First Horizon CEO Talks About Q4 on CNBC

Not long after his company reported a quarterly loss Friday, the CEO of First Tennessee Bank’s parent company went on “Mad Money,” the show hosted by motor-mouthed CNBC personality Jim Cramer.

First Tennessee parent First Horizon National Corp. reported a fourth quarter net loss of $49 million Friday, as well as a loss for the year. Cramer, however, saw a silver lining in the cloudy numbers.

The year was peppered with positive indicators, such as First Horizon deep-sixing its TARP funds, returning to profitability for the first time in two years, continuing to improve credit quality and restoring a cash dividend.

“We view (the turnaround) as a marathon, not a sprint,” First Horizon CEO Bryan Jordan told Cramer. “We knew when we started this process two-and-a-half, three years ago that it wouldn’t be a straight line.”

“I didn’t think the quarter was that bad,” Cramer told Jordan, who during the interview had a view of the Memphis skyline behind him. “I think the market doesn’t get it. I think they’re looking at the earnings per share numbers and making a decision based on that. That’s not how you pick stocks. I think you’ve got a good story.”

After bidding Jordan farewell, Cramer hiked his leg up on the chair behind his desk, leaned on it and addressed his viewing audience. He referenced First Horizon’s stock price, which closed at $11.79 Friday.

“People are going to look back and say, ‘Why didn’t I get into one of these (stocks) at $11? What was I thinking? What was I thinking? Ok, here: (First Horizon) is at $11. You should be thinking – pull the trigger.”

Dansette

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