IberiaBank to close nine branches

Lafayette-based IberiaBank Corp. will close or combine nine branches this year, although the locations of those offices have not been announced, company officials said Friday during a conference call with stock analysts and investors.

Closing branches is disappointing because people lose their jobs, but sometimes closures are needed, Chief Operating Officer Michael Brown said.

“We’ve taken small bites of this before, but again considering circumstances, a larger bite is necessary,” Brown said.

IberiaBank’s circumstances include first-quarter earnings that plummeted to $717,000, or 2 cents per share. A year earlier, the bank holding company reported earnings of $19.4 million, or 66 cents a share.

IberiaBank’s results included an after-tax charge of 70 cents per share — $32 million pre-tax — related to loans it acquired when IberiaBank took over four failed financial institutions from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. A major reason for the charge was that customers of the failed banks had begun paying their mortgages on time, according to IberiaBank.

IberiaBank had loss-share deals with the FDIC on those mortgages that would have allowed it to collect money on them quickly as troubled loans. With customers now making timely payments on the mortgages, IberiaBank will still make money on the loans, but the profit will come in over a much longer period of time over the normal life of the loans.

IberiaBank also took an after-tax hit of 12 cents per share by adopting a new accounting standard. The bank holding company also took an after-tax charge of 2 cents per share related to cost-saving moves that will eventually benefit the company by $20.7 million a year.

Those cost-saving moves include closing nine branches. Those closures follow four branch closures that IberiaBank made during the first quarter. IberiaBank now has 276 offices, including 181 branches in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Florida.

IberiaBank’s stock dipped $1.59 per share, or 3.2 percent, to close at $47.54 on Friday. More than 403,000 shares changed hands Friday, more than 2½ times the average trading volume.

Stock analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast first-quarter earnings of 79 cents per share.