First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ – FRME) has reported fourth quarter 2020 net income of $45.1 million compared to $47.8 million during the same period in 2019. Earnings per share for the period totaled $.83 per share compared to fourth quarter 2019 result of $.87 per share. Net income for the year ended December 31, 2020 totaled $148.6 million, compared to $164.5 million during the same period in 2019. Year-to-date earnings per share totaled $2.74 compared to $3.19 in 2019.
Total assets equaled $14.1 billion as of year-end and loans totaled $9.2 billion. The Corporation’s loan portfolio increased by $789 million, or 9.2 percent, during 2020. Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans accounted for $667 million of the year’s loan growth. Investments increased $551 million, or 21.2 percent, during the year and now total $3.1 billion. Total deposits equaled $11.4 billion as of year-end and increased by $1.5 billion, or 15.5 percent, during 2020.
Mark Hardwick, Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are proud of our 2020 results given the significant headwinds of the past year. The global pandemic quickly turned 2020 into a year filled with economic, political, medical and logistical challenges. However, our employees demonstrated courage and a can-do attitude for the benefit of all stakeholders. We guided over 5,200 customers through the Paycheck Protection Program while maintaining branch and back-office operations with as many as 1,000 employees working remotely. We grew loans by 9.2 percent, deposits by 15.5 percent, processed over 2,700 loan modifications and donated an additional $1 million to COVID relief efforts in our communities. Despite providing $58.7 million to the allowance for loan losses and managing through 40 basis points of margin compression we still delivered $149 million of net income to shareholders.” Hardwick also added, “Executive management expects 2021 to be a year of increasing momentum as the vaccine helps reopen our lobbies and allows us to repopulate our offices while growing our customer base.”
At the beginning of 2020, the Corporation chose to defer the adoption of the current expected credit loss (“CECL”) model. The passing of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act in December of 2020 prompted the SEC to allow for the adoption of CECL on January 1, 2021 with a Day 1 measurement date of January 1, 2021. As such, the allowance for loan losses was calculated under the incurred loss method in the fourth quarter. The Corporation’s provision expense totaled $4.5 million for the fourth quarter and $58.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. Net charge-offs totaled $0.6 million for the quarter and $8.3 million for the year. The allowance for loan losses totaled $130.6 million at year end, which increased $3.9 million in the fourth quarter. Allowance for loan losses is 1.41 percent of total loans and 1.52 percent excluding PPP loans from total loans. The Corporation also has $23 million in remaining fair value marks.
Net-interest income totaled $382.1 million for the year, an increase of $25.5 million, or 7.1 percent, in the face of a net interest margin decline of 40 basis points to 3.29 percent. Yield on earning assets declined by 94 basis points totaling 3.84 percent and the cost of supporting liabilities decreased by 54 basis points and totaled 0.55 percent. Fair value accretion contributed one basis point less in margin as it accounted for 12 basis points in 2019 and 11 basis points in 2020. Yield on earning assets for the fourth quarter totaled 3.72 percent with cost of supporting liabilities totaling 0.34 percent resulting in a margin of 3.38 percent. PPP loans contributed 16 basis points to margin during the fourth quarter as unamortized SBA fees were recognized upon loan forgiveness.
Non-interest income totaled $109.9 million for the year, a $23.2 million, or 26.8 percent increase from 2019. Customer specific line items accounted for $15.3 million of increase in total non-interest income. Gains on sales of mortgage loans increased $10.4 million over 2019 and hit a record high of $18.3 million for 2020 which offset the headwinds of lower service charges on deposits and the impact of the Durbin Amendment adoption on card payment fees. Fiduciary and wealth management fees also contributed to the increase with growth of $6.2 million over 2019.
Non-interest expense totaled $263.4 million for the year ended 2020, a $16.6 million increase from 2019. The fourth quarter of 2020 includes charges of $4.5 million related to the announcement of the consolidation of 17 banking centers. Additionally, FDIC expense increased $5.1 million year over year due to the use of FDIC credits in 2019. Merger related expenses of $13.7 million were also included in the 2019 totals.
The Corporation’s loan to deposit ratio now totals 81 percent and loan to asset ratio totals 66 percent. Additionally, the Corporation’s total risk-based capital ratio equaled 14.36 percent, common equity tier 1 capital ratio equaled 12.02 percent, and the tangible common equity ratio totaled 9.65 percent. Excluding PPP loans, the tangible common equity ratio totaled 9.99 percent.
First Merchants Corporation will conduct a fourth quarter earnings conference call and web cast at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, January 28, 2021.
To participate, dial (Toll Free) 877-507-0578 and reference First Merchants Corporation’s fourth quarter earnings release. International callers please call +1 412-317-1073. A replay of the call will be available until February 28, 2021. To access a replay of the call, US participants should dial (Toll Free) 877-344-7529, Canada participants should dial 855-669-9658, or for International participants, dial +1 412-317-0088. The replay access code is 10150572.
In order to view the web cast and presentation slides, please go to http://services.choruscall.com/links/frme210128.html during the time of the call. A replay of the web cast will be available until January 28, 2022.
About First Merchants Corporation
First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Muncie, Indiana. The Corporation has one full-service bank charter, First Merchants Bank. The Bank also operates as First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors (as a division of First Merchants Bank). First Merchants Corporation’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market System under the symbol FRME. Quotations are carried in daily newspapers and can be found on the company’s Internet web page (http://www.firstmerchants.com).
FIRST MERCHANTS and the Shield Logo are federally registered trademarks of First Merchants Corporation.
This release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements can often, but not always, be identified by the use of words like “believe”, “continue”, “pattern”, “estimate”, “project”, “intend”, “anticipate”, “expect” and similar expressions or future or conditional verbs such as “will”, would”, “should”, “could”, “might”, “can”, “may”, or similar expressions. These statements include statements of First Merchants’ goals, intentions and expectations; statements regarding the First Merchants’ business plan and growth strategies; statements regarding the asset quality of First Merchants’ loan and investment portfolios; and estimates of First Merchants’ risks and future costs and benefits. These forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks, assumptions and uncertainties that may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in forward-looking statements, including, among other things: possible changes in monetary and fiscal policies, and laws and regulations; the effects of easing restrictions on participants in the financial services industry; the cost and other effects of legal and administrative cases; possible changes in the credit worthiness of customers and the possible impairment of collectability of loans; fluctuations in market rates of interest; competitive factors in the banking industry; changes in the banking legislation or regulatory requirements of federal and state agencies applicable to bank holding companies and banks like First Merchants’ affiliate bank; continued availability of earnings and excess capital sufficient for the lawful and prudent declaration of dividends; changes in market, economic, operational, liquidity, credit and interest rate risks associated with the First Merchants’ business; and other risks and factors identified in each of First Merchants’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. First Merchants does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, relating to the matters discussed in this press release. In addition, First Merchants’ past results of operations do not necessarily indicate its anticipated future results.
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For more information, contact:
Nicole M. Weaver, Vice President and Director of Corporate Administration
SOURCE: First Merchants Corporation, Muncie, Indiana