FRESNO, Calif., April 20, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Communities First Financial Corporation (the “Company”) (OTCQX:CFST), Fresno, CA, the parent company of Fresno First Bank (the “Bank”), today reported earnings grew 30% to a record of $701,000, or $0.26 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2016, from $537,000, or $0.20 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2015 and increased 8% from $646,000, or $0.24 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2015.
“We are proud of the financial performance achieved by our team, who are also all shareholders of the Company. As a result of their hard work, we generated solid revenue growth and posted record profits,” said Steve Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We continue to deliver above average performance with a return on average assets of 0.96%, a return on average equity of 10.66%, and an efficiency ratio of 58.54%.” The 627 banks in the SNL MicroCap Index, which includes CFST, averaged an ROAA of 0.88%, an ROAE of 8.87%, and an efficiency ratio of 70.92%.
“We have built the Bank by catering to successful businesses and individuals in Central California,” Miller noted. “Our customers have long-term perspectives on business, and our customized, consultative approach has been successful in forging long-term relationships with them, creating longevity throughout our customer base.”
First Quarter 2016 Highlights (at or for the three month period ended March 31, 2016, except where noted)
- Posted record earnings fueled by loan and deposit growth, improving operating efficiency and a strong net interest margin.
- Revenues (net interest income before the provision for loan losses, plus non-interest income) increased 10% to $3.3 million compared to $3.0 million in both the preceding and year ago quarter, driven by a 12% increase in loans and 57% growth in merchant services income during the last 12 months.
- Net interest margin was 3.99% in the first quarter, compared to 3.71% in the preceding quarter and 4.25% in the first quarter a year earlier.
- Efficiency ratio continued to improve, dropping to 58.54% in 1Q16 from 63.48% in 4Q15 and 60.71% in 1Q15.
- Total loans increased 12% to $192.2 million compared to $171.7 million a year earlier.
- Total deposits grew 13% to $268.9 million at March 31, 2016, from $238.9 million a year ago.
- Capital ratios remain strong with a tangible shareholders equity ratio of 9.41% at March 31, 2016.
The Fresno Market
Agriculture and related agri-business is the backbone of California’s Central Valley, employing nearly 20% of the workforce and providing more than $7.04 billion to California’s economy in 2014, a 9.26% increase from 2013. A majority of America's produce is grown in California's Central Valley, and Fresno County is one of the top agricultural producing counties in the United States, with a widely diversified crop production of more than 350 products.
“Although water management and the ongoing drought have impacted some of the farmers in our area, we continue to see record production and record profits in the region’s agricultural sector,” Miller noted. “Farmers have adapted, as they always do, by making changes in crops, adding technology to improve efficiency of water use and taking acreage out of production."
Home to over one million people, Fresno is also a regional business hub for medical, education, legal and other professional services. Within 3 hours driving distance to Silicon Valley, Fresno is also developing a thriving high-tech sector and attracting entrepreneurs who are starting new businesses at a rapid clip. The new technology initiatives are helping to revitalize Fresno’s historic downtown.
Results of Operations
Net interest income increased 5% to $2.9 million for the first quarter of 2016, compared to $2.7 million on a linked quarter basis, and grew 11% from $2.6 million for the first quarter a year ago, reflecting strong year over year loan growth.
There was a $210,000 provision for loan losses for the first quarter of 2016, compared to a $145,000 provision for the first quarter a year ago. No provision for loan losses was taken in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Non-interest income increased 65% to $390,000 for the first quarter of 2016, compared to $236,000 for the fourth quarter of 2015 and grew 2% from $383,000 for the first quarter of 2015, reflecting strong growth in Merchant Services income and gains from the sale of SBA loans.
SBA loans totaling $1.64 million were sold into the secondary market, generating $135,000 in gain on sale in the first quarter, compared to $1.48 million sold for a $120,000 gain in the first quarter a year ago. No SBA loans were sold in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Net interest margin expanded 28 basis points to 3.99% for the first quarter of 2016, compared to 3.71% for the fourth quarter of 2015, and contracted 26 basis points from 4.25% a year ago. The decrease in the net interest margin from the first quarter of 2015 was primarily due to higher volumes of lower yielding overnight funds in 1Q16 and slightly lower yields on both the investment and loan portfolios. The improvement in the net interest margin from the fourth quarter of 2015 was mainly due to higher volumes of loans and investments which replaced lower yielding overnight funds. “Our net interest margin remains well above the average of 3.59% generated by the 627 banks in the SNL MicroCap Index in December of 2015,” said Steve Canfield, EVP/Chief Financial Officer.
“We keep tight control over operating expenses and expect to further leverage our platform to continue our growth trends in 2016,” said Canfield. First quarter 2016 non-interest expense totaled $1.9 million compared to $2.1 million in the linked quarter and $1.8 million in the first quarter one year ago.
The efficiency ratio for the first quarter of 2016 improved to 58.54%, compared to 63.48% for the fourth quarter of 2015 and 60.71% for the first quarter of 2015.
Balance Sheet Review
Total assets were $297.7 million at March 31, 2016, compared to $265.3 million a year earlier and $295.7 million at December 31, 2015. The total loan portfolio, excluding loans held for sale, was up 12% to $192.2 million at March 31, 2016, compared to $171.7 million a year ago, and increased 2% compared to $180.4 million three months earlier.
The commercial and industrial (C&I) portfolio, an area of specialty for Fresno First Bank, totaled $79.5 million and represented 41% of the total loans at March 31, 2016. Commercial real estate (CRE) loans totaled $64.6 million and comprise 34% of loans. Agriculture and land loans totaled $19.8 million represented 10% of loans, residential home loans were $15.4 million, or 8% of loans and, real estate construction and land development loans were $12.9 million, or 7% of loans.
Total deposits increased 13% reaching $268.9 million at March 31, 2016, compared to $238.9 million from a year earlier, and were relatively unchanged from $268.1 million at December 31, 2015. Non-interest bearing demand deposits increased 8% to $111.7 million, representing 42% of total deposits, compared to $103.5 million, or 38% of deposits a year ago. Core deposits, excluding certificates of deposits, grew to 87% of total deposits from 85% a year ago.
The ratio of loans to deposits was 71.48% at March 31, 2016, compared to 70.35% in the preceding quarter and 71.85% a year ago.
Total stockholder equity was $28.0 million at March 31, 2016, compared to $25.4 million a year ago. Book value per share was $10.26 at March 31, 2016, compared to $9.64 a year ago.
Non-performing assets consisted of one commercial and industrial loan relationship totaling $2.7 million at March 31, 2016, unchanged from December 31, 2015, and an increase from $49,000 at March 31, 2015. Total delinquent loans (30 to 90 days past due and still accruing) were $2,000 at the end of the quarter compared to $1.1 million a year earlier. There were no delinquent loans at the end of 2015. Loan loss reserves were 1.96% of total loans and 1.27% of total assets at March 31, 2016, compared to 1.89% of loans and 1.20% of assets at December 31, 2015 and 1.87% of loans and 1.21% of assets at March 31, 2015. “At this time, the full resolution of our non-accrual loan relationship appears like it could be a protracted process,” added Miller. “We continue to forecast above average loan growth and as a result we will continue to build our reserves in anticipation of a larger loan portfolio.”
About Community First Financial Corporation
Communities First Financial Corporation, a bank holding company established in 2014, is the parent company of Fresno First Bank, founded in 2005 in Fresno, California. Fresno First Bank is a leading SBA Bank Lender in California’s Central Valley. The Bank was named by Forbes as one of the Best 25 Small Businesses in America for 2016, and received the All-Star Performance Award from the Great Game of Business in 2015. Additional information is available from the Company’s website at www.fresnofirstbank.com or call 559-439-0200.
Forward Looking Statement Disclaimer
This earnings release may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations or forecasts of future events and are not guarantees of future performance, nor should they be relied upon as representing management’s views as of any subsequent date. The forward-looking statements are based on management’s expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Although management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially include, without limitation, the Company’s ability to effectively execute its business plans; changes in general economic and financial market conditions; changes in interest rates; changes in the competitive environment; continuing consolidation in the financial services industry; new litigation or changes in existing litigation; losses, customer bankruptcy, claims and assessments; changes in banking regulations or other regulatory or legislative requirements affecting the Company’s business; international developments; and changes in accounting policies or procedures as may be required by the Financial Accounting Standards Board or other regulatory agencies. The Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly the results of any revisions to the forward-looking statements included herein to reflect events or circumstances after today, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. The Company claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
|Quarterly Select Financial Information|
|Quarter Ended||Quarter Ended||Change for||Quarter Ended||Change Year|
|($ in thousands, except per share data)||Mar 31, 2016||Dec 31, 2015||Quarter||Mar 31, 2015||Over Year|
|STATEMENT OF INCOME|
|Loan interest income||$||2,565||$||2,449||4.7||%||$||2,289||12.0||%|
|Interest on fed funds sold & CDs in other banks||79||62||27.4||%||28||179.4||%|
|Dividends from non-marketable equity||30||30||0.0||%||30||1.1||%|
|Total Interest expense||110||112||-1.1||%||107||3.0||%|
|Net Interest Income||2,861||2,721||5.1||%||2,572||11.2||%|
|Provision for loan losses||210||-||145||44.8||%|
|Net interest income after provision||2,651||2,721||-2.6||%||2,427||9.2||%|
|Total Deposit Fee Income||67||68||-1.3||%||85||-21.0||%|
|Debit / Credit Card Interchange Income||33||27||23.3||%||22||50.8||%|
|Merchant Services Income||104||84||23.3||%||66||56.8||%|
|Gain (Loss) on Sale of Loans||135||5||2739.3||%||120||12.8||%|
|Other operating income||50||52||-3.8||%||90||-44.4||%|
|Salaries & employee benefits||1,080||1,186||-8.9||%||1,042||3.6||%|
|Other operating expense||685||742||-7.6||%||573||19.7||%|
|Net income before tax||1,141||875||30.4||%||1,052||8.5||%|
|Tax provision (benefit)||440||338||30.4||%||406||8.5||%|
|Net income after tax||$||701||$||537||30.4||%||$||646||8.4||%|
|Earnings per share:|
|Basic earnings per share||$||0.26||$||0.20||28.8||%||$||0.25||2.6||%|
|Fully diluted earnings per share||$||0.26||$||0.20||30.0||%||$||0.24||8.1||%|
|Book Value per Common Share (Assumes Conversion of Mandatorily Convertible Preferred)||$||10.26||$||10.00||2.6||%||$||9.64||6.4||%|
|Common shares outstanding||2,725,917||2,698,417||1.0||%||1,968,811|
|Fully diluted shares||2,746,555||2,727,493||0.7||%||2,712,663|
|CFST - Stock Price||9.95||10.16||10.25|
|Return on average assets||0.96||%||0.72||%||1.03||%|
|Return on average equity||10.66||%||8.25||%||10.85||%|
|Equity to assets||9.41||%||9.12||%||9.58||%|
|Net interest margin||3.99||%||3.71||%||4.25||%|
|BALANCE SHEET DATA: ($ in thousands )||Change for||Change Year|
|Mar 31, 2016||Dec 31, 2015||Quarter||Mar 31, 2015||Over Year|
|ASSETS - PERIOD END BALANCES:|
|Cash and due from banks||$||9,272||$||11,391||-18.6||%||$||7,952||16.6||%|
|Fed funds sold and deps in banks||22,738||20,514||10.8||%||21,075||7.9||%|
|CDs in Other Banks||5,699||5,695||0.1||%||5,450||4.6||%|
|Total loans outstanding:|
|RE Constr & Land Development||12,885||11,823||9.0||%||9,223||39.7||%|
|Residential RE 1-4 Family||15,388||15,069||2.1||%||14,849||3.6||%|
|Commercial Real Estate||64,553||63,535||1.6||%||55,158||17.0||%|
|Commercial and Industrial||79,484||74,864||6.2||%||71,037||11.9||%|
|Consumer and Other||85||84||1.3||%||104||-17.9||%|
|Deferred fees & discounts||(341||)||(212||)||(83||)||309.1||%|
|Allowance for loan losses||(3,766||)||(3,556||)||5.9||%||(3,205||)||17.5||%|
|Non marketable equity investments||1,653||1,649||0.2||%||1,602||3.2||%|
|Accrued interest and other assets||2,585||2,705||-4.4||%||2,262||14.3||%|
|LIABILITIES AND EQUITY|
|Non-interest bearing deposits||111,694||120,303||-7.2||%||103,513||7.9||%|
|Certificates of Deposit||36,889||39,320||-6.2||%||35,183||4.8||%|
|Common, preferred & paid in capital||26,943||26,916||0.1||%||26,867||0.3||%|
|Retained earnings (deficit)||400||(300||)||-233.2||%||(2,042||)||-119.6||%|
|Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)||628||362||73.6||%||583||7.8||%|
|Shareholders equity, net||27,971||26,978||3.7||%||25,408||10.1||%|
|Total Liabilities and shareholders' equity||297,238||295,736||0.5||%||265,295||12.0||%|
|BALANCE SHEET DATA - AVERAGES:|
|Shareholders equity, net||27,405||26,828||2.1||%||25,100||9.2||%|
|Loans to deposits||71.48||%||70.35||%||71.85||%|
|ASSET QUALITY ($ in thousands)||Mar 31, 2016||Dec 31, 2015||Mar 31, 2015|
|Loans on Non Accrual||2,360||2,361||49|
|Other real estate owned||$||-||$||-||$||-|
|Performing restructured loans||$||31||$||-||$||-|
|Non Accrual / Total Loans||1.23||%||1.25||%||.03%|
|Nonperforming assets to total assets||.79%||.80%||.02%|
|Net loan losses (recoveries) to average loans||.00%||-.00%||-.01%|
|Loan Loss Reserve|
|LLR / Total Loans||1.96||%||1.89||%||1.87||%|
|LLR / Total Assets||1.27||%||1.20||%||1.21||%|
Contact Steve Miller - CEO or Steve Canfield – CFO 559-439-0200 The Cereghino Group IR CONTACT: 206-388-5785
Source:Communities First Financial Corporation