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First Horizon (FHN) Delays IBERIABANK Integration, Ups Cost View

First Horizon Corporation FHN announced that it will postpone the final stage of the IBERIABANK operating system conversion and rebranding by four months until first-quarter 2022, in light of additional challenges in its day-to-day operations caused by Hurricane Ida.

Management is of the view that the delay will ease banking for clients as they will not have to change banking resources in these challenging times. When deployed, the banking platform is likely to enhance First Horizon’s operations and efficiency.

With the delay, the company has revised its integration cost expectation related to the same. It predicts pre-tax merger integration costs of $520-$530 million, reflecting a rise of $20-$30 million from that mentioned previously. This is likely to inflate expenses recorded in its Corporate segment.

Higher integration costs primarily relate to the cost of running old systems for additional four months, higher third-party assistance and administrative costs.

Also, the timeline to achieve its pre-tax annualized merger cost saving of $200 million has been pushed to fourth-quarter 2022 from the first half of 2022. In second-quarter 2021, it achieved $92 million of total annualized cost savings. It has estimated $115 million of savings for 2021.

Around $20 million of identified annualized revenue synergies are related to commercial loans and mortgage/wealth operations.

The hurricane has also compelled First Horizon to close its banking centers. Of the 27 banking centers it operates in the affected region, only 33% or nine centers across New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houma remain open. The company expects to recover another four centers in the upcoming days.

However, the shutdown has not likely resulted in disruptions in banking operations, given the increase in clients’ utilization of digital capabilities to transact as well as purchase products and services.

Given its expanded footprint due to the IBERIABANK merger and the reduced need for physical centers amid the pandemic, the company is making efforts to optimize its banking center network. Consequently, it is accelerating banking center closures in certain markets. First Horizon closed 52 banking centers in July 2021. It expects to close an additional 20 banking centers in fourth-quarter 2021. Such footprint rationalization efforts are likely to reduce the company’s operating costs and alleviate the bottom-line pressure.

Shares of the company have jumped 65.5% over the past year compared with 41.1% growth recorded by the industry.


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First Horizon currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Stocks to Consider

A few better-ranked stocks from the banking space are mentioned below.

First Business Financial Services, Inc.’s FBIZ earnings estimates for the current year have moved up 4% over the past 30 days. At present, it has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Farmers National Banc Corp’s FMNB earnings estimates for the current year have moved 12.6% upward over the past 30 days. The company currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1.

Civista Bancshares, Inc. CIVB carries a Zacks Rank of 2 at present. Its earnings estimates for the current year have moved marginally upward over the past 30 days.

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First Business Financial Services, Inc. (FBIZ): Free Stock Analysis Report
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