SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- American River Bankshares (NASDAQ:AMRB) today reported net income of $1.2 million, or $0.18 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2017 compared to $1.4 million, or $0.19 per diluted share for the first quarter of 2016.
"This quarter included important milestones for the Company," said David Taber, President and CEO of American River Bankshares. "The quarterly cash dividend was resumed along with the announcement of the 5% stock repurchase program, both key indicators of continued success." Taber continued, "As an organization, we're committed to profitable growth and increasing efficiency, while continuing to invest in staff and client service."
Each quarter, management at American River Bank prepares an economic report for internal use that analyzes the recent historical rolling quarters within the three primary markets in which the Company does business - Greater Sacramento Area and Sonoma and Amador Counties. Sources of economic and industry information include: Colliers International, Keegan & Coppin Company, Inc., ycharts/housing, State of California Employment Development Department, US Census, CBRE, Integra Realty Resources, and Sacramento Association of Realtors and Trading Economics.
Overall, 2016 commercial real estate and employment trends were positive and this has continued into 2017.
Commercial Real Estate. In the Greater Sacramento Area, when comparing fourth quarter 2015 to fourth quarter 2016, commercial real estate vacancies have improved or remained flat in all segments. Office vacancy decreased from 13.5% to 11.6%, retail vacancy ended flat at 10.3%, and industrial vacancy decreased from 10.1% to 8.1%. In Sonoma County, for the same period (fourth quarter 2015 compared to fourth quarter 2016), commercial real estate vacancies also improved or remained flat. Office vacancy decreased from 16.4% to 14.7%, retail vacancy decreased from 4.1% to 3.8%, and industrial vacancy ended flat at 5.8%.
In all segments (office, retail, and industrial), the Greater Sacramento Area reported positive absorption over the past 3 years, with the exception of first quarter 2016. Office and retail experienced negative absorption that quarter as a result of two large office building vacancies, and one major retailer closing its doors. Sonoma County has reported (when data is available) positive absorption over the past three years for the office and industrial segments (retail data not available).
In Greater Sacramento, commercial lease rates have been in a relatively narrow range over the past two years through the end of the fourth quarter 2016 with lease rates ranging from the following: office: $1.71/SF to $1.74/SF; retail: $1.33/SF to $1.34/SF and industrial: $0.46/SF to $0.47/SF. As of fourth quarter 2016, lease rates per square foot were $1.71 for office, $1.33 for retail, and $0.47 for industrial.
As a proxy for Sonoma County, the City of Santa Rosa's gross lease rates from 2013 through the end of the fourth quarter of 2015 showed some fluctuation in office and industrial segments and decreased in the retail segment. The lease rates during the two year period ranged from: office: $1.47/SF to $1.88/SF, retail: $0.90/SF to $1.52/SF, and industrial: $0.66/SF to $0.95/SF. Year-end 2016 office rents ranged from $1.75/SF to $2.25/SF depending on quality. Industrial rents ranged from $.85/SF to $.95/SF with light industrial in certain cases ranging from $1.15/SF to $1.40/SF. There was no retail rental rate data available for Santa Rosa for this time period.
The Amador region has the lowest level of commercial real estate concentration in the Bank. There is limited supply for commercial real estate in this region and as a result, minimal information is available.
Multi-family. The multi-family market in the Sacramento area has reflected high occupancy with lease rates increasing and cap rates showing improvement. Comparing the first quarter of 2016 to the fourth quarter of 2016, occupancy decreased only slightly from 97.5% to 97.4%, monthly lease rates increased from $1,157 to $1,235, and trailing 12-month cap rates increased from 5.58% to 5.80%. Similar data for the Sonoma and Amador markets is currently unavailable.
Employment. National unemployment, which reached a high of 10.0% at October 31, 2009, has dropped steadily since and has stabilized. Compared to December 2014, national unemployment decreased from 5.6% to 5.0% in December 2015, and decreased further to 4.7% as of December 2016. As of February 2017, unemployment remained flat at 4.7%. California unemployment was 6.9% at December 31 2014, 5.9% at December 31, 2015, and 5.2% as of December 31, 2016. As of February 2017, the rate decreased slightly further to 5.0%. The number of employed Californians continues to increase. There were 17.5 million employed at the end of 2014, 17.9 million employed at the end of 2015, and 18.2 million at the end of 2016. The State added another 25,000 jobs during the first two months of 2017.
At December 31, 2014, all three of our markets reported lower unemployment rates than at year end 2013. This trend continued at a slower pace into 2015, and at December 31, 2015, unemployment rates were 5.5% and 4.2% for the Sacramento MSA and Santa Rosa-Petaluma MSA, respectively. Compared to December 31, 2016, unemployment rates increased slightly as of month-end February 2017 from 4.8% to 5.1% in the Sacramento MSA and 3.6% to 3.8% in the Santa Rosa-Petaluma MSA. Over the same period, Amador County has been higher than the State every quarter with the exception of the third quarter 2015. Amador County had shown significant improvement from 7.4% at December 31, 2014 to 6.3% at December 31, 2015, and 5.7% December 31st, 2016. As of month-end February 2017, the rate increased slightly to 5.9%.
Job growth was positive in all of our markets in the past three years. Compared to December 2014, job growth was 1.71%, 2.13% and 0.61% for the Sacramento MSA, Santa Rosa-Petaluma MSA, and Amador County, respectively, at December 31, 2015. Comparing December 2016 to December 2015, job growth was 1.95%, 0.36% and 4.31% for the Sacramento MSA, Santa Rosa-Petaluma MSA and Amador County, respectively. As of month-end February 2017 however, the Sacramento and Santa Rosa-Petaluma MSAs saw slight declines in job growth of 0.46% and 0.08% respectively. Amador County increased slightly by 0.15%.
American River Bankshares' assets totaled $659.3 million at March 31, 2017, compared to $651.5 million at December 31, 2016, and $626.1 million at March 31, 2016.
Net loans totaled $314.0 million at March 31, 2017, down from $324.1 million at December 31, 2016 and up from $292.2 million at March 31, 2016. Nonperforming loans decreased $1.6 million (98.9%) from $1.6 million at March 31, 2016 to $17,000 at March 31, 2017. Nonperforming loans decreased $2,000 (10.5%) from $19,000 at December 31, 2016.
The loan portfolio at March 31, 2017 included: real estate loans of $285.1 million (90% of the portfolio), commercial loans of $29.8 million (9% of the portfolio) and other loans, which consist mainly of leases and consumer loans of $4.1 million (1% of the portfolio). The real estate loan portfolio at March 31, 2017 includes: owner-occupied commercial real estate loans of $71.3 million (25% of the real estate portfolio), investor commercial real estate loans of $115.6 million (41% of the real estate portfolio), multi-family real estate loans of $73.2 million (25% of the real estate portfolio), construction and land development loans of $10.1 million (4% of the real estate portfolio) and residential real estate loans of $14.9 million (5% of the real estate loan portfolio).
Nonperforming assets ("NPAs") include nonperforming loans, leases, and other assets and other real estate owned. Nonperforming loans includes all such loans and leases that are either placed on nonaccrual status or are 90 days past due as to principal or interest but still accrue interest because such loans are well-secured and in the process of collection. NPAs remained at $1.4 million at March 31, 2017 from December 31, 2016 and decreased from $3.4 million at March 31, 2016. The NPAs to total assets ratio remained consistent at 0.21% at the end of March 2017 from December 31, 2016 and decreased from 0.54% one year ago.
At March 31, 2017 and at December 31, 2016, the Company had two OREO properties totaling $1.3 million. This compares to two OREO properties totaling $896,000 at March 31, 2016. During the first quarter of 2017, the Company did not add, sell, or modify the value of any OREO properties. At March 31, 2017, December 31, 2016, and March 31, 2016 there was not a valuation allowance for OREO properties.
Loans measured for impairment were $17.2 million at the end of March 2017, a decrease from $17.3 million at December 31, 2016, and $21.0 million a year ago. Specific reserves of $533,000 were held on the impaired loans at March 31, 2017, compared to $421,000 at December 31, 2016 and $789,000 at March 31, 2016. There was no provision for loan and lease losses for the first quarters of 2017 and 2016. There was a reversal of provision for loan and lease losses for $676,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Company had net recoveries of $11,000 in the first quarter of 2017 compared to net recoveries of $107,000 in the first quarter of 2016. The Company maintains the allowance for loan and lease losses at a level believed to be adequate for known and inherent risks in the portfolio. The methodology incorporates a variety of risk considerations, both quantitative and qualitative, in establishing an allowance for loan and lease losses that management believes is appropriate at each reporting date.
Investment securities, which excludes $3.8 million in stock of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco ("FHLB Stock"), totaled $263.6 million at March 31, 2017, up 3.6% from $254.5 million at December 31, 2016 and up 0.8% from $261.4 million at March 31, 2016. At March 31, 2017, the investment portfolio was comprised of 89% U.S. Government agencies or U.S. Government-sponsored agencies (primarily mortgage-backed securities), 9% obligations of states and political subdivisions, and 2% corporate bonds.
At March 31, 2017, total deposits were $551.0 million, compared to $544.8 million at December 31, 2016 and $523.8 million one year ago. Core deposits increased 6.5% to $468.8 million at March 31, 2017 from $440.3 million at March 31, 2016 and increased 1.5% from $461.8 million at December 31, 2016. The Company considers all deposits except time deposits as core deposits.
At March 31, 2017, noninterest-bearing demand deposits accounted for 36% of total deposits, interest-bearing demand accounts were 12%, savings deposits were 12%, money market balances accounted for 25% and time certificates were 15% of total deposits. At March 31, 2016, noninterest-bearing demand deposits accounted for 36% of total deposits, interest-bearing demand accounts were 12%, savings deposits were 11%, money market balances accounted for 25% and time certificates were 16% of total deposits.
Shareholders' equity decreased $742,000 (0.9%) to $83.1 million at March 31, 2017 compared to $83.9 million at December 31, 2016. The decrease in equity from December 31, 2016 was due to a decrease in common stock of $1.8 million primarily related to repurchases made under the 2017 Stock Repurchase Program, partially offset by an increase in Retained Earnings of $852,000 million due to the net income for the year less cash dividends declared and a $249,000 increase in accumulated other comprehensive income related to an increase in the unrealized gain on securities. During the first quarter of 2017, the Company repurchased 131,000 shares of its common stock at an average price of $15.01 per share under the 2017 Stock Repurchase Program.
The net interest income during the first quarter 2017 was $4.8 million (a decrease of 5%) compared to $5.0 million in the first quarter of 2016 and the net interest margin as a percentage of average earning assets was 3.44% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 3.62% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 3.63% in the first quarter of 2016. Interest income for the first quarter of 2017 was $5.1 million (a decrease of 4%) compared to $5.3 million for the first quarter of 2016 and interest expense for the first quarter of 2017 was $242,000 (an increase of 3%) compared to $234,000 for the first quarter of 2016.
The average tax equivalent yield on earning assets decreased from 3.80% in the first quarter of 2016 to 3.61% for the first quarter of 2017. Much of the decrease in yields from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017 can be attributed to a decrease in the yield on loans. The yield on loans decreased from 4.90% in the first quarter of 2016 to 4.57% in the first of 2017. This decrease is related to new loans being funded at current market interest rates which are lower than the rates on the existing loans in the portfolio.
The average balance of earning assets increased 1% from $571.3 million in the first quarter of 2016 to $579.2 million in the first quarter of 2017.
When compared to the first quarter of 2016, average loan balances increased $25.0 million (8.5%) from $295.1 million to $320.1 million for the first quarter of 2017. Average investment balances decreased $17.2 million (6.3%) from $275.2 million during the first quarter of 2016 to $258.0 million during the first quarter of 2017.
Average deposits increased $27.4 million (5.3%) from $518.5 million during the first quarter of 2016 to $545.9 million during the first quarter of 2017. Average borrowings decreased from $24.4 million during the first quarter of 2016 to $15.5 million during the first quarter of 2017.
Noninterest income for the first quarter of 2017 decreased $335,000 (44.4%) to $419,000, compared to $754,000 in the first quarter of 2016. The decrease in noninterest income was predominately related to a decrease in income from the gain on sale of securities from $282,000 in 2016 to $56,000 in 2017 and a decrease in rental income from OREO properties from $106,000 in 2016 to zero in 2017 as the income producing property was sold in 2016.
Noninterest expense decreased $361,000 (9.5%) from $3.8 million for the first quarter of 2016 to $3.4 million in the first quarter of 2016. The decrease is primarily due to a decrease in OREO related expense from $340,000 in 2016 to $20,000 in 2017, as well as a decrease of $27,000 in FDIC assessments from $80,000 in 2016 to $53,000 in 2017. The OREO related expense decreased due to the sale of three properties in 2016, including the income producing property which had higher operating costs than the properties currently held by the Company. The decrease in the FDIC assessments relates to a lower assessment rate as a result of the Deposit Insurance Fund reached the FDIC's target level of 1.15% during 2016, which resulted in lower assessments for community banks such as American River Bank.
The fully taxable equivalent efficiency ratio for the first quarter of 2017 increased to 64.4% from 64.1% for the first quarter of 2016 with the primary reason for the increase being the decrease in net interest income from $5.0 million in 2016 to $4.8 million in 2017.
Federal and state income taxes decreased $17,000 (2.7%) from $633,000 in the first quarter of 2016 to $616,000 in the first quarter of 2017. The lower provision for taxes in 2017 compared to 2016 primarily resulted from the lower level of pretax income in 2017, decreasing $205,000 (10.2%) from $2.0 million in 2016 to $1.8 million in 2017.
The first quarter earnings conference call will be held Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time (4:30 p.m. Eastern Time). David T. Taber, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Mitchell A. Derenzo, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, both of American River Bankshares, will lead a live presentation and answer analysts' questions. Shareholders, analysts and other interested parties are invited to join the call by dialing (888) 517-2458 and entering the Conference ID 9284208#. A recording of the call will be available approximately twenty-four hours after the call's completion on AmericanRiverBank.com.
American River Bankshares [NASDAQ-GS: AMRB] is the parent company of American River Bank, a regional bank serving Northern California since 1983. We give business owners more REACH by offering financial expertise and exceptional service to complement a full suite of banking products and services. Our honest approach, commitment to community and focus on profitability is intended to lead our clients to greater success. For more information, call (800) 544-0545 or visit AmericanRiverBank.com.
Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
This news release contains certain non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) financial measures in addition to results presented in accordance with GAAP. These measures include tangible book value and taxable equivalent basis. Management has presented these non-GAAP financial measures in this earnings release because it believes that they provide useful and comparative information to assess trends in the Company's financial position reflected in the current quarter and year-to-date results and facilitate comparison of our performance with the performance of our peers.
In accordance with industry standards, certain designated net interest income amounts are presented on a taxable equivalent basis, including the calculation of net interest margin and the efficiency ratio. The Company believes the presentation of net interest margin on a taxable equivalent basis using a 34% effective tax rate allows comparability of net interest margin with industry peers by eliminating the effect of the differences in portfolios attributable to the proportion represented by both taxable and tax-exempt loans and investments. The efficiency ratio is a measure of a banking company's overhead as a percentage of its revenue. The Company derives this ratio by dividing total noninterest expense by the sum of the taxable equivalent net interest income and the total noninterest income.
Tangible common stockholders' equity (tangible book value) excludes goodwill and other intangible assets. The Company believes the exclusion of goodwill and other intangible assets to create "tangible equity" facilitates the comparison of results for ongoing business operations. The Company's management internally assesses its performance based, in part, on these non-GAAP financial measures.
Certain statements contained herein are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from the results in these forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such a difference include, among other matters, changes in interest rates, economic conditions, governmental regulation and legislation, credit quality, and competition affecting the Company's businesses generally; the risk of natural disasters and future catastrophic events including terrorist related incidents; and other factors discussed in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, and in subsequent reports filed on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K. The Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any of these forward-looking statements, whether to reflect new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.