Washington Federal Reports Record Earnings Per Share of $2.61 for Fiscal 2019

Washington Federal, Inc. (Nasdaq: WAFD) (the "Company"), parent company of Washington Federal Bank, N.A. ("WaFd Bank"), today announced record annual earnings and diluted earnings per share of $210,256,000 and $2.61 for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2019, compared to $203,850,000 or $2.40 per diluted share for the year ended September 30, 2018, a $0.21 or 8.8% increase in earnings per diluted share. Return on equity for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2019 was 10.46% compared to 10.16% for the year ended September 30, 2018. Return on assets for the year ended September 30, 2019 was 1.28% compared to 1.31% for the prior year.

President and Chief Executive Officer Brent J. Beardall commented, "We are pleased to report that thanks to the efforts of our colleagues and clients, Washington Federal closed its 102nd year in business with a record year on multiple fronts. Record earnings and earnings per share were the direct result of record loans and deposits that were built through organic growth. Especially noteworthy is the fact the Company was able to produce these results despite a challenging interest rate environment for the majority of the year. Higher short-term interest rates caused interest expense to increase year-over-year by $55 million or 41% and yet, due to strong growth in core deposits and loans, the growth of interest income more than offset this increase. Net interest income increased by $9 million or 2%. With the Federal Reserve Bank recently decreasing short-term rates by 50 basis points, we have the potential to benefit from decreasing interest expense going forward.

We are cognizant that the duration of this bull run in the economy is now at historic levels and that cycles will occur. To prepare for a potential downturn, our balance sheet has $1.7 billion of tangible common equity plus an additional $138 million of reserves for credit losses. Non-performing assets of $44 million are at a 12-year low, representing only 0.27% of assets.

Strong financial performance enabled the Company to return 89% of earnings to shareholders during fiscal year 2019 in the form of cash dividends and share repurchases while still finishing the year with a tangible common equity to tangible asset ratio of 10.66%, placing us in the top 10% of the largest 100 publicly traded banks in the United States. Total shareholder return for fiscal 2019 was 18%. While we have invested heavily in technology and processes to improve compliance and customer experience, we recognize there is more work to be done as we compete to grow our market share. We are gratified to see our net promoter score improve from 17 to 47 over the last three years. Bottom line, this indicates that our clients are significantly more likely to recommend us to others, which we believe is a very good thing for our future prospects.a??
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