PNC First-Quarter Profit Beats Estimates as Expenses Fall

(Bloomberg) -- PNC Financial Services Group Inc., the second-biggest U.S. regional bank, said profit rose 6.5%, beating analysts’ estimates, as expensesdeclined and the company set aside fewer provisions for soured loans.

First-quarter net income climbed to $1.06 billion, or $1.82 a share, from $995 million, or $1.74, a year earlier, according to a statement today from the Pittsburgh-based bank. The average estimate of 24 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for profit of $1.65 a share.

Chief Executive Officer Bill Demchak, 51, has cut jobs, consolidated branches and announced plans to reduce costs by $500 million this year to help counter weakness in mortgage banking, which made up about 7% of the bank’s total revenue last year. PNC was the second-best performer in the 24- company KBW Bank Index in the first quarter and received permission from the Federal Reserve last month to raise its quarterly dividend to 48 cents a share.

“We lowered expenses even as we continue to make investments across our businesses,” Demchak said today in the statement. “We were pleased to announce plans to return more capital to our shareholders through a 9% increase in our quarterly dividend and reinstituted share-repurchase programs.”

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