Exchange Bank (EXSR) reported that its earnings last year soared 97.4 percent, attributing the near doubling to the federal tax cuts.
Net income was $38.5 million for 2018, compared with $19.5 million in 2017, the Santa Rosa-based bank announced Tuesday. With the corporate-rate shift to 21 percent from 35 percent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, enacted Dec. 22, 2017, Exchange Bank increased its income tax expense in that fourth quarter by $6.9 million. Without that, bank earnings would have grown 45.8 percent from $26.4 million in 2017.
Similarly big increases in earnings are being seen for other North Bay banks reporting 2018 results. Exchange Bank Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Greg Jahn said the tax cuts “will continue to have positive impacts well into the future.”
Loan and investment growth, especially via U.S. Small Business Administration lending and wealth management, also helped boost earnings, according to the bank. Wealth-management activities rose 9 percent last year, to $7.3 million from $6.7 million in 2017. SBA loan revenue increased to $1.8 million from $1 million in 2017.
The growth in loans and investments led to an increase in net interest income of approximately $12.4 million, a 15 percent increase for the year. Income before taxes was reported at $53.5 million, compared with $43.5 million in 2017, a 22.8 percent increase.
Impact of the wildfires of 2017 which swept through the area, largely in Sonoma County, showed up in the amount of funds deposited with the bank. Total deposits grew just $36 million last year, but average balances tell quite a different story. The increase in average deposits outstanding was about $345 million, a 17 percent increase over average deposit balances of $2.03 billion in 2017.
Payout of insurance settlements from the wildfires played a large role in the increase, but average deposit balances are expected to decline as more customers move toward with rebuilding or relocating, according to Exchange Bank. Year-end assets totaled $2.6 billion.
Dividends paid Dec. 14 on common stock outstanding were $1 per share, the bank stated. Dividends paid to common shareholders in 2018 totaled $6.6 million, up 14 percent from 2017. The Doyle Trust, which funds scholarships at Santa Rosa Junior College, receives 50.44 percent of cash dividends.
The price of bank's stock last traded at $163.00 a share at the close of the Tuesday session, down 1.21 percent.