Why Columbia Banking System Stock Crept Higher on Friday

The company beat on the bottom line, but whiffed on revenue in its latest-reported quarter.

Despite a mixed first quarter, investors gave the benefit of the doubt to Columbia Banking System (COLB 0.58%) on Friday. The Washington state-based company, arguably best known as the operator of the region’s Umpqua Bank, managed to lift several of its more important metrics during the period. Its share price inched up by 0.6%, a rate slightly outpaced by the S&P 500 index’s 1% rise.

A miss on revenue, but a solid beat for profitability

After market hours Thursday, Columbia reported that its total revenue for the quarter was just under $474 million, representing a 10% increase over the first-quarter 2023 tally. More encouragingly, on a non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) adjusted basis, its net income zoomed 89% higher to nearly $135 million ($0.65 per share).

Columbia’s top line didn’t meet the average analyst estimate of slightly less than $482 million. But the company well exceeded the consensus of $0.53-per-share adjusted net income.

The bottom-line boost was due in no small part to a tightening of expenses. The company’s deposits and loans/leases tallies were basically flat over the same period of 2023.

A brighter future coming later this year?

Columbia management promised better times ahead. In its earnings release, the company quoted CEO Clint Stein as saying, “We will continue to exercise prudent expense management, and we expect to see the positive financial impact of near-term initiatives fully reflected in the fourth quarter’s expense run rate.”

“Longer-term initiatives will optimize our performance from a revenue, expense, and profitability standpoint,” he added.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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