OVBC reports 4th quarter and Fiscal Year earnings


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GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — Ohio Valley Banc Corp. [Nasdaq: OVBC] (the “Company”) reported consolidated net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, of $3,498,000, a decrease of $358,000 from the $3,856,000 earned for the fourth quarter of 2018. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2019 were $.73 compared to $.82 for the prior year fourth quarter. For the year ended December 31, 2019, net income totaled $9,907,000, a decrease of $2,037,000, or 17.1 percent, from net income of $11,944,000 for the year ended December 31, 2018. Earnings per share were $2.08 for 2019 versus $2.53 for 2018. Return on average assets and return on average equity were .96 percent and 8.10 percent, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to 1.12 percent and 10.63 percent, respectively, for the same period in the prior year.

Thomas E. Wiseman, CEO of Ohio Valley Banc Corp., commented, “It’s not often a company records its second highest earnings, and yet feels the year wasn’t a complete success. 2019 began with the loss of a key line of business, tax refund processing. While much was done to offset this sudden loss, in the final analysis, the revenue associated with this key line, which impacted both interest and noninterest income, simply couldn’t be replicated. The Company did however take the opportunity to initiate changes that should positively impact expenses moving forward and continued to explore new revenue sources. That along with the continued positive impact of our community first mission gives us momentum entering 2020.”

For the fourth quarter of 2019, net interest income decreased $427,000, and for the year ended December 31, 2019, net interest income decreased $674,000, from the same respective periods last year. For the three months ended December 31, 2019, the decrease in net interest income was primarily related to the decrease in the net interest margin, which contracted in relation to actions taken by the Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates during the second half of 2019. For the three months ended December 31, 2019, the net interest margin was 4.30 percent, compared to 4.50 percent for the same period the prior year. The primary contributor to lower year-to-date net interest income was the decrease in average earning assets due to not processing tax refunds in 2019. As previously disclosed in 2018, a third-party tax refund product provider elected to terminate the Ohio Valley Bank’s processing contract early. During 2018, the processing of tax refunds provided $57 million in average deposits that were invested in the Federal Reserve. This activity generated approximately $944,000 in interest revenue for the year ended December 31, 2018 that was not replicated in 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the net interest margin was 4.51 percent, compared to 4.43 percent for the same period the prior year. The increase in the year-to-date net interest margin was primarily related to the higher balances maintained at the Federal Reserve during 2018, which diluted the net interest margin due to the yield on those balances being less than other earning assets, such as loans and securities.

For the three months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, the Company recorded recovery of loan losses, which improved by $359,000, and for the year ended December 31, 2019, the provision for loan losses decreased $39,000, from the same respective periods in 2018. For the three months ended December 31, 2019, the recovery of loan loss expense of $1,015,000 was primarily related to net recoveries of loans previously charged-off totaling $1,135,000. During the fourth quarter of 2019, the Company received two large recoveries totaling $1,499,000. In association with the heightened recoveries, the historical loan loss factors improved along with certain economic risk factors, which contributed to lower general reserves. These improved trends were partially offset by an increase in specific allocations on collateral dependent impaired loans totaling $807,000. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the provision for loan losses incurred of $1,000,000 was primarily related to year-to-date net loan charge-offs of $1,456,000 and an increase in specific allocations on collateral dependent impaired loans of $709,000, which was partially offset by lower general reserves in relation to improved economic risk factors, such as the level of criticized assets and historical loan loss factors. The ratio of nonperforming loans to total loans was 1.30 percent at December 31, 2019 compared to 1.25 percent at December 31, 2018. The allowance for loan losses was .81 percent of total loans at December 31, 2019, compared to .87 percent at December 31, 2018.

For the three months ended December 31, 2019, noninterest income totaled $3,210,000, an increase of $1,813,000 from the same period last year. Noninterest income totaled $9,166,000 for the year ended December 31, 2019, an increase of $228,000 from the same period last year. Contributing to the increase for the quarter was the net gain of $1,256,000 from the sale of the New Holland and Mount Sterling branch locations that occurred in the fourth quarter. Also contributing to higher quarterly noninterest income was the decrease in the loss on sale of other real estate owned, which decreased $570,000 from the prior year fourth quarter. The primary contributor to this decrease was the liquidation of one foreclosed property during the fourth quarter of 2018, which resulted in a loss on sale of $594,000. The increase in year-to-date noninterest income was related to the gain on the branch sale and lower losses on other real estate owned, as discussed above. Interchange income earned from debit and credit transactions also contributed to the increase. For the year ended December 31, 2019, interchange income increased $243,000 from the same period last year in relation to the growth in number of cards issued and higher transaction volume. Partially offsetting these increases was the decrease in tax refund processing fees. In relation to the third-party tax refund provider terminating the contract as previously discussed, the Company experienced a decline in tax processing fees, which is a per item fee for each tax refund processed. As a result of Ohio Valley Bank not performing such service in 2019, tax processing fees decreased $1,574,000 from year ended December 31, 2018.

For the three months ended December 31, 2019, noninterest expense totaled $10,401,000, an increase of $2,218,000 from the same period last year. For the year ended December 31, 2019, noninterest expense totaled $39,498,000, an increase of $2,072,000, or 5.5 percent, from the same period last year. The Company’s largest noninterest expense, salaries and employee benefits, increased $1,398,000 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2018 and increased $1,333,000 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2018. During the fourth quarter of 2019, the Company offered a voluntary severance package to select employees meeting certain criteria. In relation to those that accepted the severance package, the Company incurred a one-time expense of $1,507,000, which is anticipated to reduce salary and employee benefit expense going forward. Absent the severance payout, salary and employee benefit expense would have decreased from the prior year primarily due to the lower number of employees in 2019, which more than offset the expense increase associated with annual merit increases. Further contributing to higher year-to-date noninterest expense was an increase in professional fees of $492,000 from the year ended December 31, 2018, primarily due to litigation related to the early termination of the Ohio Valley Bank’s tax refund processing contract. Partially offsetting the increases above was the decrease in FDIC insurance premiums. For the year ended December 31, 3019, FDIC insurance premiums decreased $334,000 in relation to a lower assessment rate and the receipt of a portion of our premium credit granted by the FDIC during the second half of 2019.

The Company’s total assets at December 31, 2019 were $1.013 billion, a decrease of $17 million from December 31, 2018. The decrease in assets was related to a $19 million decrease in cash and cash equivalents due to the funding requirement associated with the sale of branches. Included in the sale of branches was $26 million in deposits, which contributed to the $25 million decrease in total deposits from December 31, 2018. At December 31, 2019, total shareholders’ equity totaled $128 million, an increase of $10.3 million, or 8.7 percent, from the prior year end.

Submitted by OVBC.

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