BB&T Fourth-Quarter Profit Rises 29% on Gains in Fee Revenue

BB&T Corp., North Carolina’s second-largest bank, said fourth-quarter profit rose 29 percent, beating analysts’ estimates, as revenue from fees increased.

Net income climbed to $506 million, or 71 cents a share, from $391 million, or 55 cents, a year earlier, the Winston-Salem-based bank said today in a statement. That compares with the 70-cent average estimate of 29 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Full-year profit increased 49 percent to $1.9 billion, or $2.70 a share.

Chief Executive Officer Kelly King said at a financial services conference on Dec. 5 that he expects the bank’s mortgage business will remain “pretty strong” in the first half of 2013.

“It was a really good quarter, a great year” King, 64, said on a conference call after earnings were announced. “We have some reservations about the economy but relative to that we feel very bullish about our business going forward.”

BB&T rose 1.8 percent, to $30.86 at 10:15 a.m. in New York. The shares gained 11 percent in the past year through yesterday, compared with a 25 percent advance by the 80-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index.

Non-interest revenue rose 11 percent to $1.02 billion from a year earlier, driven by increases in mortgage banking, insurance and brokerage fees. Net interest income advanced 1.6 percent to $1.51 billion from a year earlier.

Net interest margin, the difference between what a bank pays on deposits and what it charges for loans, narrowed to 3.84 percent from 4.02 percent a year earlier.

“The real estate market overall is clearly improving,” Kelly said. “As time goes on, people kind of get tired of feeling bad and start turning little positive.”