Huntington National Bank's sale of its proprietary mutual fund business took a severe toll on its trust services unit, according to the bank's first-quarter results released on Wednesday.
First-quarter revenue from trust services slid 21% to $23 million from $29 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue was also down 10% from the prior quarter.
The headwinds in trust services income was primarily due to the sale of Huntington Asset Advisors and two related mutual fund services subsidiaries in the fourth quarter of 2015, the bank's CFO Mac McCullough explained during the earnings call on Wednesday.
The sale will allow the bank to "focus on the core wealth business and continue to reposition the regional banking and Huntington Private Client Group segment for better growth and returns in coming quarters," McCullough said on an earlier earnings call in January. He anticipated the sale of the businesses to reduce noninterest income by about $14 million in 2016, primarily in the trust services line.
The bank's decision is consistent with many other banks that have been shedding their in-house mutual fund businesses over the last several years in an effort to eliminate conflicts of interest. The trend is expected to accelerate in the wake of the Labor Department's fiduciary rule released this month.
The bank's other wealth management-related business posted mediocre results. The retail brokerage unit generated $16 million in first-quarter revenue, flat from a year ago. Its insurance services unit brought in another $16 million, up a modest 2% year-over-year. Revenue was up 7% and 4%, respectively, from the prior quarter.
Overall, Huntington Bancshares, the parent of Huntington National Bank, earned $171 million, or 20 cents per common share, in the first quarter, compared with $166 million, or 19 cents per common share, in the same quarter a year ago.
"We're off to a good start in 2016 as our first-quarter results provided a solid base to build from," Steve Steinour, Huntington's chairman, president and CEO, said during the call. "We are well positioned to continue to deliver good results through the remainder of the year."