorgan, which had boosted the value of its servicing rights by nearly $500 million as the Wall Street firm estimated a significant drop in prepayment activity. For more information, please visit http://www.fhnc.com.