Published in Finance

Independent Bank posts strong earnings as commercial loan activity ramps up

BY Friday, October 26, 2018 11:16am

GRAND RAPIDS — The spring acquisition of TCSB Bancorp Inc. in Traverse City, combined with strong loan growth, drove earnings higher for Independent Bank Corp. in the third quarter.

The Grand Rapids-based Independent Bank (Nasdaq: IBCP) this week reported quarterly net income of $11.9 million, or 49 cents per diluted share. That compares with net income of $8.8 million, or 36 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter a year earlier.

The bank recorded net loan growth during the third quarter of $95.3 million, pushing total loans to $2.56 billion for 15.3 percent annualized growth rate. In the Grand Rapids region alone, the bank’s loan balances grew by $118 million, President and CEO Brad Kessel said.

“As we look ahead to the remainder of 2018 and beyond, we are focused on building on the momentum generated in the first nine months of 2018,” Kessel said in Independent’s quarterly earnings statement.

In a conference call with brokerage analysts to discuss quarterly results, Kessel described a “very aggressive” and “very competitive” lending market today.

“While we feel very good about where our pipelines are today in terms of what has been approved and we expect to close, we’re seeing a number of deals that just have not gone our way as competitors have come in with very aggressive pricing,” he said.

That aggressiveness is “more acute” in commercial lending, CFO and Executive Vice President Robert Shuster said. The competition has not led Independent Bank to relax underwriting standards, he said.

“I think on a selective basis we’ve had to be maybe more aggressive in pricing where we thought it made sense, but I don’t feel like we’ve been pushed to get outside the comfort zone on underwriting characteristics at all,” Shuster said.

Independent Bank’s net income for the first nine months of the year totaled $29.9 million, or $1.27 million per diluted share, compared to $18.7 million, or 87 cents per diluted share, through the third quarter of 2017.

Results included merger-related expenses of $100,000 for the third quarter and $3.4 million for the year.

Independent Bank has 68 offices in the Lower Peninsula with total assets as of Sept. 30 of $3.24 billion.

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