Cincinnati-based First Financial Bank reported strong net income gains for the fourth quarter of 2014 and for the yearlong period ending Dec. 31.
Fourth-quarter net income was $18.6 million, and earnings per diluted common share were 30 cents. This compares with third-quarter net income of $15.3 million and earnings per diluted common share of 26 cents. Fourth-quarter net income in 2013 was $3.8 million, and earnings per diluted common share were 7 cents.
For the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, net income was $65 million and earnings per diluted share were $1.09. That compares to net income of $48.3 million and earnings per diluted common share of 83 cents for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2013.
“We are extremely pleased with our solid earnings for the fourth quarter and for the full year 2014 in light of the prolonged low-interest rate environment and continued runoff of higher-yielding loans acquired under FDIC Shared Loss Agreements,” Claude Davis, chief executive officer, said in a media release.
First Financial has locations and services in Columbus, Taylorsville, Seymour, Edinburgh, Hope, North Vernon and Franklin, in addition to locations within facilities such as Camp Atterbury and ATM locations.
Highlights of the fourth-quarter performance results included:
Return on average assets of 1.02 percent, 1.07 percent as adjusted for acquisition-related and other items.
Quarterly results included several acquisition-related items and other items not expected to recur, which reduced pre-tax income by $1.5 million or about 2 cents per diluted share.
Return on average tangible common equity of 11.63 percent, 12.24 percent as adjusted for acquisition-related and other items.
Data platform conversions are complete for all three banks acquired by the company in 2014.
Merger-related costs have largely been recognized and were in line with expectations.
Loan and deposit growth were in line with expectations.
The majority of identified efficiency opportunities have been fully implemented.
First Financial moved into the Columbus, Ohio, market through acquisitions in 2014.
Fourth-quarter average total loans increased $358.4 million, or 8.2 percent, and average total deposits increased by $442.8 million, or 8.5 percent, compared to third-quarter averages, the company said. That was largely related to the acquisitions in the Columbus, Ohio, market and strong third-quarter loan and deposit growth.
The board of directors has authorized a quarterly dividend of 16 cents per common share for the next regularly scheduled dividend, payable April 1 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 27.