TCF Bank in trouble: Profits halve during fourth quarter

Anecdotally, TCF Bank seems to be struggling -- in Uptown, for instance, the bank used to have numerous ATMs, but they've all been removed over the last year or so, sometimes replaced with generic machines.

TCF's fourth-quarter earnings report provides hard data to support that anecdote. It reveals that the bank's profits more than halved during the fourth quarter of last year compared to the last quarter of 2010.

Though the report is couched in impenetrable corporate-speak, the gist of it seems to be that TCF's rough 2011 is largely attributable to the fact that the bank isn't allowed to screw over retailers anymore by gouging them with high fees for debit card transactions.

TCF filed a lawsuit against Fed Chair Ben Bernanke to contest the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation that capped the fees debit card issuers could charge retailers at about 21 cents. The lawsuit was withdrawn last summer.

The earnings report reveals that the bank's non-interest income, which includes debit card fees, fell 24 percent during the fourth quarter last year compared to the same period in 2010.

Whereas US Bank saw its credit quality significantly improve throughout last year, TCF's 60-day loan delinquency rate actually increased both relative to fourth quarter 2010 and 2011's third quarter.

Overall, the bank's fourth-quarter earnings were $16.4 million, or 10 cents per share, down from $33.9 million (or 24 cents per share) during the same time in 2010. Analysts expected profits of 14 cents per share.

Put it all together, and it's clear that TCF Bank is in trouble. US Bank Stadium anyone?

See also:
-- US Bank announces record profits

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