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Before Mark begins with his remarks, I would like to read our safe harbor statement.
Our discussion today will include information about our management's view of our future expectations, plans and prospects that constitute forward-looking statements.
Despite modest local economic growth and intense competition for loans, our mid-single-digit organic growth demonstrates the combination of our continuing ability to take good market share, balanced with our disciplined approach to pricing and underwriting.
Credit quality remains strong, with problem loans, non-performing loans and total Non-performing Assets all at low historical levels and improving modestly over the prior quarter.
The quarter was also very clean, with approximately 0,000 of non-cash debt issuance costs, and 0,000 of realized securities gains; such that the reported and core results were nearly equivalent, with core results being slightly better than our reported earnings because of minimal merger-related expenses in the quarter.
The strength and clarity of our results reflects WSFS' delivering on our goal that 2017 would be a year to focus on and optimize prior investments, including recent years' acquisitions.
We did face some challenges in the quarter, and our results were a couple pennies short of even our own expectations.
Expenses were a bit elevated due to the acquisition earn-out accruals and legal costs from some legacy trust matters.
Core expense growth to support the franchise was million or well less than the .3 million in core net revenue growth, demonstrating improved efficiency, and this dynamic was one major factor in helping propel the strong 25% core EPS growth over last year.
Core fee income performance was again a standout in the quarter, growing 19% over the same quarter last year including 13 percentage points coming from organic growth.
Some business lines, like Wealth, grew strongly and covered the softness in other fee areas; and the diversity of sources demonstrates the strength of our fee-heavy business model.
With me on this call are Mark Turner, President and CEO; Steve Clark, Chief Commercial Banking Officer; and Rick Wright, Chief Retail Banking Officer.
Both Rodger Levenson, Chief Operating Officer; and Paul Geraghty, Chief Wealth Officer, who usually participate, are out on other banking business and are unable to join us on the call today.