Sierra Bancorp Reports Record Quarterly Earnings
April 19, 2021
- Record net income of $11.1 million in the first quarter of 2021, a 42% increase over the same quarter in 2020 and an increase of $2.1 million, or 23% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.
- Deposits grew $229 million, or 9%, during the first quarter of 2021, compared to December 31, 2020, and are $675 million higher, or 31%, as compared to March 31, 2020.
- Return on average assets improved to 1.40% for the three months ended 2021, as compared to 1.23% in the same quarter in 2020 and 1.12% in the prior linked quarter.
- Return on average equity increased to 12.94% for the first quarter of 2021, as compared to 9.97% in the same quarter in 2020 and 10.49% in the prior linked quarter.
PORTERVILLE, CALIF.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Sierra Bancorp (Nasdaq: BSRR), parent of Bank of the Sierra, today announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. Sierra Bancorp reported consolidated net income of $11.1 million, or $0.72 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2021 compared to $7.8 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2020. The favorable variance in net income came largely from a $4.8 million increase in net interest income and a $1.6 million decrease in the provision for loan and lease losses in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the first quarter of 2020. The Company’s return on average assets and return on average equity were 1.40% and 12.94%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to 1.23% and 9.97%, respectively, in the first quarter of 2020.
“Following unprecedented core loan growth in 2020, we are happy to announce record earnings for the first quarter of 2021!” stated Kevin McPhaill, President and CEO. “This could only have been accomplished thanks to the combined efforts from our frontline banking teams, lenders, and corporate staff. They are the keys to our continued success. While there is still uncertainty, it is good to see the economy start to improve. We look forward to the remainder of this year and the opportunities that lie ahead,” McPhaill concluded.
Quarterly Changes (comparisons to the first quarter of 2020)
- The $4.8 million, or 20%, increase in net interest income is due mostly to a $3.4 million increase in interest income resulting primarily from higher loan volumes partially offset by lower rates. In addition, there was a $1.4 million favorable decline in interest expense due to a higher mix of noninterest bearing deposits and lower rates on the remaining deposits and borrowed funds.
- The provision for loan & lease losses is $1.6 million lower as a result of higher economic uncertainty being the primary driver for provision in the first quarter of 2020. The lower first quarter of 2021 provision for loan & lease losses was due to net loan recoveries and lower historical loan loss rates used in the calculation for the Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses.
- The $0.7 million, or 12%, favorable increase in noninterest income is due to a $0.4 million favorable change in the annual fair market value adjustment of restricted equity investments, and fluctuations in income on BOLI associated with deferred compensation plans. Customer service charges on deposit accounts were lower in the quarterly comparison, but were partially offset by increases in debit card interchange income.
- The efficiency ratio improved to 56.43% from 58.88% despite a 14% increase in noninterest expense, or $2.5 million, given our 20% improvement in net interest income described above. The largest expense item with an increase was salaries and benefits, with a $1.0 million increase due to lower deferred loan costs and higher bonus expense in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the same period in 2020. Further detail on remaining expense increases is described below.
Linked Quarter Changes (comparisons to the three months ended December 31, 2020)
- Net income increased by $2.1 million, or 23%, driven mostly by a $2.0 million decline in the provision for loan and lease losses.
- Noninterest income increased by $0.8 million, or 13%, due mostly to a $0.9 million increase in the fair value of restricted equity investments (this adjustment is typically recorded in the first quarter each year).
- Noninterest expense decreased $0.5 million, or 2%, mostly due to a decrease in professional fees.
Balance Sheet Changes (comparisons to December 31, 2020)
- Total assets increased by $105.3 million, or 3%, to $3.3 billion primarily due to higher cash balances resulting from deposit increases, and lower loan balances.
- Loan balances declined $175.2 million, or 7%, due primarily to seasonal declines in mortgage warehouse lines of $119.7 million as well as a $33.3 million decline in SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The remainder of the decline was primarily in construction loans as the Bank continues to supplement its core commercial real estate lending franchise with an increased strategic focus of building our commercial & industrial loans, including owner-occupied CRE loans and small business lending.
- Deposits increased by $229.3 million, or 9%. The growth in deposits came primarily from noninterest bearing or low-cost transaction, and savings accounts, while higher-cost time deposits decreased slightly.
- Other interest bearing liabilities, comprised primarily of overnight FHLB borrowings and fed funds purchased, decreased $125.5 million due to the significant increase in deposit balances.