First Bank reports growth

First National Corporation, parent company of First National Bank, released its fourth quarter and yearly earnings report Wednesday and reported positive growth in several areas.

Scott Harvard, president and chief executive officer for First Bank, said that he and his team are pleased with the work they did in 2016’s final quarter and the year in total.

“Everybody is excited and pleased to achieve the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year,” he said. “We had a lot of work to do to really execute and integrate Bank of America deposits and those customers and our whole team did a great job of doing that. That was reflected in good earnings for the year and improved earnings each quarter of the year. It was a great effort on everybody’s part.”

Harvard said that First Bank’s 2015 acquisition of six area Bank of America branches have helped the company’s growth and he said he thinks that can continue.

“We feel like there’s still opportunity to build off of that transaction,” he said. “We have not deployed all of those deposits. We still have some runway with the deposits that we acquired in that transaction which we think provides good potential for us. We grew deposits across the bank but now that we’ve integrated those branches we’re excited to build and grow those branches.”

According to the report, “For the year ended December 31, 2016, net income available to common shareholders totaled $5.9 million or $1.20 per share. This was an increase of $4.4 million compared to earnings for the prior year, which totaled $1.5 million or $0.31 per share. The increase in earnings resulted primarily from a $2.5 million increase in net interest income, a $2.1 million decrease in noninterest expenses, a $151 thousand increase in noninterest income and a $1.1 million decrease in the effective dividend on preferred stock. These changes were offset by a $1.4 million increase in income tax expense.”

Furthermore, return on equity increased roughly 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2015 to 13.08 percent. Net interest income was up $315,000, or 6 percent over the fourth quarter from 2015. Net loans saw increases to the tune of $15.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2016 and increased $47.3 million, or 11 percent over the entirety of 2015.

Harvard said the growth rate experienced by the company is a several-year high.

“Since the recession, there’s been a lot of noise in earnings as the dust has settled on asset quality coming out of the recession,” he said. “It’s been as solid of a trajectory over the past five or six years that we’ve seen in a decade, maybe more than a decade.”

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com