Interview with: Fred A. Cummings, Equity Research Analyst, Managing Director, KeyBanc Capital Markets - featuring: Old National Bancorp (IN) (ONB) and their turnaround story.

Old National Bancorp (IN) (ONB)

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Old National Bancorp’s (IN) new CEO has put in place the right strategies for targeted revenue growth, so now it is simply an issue of consistent execution over the next several quarters


Financial
Regional-Midwest Banks
Analyst interview covering:
Old National Bancorp (IN) (ONB)
One Main Street
Evansville, IN 47708
Phone: 812-464-1294

Fred A. Cummings
Equity Research Analyst, Managing Director
KeyBanc Capital Markets

Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
CEOCFOinterviews.com
July 17, 2006

BIO:
Fred A. Cummings
Equity Research Analyst, Managing Director, KeyBanc Capital Markets
1-216-443-2693

fcummings@keybanccm.com

Fred A. Cummings is a Managing Director, Equity Research Analyst, with KeyBanc Capital Markets, a division of McDonald Investments Inc. He is responsible for all aspects of research of regional banks and thrifts.

Cummings joined the Company in 1989 as a junior analyst, and subsequently held the titles of Associate Vice President, Vice President, First Vice President and Senior Vice President.

He graduated with honors from Oberlin College in Ohio, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.

Cummings is a member of the Cleveland Society of Security Analysts, as well as the Bank and Financial Analysts Association. He serves as a board member for the Western Reserve Academy (assistant treasurer), Inroads Northeast Ohio Alumni Association and The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges.

He was named a 1998 All-Star Analyst by The Wall Street Journal and one of 30 young leaders of the future by EBONY Magazine.

CEOCFO: Mr. Cummings, please tell us about your background?
Mr. Cummings: “I’ve been in the business now for 17 years. I went to Oberlin College in Ohio, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics; then joined what was McDonald Investments right out of college in June of 1989. I’ve been covering Midwestern banks since that time.”

CEOCFO: I want to speak with you specifically about Old National Bancorp today; why is that a bank of interest for you?
Mr. Cummings: “Old National Bancorp is a bank of interest because it is an interesting turnaround story and this is a bank that had been plagued by credit issues during the last credit cycle back in 2000 and 2001. They had major credit issues and as a result, it cost their CEO his job. They brought in a new CEO in the fall of 2004 and he has been very proactive at reducing the risk profile of the company and lowering the cost structure and then trying to instill a sales culture into this franchise. Therefore, the stock has been an underperformer and typically that can represent an opportunity, when you have a new CEO who brings a fresh perspective.”

CEOCFO: What is your assessment of the company today?
Mr. Cummings: “I think the company is making very good progress on the credit side; their non-performing assets have been trending down, their net charge-off levels have improved. On the revenue side, they are making good progress in terms of generating commercial loan growth. However, that progress on the commercial side has been offset by continued sluggishness on the retail side of the balance sheet. For example, their home equity and the residential mortgage portfolios continue to decline, which is off-setting the progress that they have made on the commercial side. They have done a nice job of stabilizing their net interest margin; however, here in the 2nd Quarter, the margin was flat when management was expecting the margin to be up slightly. So while they are making progress in turning the bank around, the underline earnings growth remains a challenge given this flat yield curve environment and the disappointing trends within the consumer loan portfolio. Therefore, reduced our earnings estimates for both 2006 and 2007, following the release of 2nd quarter earnings. In large part, it reflected a lower earning asset growth assumption for both years.”

CEOCFO: Do you think that is a reflection of the economy in general, particularly in the geographic area that they are in, or is there something that a bank could do that they are not doing?
Mr. Cummings: “I think that the economy as a whole has clearly slowed there in the Evansville, Indiana market, where they are located. It is clearly a slow growth region, that has constrained their ability to grow the loan portfolio, and I think that it is prudent for them not to overreach. However, they are in a few more attractive markets like Indianapolis and Louisville. I believe that they will improve in both of those markets. The big challenge for Old Nation Bancorp is overcoming the naturally slow growth region in which they operate. What they need to do a better job of is one, generating small business loans and two, doing a better job in the home equity business. Three, which is the most challenging thing and that, is growing their lower cost transaction accounts in the face of an environment where consumers are moving money out of transaction accounts into higher yielding CDs. Therefore, if they did those three things well, they would indeed improve shareholder value.”

CEOCFO; Do you feel management is up to the task?
Mr. Cummings: “I do; I know Bob Jones well as he used to work here at KeyBanc and he is a good, solid banker. It is going to take longer than he would like to get the revenue growth he has targeted, but I think that they have the right strategies in place and now it is simply an issue of consistent execution over the next several quarters. Not to say that they are going to be the fastest growing bank in the Midwest, but they at least need to grow on line with the industry, which would probably grow in the neighborhood of 6 to 8%.”

CEOCFO: What are the macro issues that are affecting the growth?
Mr. Cummings: “I think the biggest issue today facing all banks is this fat to inverted yield curve, which is at best restraining net interest margins, and in most cases causing contraction. That is the biggest macro factor affecting all banks. The second macro factor is that the consumer in response to higher gas prices is retrenching and in many cases, we are seeing consumers pay off their home equity lines of credit. That is clearly impacting Old National as well as other banks. The consumer is also retrenching because of higher interest rates and those are the two primary negatives from a macro side. One can also add the competitive environment in the markets in which Old National operates, particularly a market like Indianapolis, where there is a lot of competition. It is very difficult to move market share when you have that many capable competitors.”

CEOCFO: What should potential investors be looking for as signs that things will change?
Mr. Cummings: “We are looking for a couple of things. First, we are looking for continued improvement in the non-conforming asset levels and I think that is critical. They have to continue to make progress there and to the extent that they do, we will have more confidence in their ability to maintain low charge-offs as the economy slows. Secondly, we are looking for signs of success in the small business initiative that they are talking about and that should be reflected in improved loan and core deposit growth. As for a number of small business customers, they deposit quite a bit of money and sometimes they deposit more money than they use for loans. We are also looking for continued improvement in expenses, as Old National is a company with a pretty high cost structure and they will have to keep expenses down in order for them to hit their earnings objectives.  In short, what we would like to see is Old National have the ability to attain the consensus earnings expectations that Wall Street has for the company.”

CEOCFO: In closing, what specifically would you like to see from Old National Bancorp as the move forward?
Mr. Cummings: “I think that Old National will probably need to do some acquisitions to improve its geographic footprint and specifically, we would like to see them strengthen their presence in the Indianapolis market.”


The research analyst primarily responsible for the content of this public appearance certifies the following: I hereby attest that all views expressed in this public appearance accurately reflect my personal views about the subject company or companies and its or their securities. I also certify that no part of my compensation was, is or will be, directly or indirectly, related to the specific recommendations or views expressed in this public appearance.

The information contained in this report is based on sources considered to be reliable but is not represented to be complete and its accuracy is not guaranteed. The opinions expressed reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. This report does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. Our company policy prohibits research analysts and members of their families from owning securities of any company followed by that analyst, unless otherwise disclosed. Our officers, directors, shareholders and other employees, and members of their families may have positions in these securities and may, as principal or agent, buy and sell such securities before, after or concurrently with the publication of this report. In some instances, such investments may be inconsistent with the opinions expressed herein. One or more of our employees, other than the research analyst responsible for the preparation of this report, may be a member of the Board of Directors of any company referred to in this report. The research analyst responsible for the preparation of this report is compensated, based in part, on investment banking revenue which may include revenue derived from the Firm's performance of investment banking services for companies referred to in this report, although such compensation is not based upon specific investment banking services transactions for these or any other companies. In accordance with industry practices, our analysts are prohibited from soliciting investment banking business for our Firm.

Copyright 2005, McDonald Investments Inc. All rights reserved.



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“I do; I know Bob Jones well as he used to work here at KeyBanc and he is a good, solid banker. It is going to take longer than he would like to get the revenue growth he has targeted, but I think that they have the right strategies in place and now it is simply an issue of consistent execution over the next several quarters. Not to say that they are going to be the fastest growing bank in the Midwest, but they at least need to grow on line with the industry, which would probably grow in the neighborhood of 6 to 8%.” - Fred A. Cummings, Equity Research Analyst, Managing Director, KeyBanc Capital Markets

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