First Horizon National Corp. said Monday that it will pull out of national home building and commercial real estate lending everywhere except in Tennessee and a few other parts of the Southeast.
The move came a little more than a week after the Memphis-based banking company boosted loan loss reserves, largely related to real estate loan problems, and cut the dividend on the company's stock.
Company executives said then that they planned to cut the home and real estate finance businesses.
"This is the next step in our continued effort to refocus on our regional banking franchise [First Tennessee Bank] in the Southeast and Tennessee," said Dave Miller, investor relations officer.
Any cutbacks in the company won't be in Memphis -- they're more likely, over the course of the year, to be in places like First Horizon Mortgage headquarters in Dallas and in some of the 40 branch offices outside Tennessee and the Southeast, Miller said.
This follows the sale of 34 bank branches First Horizon opened, starting three years ago, in Atlanta, Dallas and Washington, D.C.
The moves won't have a major impact on First Horizon's finances, he said.
"This announcement comes as no surprise, and we expect to see a likely announcement related to the potential sale of the MSR [mortgage servicing rights] assets and/or the complete mortgage business in the coming months," said Robert Patten, analyst in New York for Memphis-based Morgan Keegan & Co.
"We remain convinced we'd like to see the mortgage business and our exposure to it reduced over time," Miller said.
But while talking about the company's fourth-quarter losses and strategy on Jan. 18, First Horizon CEO Jerry Baker said: "Mortgages are something, obviously, we'll always be involved in."
He did say First Horizon leaders would take seriously any compelling offer for the whole division.
Patten didn't change his profit estimates for the company -- $1.25 a share this year, $1.65 in 2009.
But he said the lending cutback was "overall a positive for the stock."
11 лет назад