A Webster Bank branch in downtown Boston in 2019. Banker & Tradesman file photo.

Webster Financial Corp., the holding company for Webster Bank and its HSA Bank division, had earnings of $88.1 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2019, compared to $96.7 million, or $1.05 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2018, which included a one-time gain on the sale of six banking centers.

For the full year 2019, earnings were $373 million, or $4.06 per diluted share, compared to $351.7 million, or $3.81 per diluted share, for the full year 2018.

“Webster’s fourth quarter results demonstrate our ongoing commitment to strong execution on our strategic priorities. Commercial loan growth exceeded 10 percent for the second year in a row and total footings at HSA Bank increased 18 percent from a year ago, while credit metrics remained strong,” John Ciulla, Webster Bank’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We’ve now achieved our tenth consecutive year of annual earnings per share growth, which puts us in select company in the banking industry.”

HSA Bank opened 126,000 new accounts in the fourth quarter and 744,000 new accounts in 2019, the third consecutive year with production above 700,000 accounts. The bank now has 3 million accounts with $8.5 billion of total footings.

In response to an analyst’s question about whether political discussions about Medicare-for-all proposals had affected employers’ decisions to adopt high-deductible healthcare plans, Ciulla said during a conference call to discuss the earnings that the bank had not seen dialogue about the nature of high-deductible health plans affecting employers’ decisions to offer or adopt them these plans. Ciulla noted that low unemployment and competition for talent have led some employers to provide richer, more fuller benefits, possibly slowing the industry for HSAs in recent years.

Webster Bank Sees Growth in HSAs

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 1 min