Local Huntington Leaders Reflect on Record Earnings in 2022

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Huntington Bancshares Inc. announced Friday four positive quarters of growth in 2022, including a net income of $645 million, or 42 cents per share, for the fourth quarter.

Overall, the income increased $244 million, or 16 cents per common share, from the fourth quarter of 2021.

“The year was a really good year. We had four consecutive quarters of record earnings,” said Nick Browning, Huntington regional president for the Mahoning Valley, Akron and Canton region. “I think that that’s a reflection the TCF (Financial Corp.) acquisition has been very good for the combined organizations, and we have had quite a few other initiatives that have been growth initiatives that have served the client base well. I’m excited about the year.”

Sam Houston, Huntington community president for the Youngstown area, said locally the business community is showing “an absolute level of cautious optimism” with a lot of positive things going on. As examples, he includes the focus around electric vehicles with both Foxconn and Ultium Cells, as well as other innovative projects through the Youngstown Business Incubator and Bright Energy Innovators. Going forward, those projects should mean more workforce in 2023.

Houston said locally, business owners are being forced to be a little more forward thinking, and the number of people in the workforce is not growing, so businesses are looking at how to keep their employees and recruit others. Some are streamlining their efficiency and investing more in automation, which can work 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Browning said the biggest barrier for growth of many of Huntington’s regional clients continues to be workforce, with openings. Some industries continue to have some supply chain issues, but others are seeing improvement.

Businesses are continuing to invest. In the quarterly report, average total commercial loans and leases increased $1.8 billion, or 3%, and average total consumer loans increased $184 million from the prior quarter.

Even as interest rates have increased and there is talk about a recession, both men said Huntington is working to help local clients ride through the future. Browning notes there is more of a chance of recession now than 90 days ago, which means the bank has to factor that in, maintain cost control, manage expenses and be smart about where they are spending their money, including not investing in some areas and reinvesting in areas with growth opportunities.

Huntington’s annual report included efficiency strategies of optimizing its branch network, while closing 63 branches during 2022 and announcing an additional 31 branches in the first quarter of 2023. Earnings for the year were $1.45 per common share, an increase of 55 cents. Excluding the after-tax impact of notable items, adjusted earnings per common share were $1.50.

Pre-provision net revenue increased by $36 million, or 4%, in the fourth quarter to $893 million. In 2022, the PPNR increased $1.4 billion, or 88%, from the prior year to $3.1 billion.

“I think we do a really good, thoughtful job as a company throughout the year of just responding to current conditions, but also thinking longer-term,” Browning said, adding things remain optimistic, but they need to be ready in case that changes.

Huntington continues to help its business customers to be more efficient, utilize more banking tools and manage risks such as cyber security. Finally, Browning said there are a lot of business owners in the baby boomer generation considering transitions, and Huntington can help with that process as well.

“One of our core values is being really forward thinking, planning, and so we really help our clients do that,” Browning said, adding there will be an economic breakfast coming up to give business owners more information to make better decisions in 2023.

Huntington also works with its clients on financial literacy, budgeting, saving for retirement and home ownership issues, Browning said.

Houston said the repopulation strategy includes financial literacy, something the local Huntington Bank is really involved in, and doing some programming in the schools and with adults.

“We talk about looking out for people – it’s part of our brand,” Browning said. “Whether you are a colleague of the bank or you are a customer, we are really helping you as an individual to lead a better life.”

Locally, Houston said a number of Huntington’s employees are involved in United Way programs such as Saturday of Caring, a meal packing backpack program and Adopt a School. Additionally, Houston said they are involved in the Minority Owned Business Program through the Youngstown Business Incubator, something they have supported since its inception.

“I think we do business through our volunteerism in a way, because the Valley and all of these markets in the Midwest, it just seems that’s how folks come together,” Browning said. “These business owners, all of these professionals serve on these boards … and so you come together and you work on things that have nothing to do with your banking relationship. It really has to do with making your community a better community.”

Houston adds there are a lot of good things here in the Mahoning Valley, and Huntington continues to support those quality-of-life efforts like the Covelli Centre and the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.

“There are a lot of good things the Mahoning Valley has to offer,” Houston said. “I think it’s really a big part of bringing back the population in the community.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.