Truist on Thursday reported a profit of $1.2 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 31, an increase of 74.9%, compared with 2019's fourth quarter.
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank continued its reduction in loan loss provisions, setting aside $177 million for the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with the $421 million it reserved in the previous three-month span.
The bank, which was formed as a result of BB&T's acquisition of SunTrust in December 2019, continued its merger-related job cuts in the fourth quarter, eliminating 1,307 positions during the period.
"In a year of unprecedented challenges for our nation and the financial services industry, I'm extremely proud of our teammates and their rapid and sustained response to meet the needs of our clients and communities," Kelly King, Truist's CEO, said in a statement. "Despite this difficult environment, our performance was very strong in 2020, and we closed the year on a high point with our best quarter yet in terms of financial performance."
Truist lowered its credit loss reserves for the third consecutive quarter.
Additionally, the 1,307 positions the bank eliminated in the fourth quarter mark a high since the completion of the $28 billion deal between BB&T and SunTrust. The bank eliminated 769 jobs in 2020's third quarter, 735 in the second quarter and between 800 and 1,000 in the first, according to The Winston-Salem Journal.
The bank’s total workforce was 53,693 at the end of December.
The bank continues to close branches as it pushes forward with its goal of achieving $1.6 billion in merger-related cost savings by the fourth quarter of 2022.
Truist, which said it closed 149 branches in 2020, plans to shutter more than 400 this year, and a total 800 by the first quarter of 2022.
The bank is also downsizing its nonbranch footprint with the goal of eliminating approximately 4.8 million square feet. The bank said it completed half of this goal in 2020, and expects to streamline the remainder in the first half of this year.
The bank also announced enhancements to its two legacy mobile banking apps. It plans to pilot new features such as personalized financial insights and an artificial intelligence-driven chatbot on its SunTrust and BB&T mobile banking platforms in the second quarter.
The bank will begin migrating clients in waves to a new Truist-branded app in the third quarter, and is targeting full migration by the end of the year.
"We're experiencing excellent digital adoption and usage from our clients," Bill Rogers, Truist's president and chief operating officer, said Thursday during a call with analysts.
Rogers, who is set to take over as CEO when King steps down in September, said the bank has experienced a 26% increase in digital sales and a 12% growth in active mobile users in the past 12 months.