Benchmark reports increased earnings
Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Benchmark Bankshares Inc., the Kenbridge-based holding company for Benchmark Community Bank, announced earnings of $1,656,075, or 32 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2016, up slightly from $1,635,361, or 32 cents per share, earned during the second quarter of 2015, according to a bank press release.
“Net income through the first six months of the year amounted to $3,256,476, or 63 cents per share, a 2.7 percent increase from the $3,170,695, or 61 cents per share, posted through the first six months of 2015,” the release noted.
The bank said return on average equity through the first six months of the year was 10.55 percent, down from the 11.07 percent reported one year ago while return on assets declined from 1.30 percent to 1.23 percent for the same period.
“Total loans at quarter-end amounted to $430.9 million, up $6.7 million year-to-date and $21.9 million over the past 12 months. With continued low interest rates and increasing competition for loans, the bank’s yield on loans fell from 5.50 percent to 5.39 percent through the first six months of the year while interest and fees earned on loans increased by $555,000 for the period.”
According to the bank, total deposits of $466.2 million, while down $8.3 million from Dec. 31, 2015, are up $26.1 million over the past year as management continues to focus on customer relationship building and increasing core deposits. The interest rate environment, as with loan rates, continues to keep deposit rates low.
“The current 0.47 percent cost of deposits is down from 0.56 percent last June, reducing year-to-date interest expense from $1.2 million to $1.1 million through the first six months of the year. Overall, the bank’s net interest margin declined from 4.88 percent to 4.49 percent when comparing the first six months of 2016 to the same period last year while net interest income increased from $10.2 million to $10.9 million through the first six months of the year.”
“Net charge offs for the first six months of the year amounted to $39 thousand, down from $101 thousand charged off in the first half of last year,” the release stated. “Overall, asset quality remains very strong, charge offs are down, and past due loans remain steady, resulting in no provision to the loan loss reserve year-to-date. This compares to $230,535 expensed to the loan loss reserve through the first six months of last year. The current loan loss reserve of $4.7 million remains relatively unchanged from June of 2015 and equates to 1.09 percent of total loans. “
Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971 and headquartered in Kenbridge, and is the company’s sole subsidiary which operates 12 banking offices throughout central Southside Virginia and loan production offices in Wake Forest and Henderson, N.C.
In June, for the 10th year in a row, Benchmark was named one of the Top 200 Community Banks in the nation by American Banker magazine.