Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. Reports Increased Second Quarter and Year-to-Date Earnings
July 25, 2017 - Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based holding company for Benchmark Community Bank, announced earnings of $1,785,754, or $0.35 per share, for the second quarter of 2017, up 7.8% from the $1,656,075, or $0.32 per share, earned during the second quarter last year. Net income through the first six months of the year amounted to $3,453,260, or $0.67 per share, a 5.3% increase from the $3,256,476, or $0.63 per share, posted through the first six months of 2016.
Return on average equity through the first six months of the year was 10.58%, up slightly from the 10.55% reported one year ago while return on assets remained unchanged at 1.23%.
Total loans at quarter-end amounted to $461.9 million, up $13.6 million year-to-date and $31.0 million over the past twelve months. Although the Federal Reserve has continued to raise interest rates, the bank’s yield on loans fell from 5.39% to 5.30% through the first six months of the year as loan rates have continued to remain low due to competitive pressure. Despite a slightly lower yield, the increase in total loans resulted in a $459 thousand increase in interest and fees earned on loans.
Total deposits of $507.4 million are up $6.7 million for the year and $41.2 million over the past twelve months. A total of $21.6 million of this growth is from non-interest bearing accounts, which has helped lower the bank’s cost of funds from 0.47% to 0.39%. The result was a decrease in interest expense from $1.1 million to $964 thousand through the first six months of the year.
Overall, the bank’s net interest margin was relatively unchanged at 4.91% when comparing the first six months of 2017 to the same period last year, while net interest income increased from $10.9 million to $11.6 million through the first six months of the year.
Net charge offs for the first six months of the year amounted to $245 thousand, up from the $39 thousand charged off in the first half of last year but still very low considering the size of the bank’s loan portfolio. Overall, asset quality remains very strong, charge offs are down, and past due loans remain steady; however, management provisioned a total of $386 thousand to the loan loss reserve to account for loan growth and increased charge offs. No provision was made to the reserve during the first six months of last year. The current loan loss reserve of $4.8 million is up from $4.6 million one year ago and equates to 1.04% of total loans.
The common stock of Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. trades on the OTC Pink marketplace under the symbol BMBN. Any stockbroker can assist with purchases of the company's stock, as well as with sales of holdings.
Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is headquartered in Kenbridge, VA, and is the company's sole subsidiary which operates twelve banking offices throughout central Southside Virginia and loan production offices in Henderson and Wake Forest, NC. In June, for the 11th year in a row, Benchmark was named one of the Top 200 Community Banks in the nation by American Banker magazine.
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