Salt Lake-based Zions Bancorp. on Tuesday reported a record increase in net income for 2004, including a 9.8 percent jump during the fourth quarter alone.
Net income for 2004 jumped 20.2 percent to a record $406 million, the bank reported. In 2003, the bank reported net income of $337.8 million.
For the fourth quarter of 2004, net income was $105 million, or $1.15 per diluted share, a 9.8 percent increase over the same quarter one year ago.
"We are very pleased with the record earnings for both the quarter and all of 2004," said Harris H. Simmons, Zions chairman and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "Continued strong loan growth, coupled with modest core deposit growth, good credit quality and an improving net interest margin, combined to produce strong revenue and earnings growth. We also experienced favorable changes in the mix of both earning assets and funding sources, which more than offset the challenges of a flattening yield curve."
Average loans and leases for the fourth quarter of 2004 were $21.9 billion, up 11.9 percent from the average balance of $19.5 billion for the same quarter a year ago, the bank reported. Average deposits for the quarter increased 11.4 percent over the fourth quarter of 2003, at $23.1 billion.
The average return on average common equity — a measure of how effectively a company is using its capital to generate profits — was 15.13 percent during the fourth quarter, up from 15.05 percent for the same period one year ago.
Zions also reported that its asset quality ratio, a measure of the financial strength and risk in a bank's assets, strengthened during the quarter. The ratio of its nonperforming assets to net loans and leases and the performance of its other real estate improved to 0.37 percent during the quarter, compared to 0.48 percent during fourth quarter 2003. According to the Zions report, the fourth quarter 2004 asset quality ration is "at its lowest point in the past 27 years."
Zions released its earnings report after markets closed Tuesday. Prior to the release, Zions shares rose 28 cents to close at $65.45 on Nasdaq. In the past year, they have ranged from $54.08 to $69.29.