GRAND RAPIDS — After recording strong earnings growth as a result of one merger, Mercantile Bank Corp. would consider doing another, if the right deal comes along.
Chairman and CEO Mike Price told investors that the Grand Rapids-based Mercantile Bank (Nasdaq: MBWM) remains open to M&A, and even a transaction similar to the $151.5 million “merger of equals” it completed in July 2014 with the former Firstbank Corp.
“We continue to look out there for any deals that might make some sense,” Price said in response to a question during a conference call with brokerage analysts to discuss 2015 results. “Organic growth is always our main focus, but if we find something like Firstbank which was a great deal for both franchises to put together, we’ll certainly pursue it.”
Price has consistently voiced that view since the Firstbank deal. He said in the quarterly conference call that Mercantile would even consider a deal outside of Michigan.
“There is always a chance,” he said. “I mean we prefer to look at stuff that’s within the state, but we have taken some cursory looks that have things in some neighboring state. So again, if you look at a purchase price, the dynamics of the company, the mission of the company’s performance and how it melts with our strategic initiatives, if it’s something that fits, we certainly would be willing to look at something most likely in a contiguous state.”
Mercantile Bank recorded strong earnings growth for 2015, the first full year of results following the merger with Firstbank, with net income of $27.0 million, or $1.62 per diluted share. That compares to $17.3 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, in 2014.
The bank had net income of $6.5 million, or 40 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter, versus net income of $6.3 million, or 37 cents per diluted share, in the same period of 2014.
Mercantile recorded new commercial loan originations of $532 million for the full year and $167 million in the fourth quarter alone. Loans at the end of 2015 totaled $2.27 billion, up 9.1 percent from a year ago.
With 53 offices in Western and Central Michigan, Mercantile Bank ended 2015 with total assets of $2.90 billion and total deposits of $2.27 billion.