Whitney Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: WTNY) is a bank holding company headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. The company had over $11.8 billion in total assets at the end of 2009 and generates over 80% of its total revenues through loan interest. In 2009, over half of Whitney's loan portfolio was based in Louisiana, where most loans were of commercial, financial, or agricultural nature.
While WTNY's lending strategy has not included the issuance of sub-prime home mortgage loans and no securities in the company's investment portfolio have been tied to sub-prime mortgages, it suffered severely increased loan charge-offs in 2008 and opted to receive TARP funds from the United States Treasury. In the deal executed on December 19, 2008, WTNY received $300 million from the Treasury in exchange for an equivalent amount of preferred stock. As of March 2010, Whitney has yet to repay its TARP funding.
Additionally, WTNY has encountered turbulence associated with severe weather in the Gulf Coast region and hurricane season. In Q3 2008, for example, hurricanes Gustav and Ike cost the firm $2.1 million. Hurricane Katrina and other 2005 storms forced Whitney to spend approximately $22 million on storm-related expenses from 2005 to 2007 and the company did not realize insurance coverage gains for these storms until Q3 2008.
WTNY's net interest income has been in steady decline since the end of FY 2006. In Q3 2008, net income was only $7.0 million, down 95.3% from the end of 2007 on an annualized basis. Net interest income declined from $445m to $443m from 2008 to 2009. Sinking net interest revenue and net interest margin over the same period shows that WTNY's all-important loan portfolio is losing profitability because of increased loan charge-offs even as interest rates drop to historic lows.
Whitney Holding Corporation is a holding company that operates Whitney National Bank. WTNY focuses on generating interest revenue with its $8.4 billion loan portfolio but also generates some income through administrative fees and charges. WTNY provides its banking services throughout the Gulf-coast region in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. It also operates a branch on Grand Cayman in the British West Indies.
During the first three quarters of 2008, WTNY saw an exponential increase in loan charge-offs and a decrease in its net interest margin in the wake of the credit crisis. As more loans default and interest rates make drastic swings, WTNY has seen the value of its loans decrease and interest revenue dry up; in Q1 2010, the company actually realized a net loss of $10.3 million: a meager -0.22% return on average assets.
The large majority of WTNY's income comes from interest income, which totaled $519 million in 2009. Noninterest income (attributable mainly to service charges, bank card fees, and trust service fees) in the same year accounted for only $120 million, or less than 20% of interest income.
In 2009, net interest income fell 0.48% as net interest margin dropped from 4.55% to 4.12%. As a result of lower revenues and thinning margins, WTNY incurred a $78 million loss in 2009 after generating a $58 million profit in 2008.
The majority of WTNY's loan portfolio is comprised of commercial real estate loans, which account for $2.7 billion, or 33% of the portfolio, along with $3.9 billion in various commercial and industrial loans, which account for 49% of the portfolio. General commercial, financial, and agricultural loans were valued at $3.1 billion, or 38% of the total portfolio. Over half of the WTNY loan portfolio - $4.6 billion - is based in Louisiana.
Whitney's revenue stream can be broken into two sources: interest income and noninterest income.
Interest Income (81.0% of total revenue): Generating $519.3 million in 2009, interest income is WTNY's primary source of revenue. In 2009, interest income came from:
Noninterest Income (19.0% of total revenue): In 2009, WTNY generated only $120.0 million from noninterest operations. These include:
WTNY's Florida and coastal Alabama operating regions have fallen under severe stress; this increases default rates for loans in those areas and increases the likelihood that the value of collected loan collateral is insufficient to prevent losses for WTNY. In Q3 2008, loans secured by residential-related real estate in Florida and coastal Alabama comprised approximately 9% of WTNY's overall loan portfolio. Increased defaults and lost value in these loans and the rest of the loan portfolio drove annualized net charge-offs to average loans from 0.11% in 2007 to a peak of 2.86% by the third quarter of 2009. Net charge-offs have since declined to 1.81% in 2010 Quarter 1.
Whitney has chosen to receive TARP funds from the United States Treasury. It completed a transaction on December 19, 2008, when it sold $300 million in preferred stock to the Treasury and issued a 10-year warrant granting the purchase of up to 2,631,579 shares of common stock While this provides Whitney with extra capital that helps its business operations, the company has to pay the Treasury a 5% dividend on its preferred stock for the first five years after its issuance and 9% each year thereafter. WTNY can cancel this payment if it redeems the preferred stock by paying 100% of the issue price and cumulative dividends owed after regulatory approval (which cannot be granted for at least three years). As of March 2010, Whitney has yet to repay its TARP funding.
The storms that have hit the Gulf Coast region in the past - especially Katrina and others in 2005 - have seriously disrupted normal economic activity; this change in economic climate affects Whitney's loan recovery and incurs its own expenses. Hurricane Katrina forced Whitney to operate in "disaster response mode," under which it incurred unforeseen expenses for things like the establishment of back-up data processing centers, the lease of temporary facilities and equipment, temporary housing for employees, and the implementation of emergency communication with Whitney's customers. Additionally, WTNY facilities and their contents were damaged and income from excess office space rental and parking facilities was disrupted. Expenses related only to this year's storms totaled $4.4 million in 2005, $16 million in 2006, and $2 million in 2007. The 2005 storms were also a major reason for the $38 million provision for credit losses in 2005. In 2008, however, the company realized a $31.3 million gain from insurance claims related to the 2005 storms.
Whitney Holding Corporation competes for client deposits and loan sales with other nearby regional banks as well as larger banks that operate in its markets.
Notable regional bank competitors are: