Press Release

Solera National Bancorp Announces 2018 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Financial Results

All key metrics move in a positive direction for 2018

Company Release - 1/24/2019 9:00 AM ET

LAKEWOOD, Colo., Jan. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Solera National Bancorp, Inc. (OTC:SLRK) (“Company”), the holding company for Solera National Bank (“Bank”), a business-focused bank primarily serving the Denver metropolitan area, today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and twelve-months ended December 31, 2018. 

Highlights for the quarter and twelve-months ended December 31, 2018 include:

  • Net income increased 339%, or $1.7 million, to $2.2 million for the year ended 2018 compared to the year ended 2017.
  • Earnings per share increased 235% to $0.63 per share for the twelve months ended 2018 from $0.19 per share earned in 2017.
  • Efficiency ratio improved to 51.9% for the twelve-months ended 2018 versus 66.3% for the twelve-months ended 2017.
  • Gross loans rose $43.2 million, or 34%, for the twelve-months ended 2018 finishing the year at $170.4 million.
  • Noninterest-bearing deposits continued their steady climb, escalating 250% during the twelve-months ended 2018 to $84.3 million.
  • Net interest margin expanded 43 basis points during 2018 averaging 3.57% for the twelve-months ended 2018 and improved to 3.79% for the fourth quarter 2018.
  • Total capital increased 49% or $12.0 million during 2018 due to a successful capital raise, which added $9.7 million, and retained earnings.
  • Asset quality remained strong with nonperforming assets of only 0.02% of total assets and criticized assets of 3.3% of total assets.
  • Return on average assets improved to 1.36% for the fourth quarter 2018 and 1.04% for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018.
  • Return on average equity improved 12% over the linked-quarter to 8.47% for the fourth quarter 2018 and was 6.82% for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018.

For the three-months ended December 31, 2018, the Company reported net income of $741,000, or $0.18 per share, up from $649,000, or $0.16 per share, for the linked-quarter.  The fourth quarter 2018 results included $99,000, or $0.02 per share, in provision expense compared to $131,000, or $0.03 per share for the linked-quarter.

For the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018, the Company reported net income of $2.23 million, or $0.63 per share, compared to $509,000, or $0.19 per share, for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2017.  The 2018 results included $580,000, or $0.16 per share, in provision expense compared to $0 for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2017.  However, 2017’s results included a one-time income tax expense of approximately $610,000, or $0.22 per share, as the Company’s deferred tax assets were re-valued to reflect the reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21%.  Net income before taxes increased 71% in 2018 from $1.71 million for the 12 months ended 2017 to $2.92 million for the twelve-months ended 2018. Martin P. May, President and CEO, commented: “We continue to focus our efforts on becoming more operationally efficient, growing core deposits, and expanding our loan portfolio. Our 2018 performance is the result of the hard work and excellent client service provided by our great team of bankers, and focusing on business niches where Solera can make a difference.”

Operational Highlights

Net interest income after provision for loan and lease losses was $1.91 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 compared to $1.74 million for the linked-quarter and $1.35 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2017.  Net interest income after provision for loan and lease losses of $6.45 million increased $1.60 million, or 33%, for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018 compared to the same period last year, despite the additional $580,000 in provision expense during the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018.

Loan growth, combined with increasing interest rates, led to an increase of $2.41 million, or 46%, in interest and fees on loans for the year ended 2018 compared to the year ended 2017.  This contributed to the 43 basis point expansion in net interest margin from 3.14% for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2017 to 3.57% for the same period in 2018. 

Also aiding the improvement in the Bank’s net interest margin was the four basis point improvement in cost of funds from 1.04% for the year ended 2017 to 1.00% for the year-ended 2018.  This has been achieved despite increases in market interest rates, as the Bank has shifted the liability mix away from more expensive time deposits and other borrowings to noninterest-bearing business deposits.  The improvement in cost of funds has been a work in progress throughout 2018 and the results are more pronounced in the fourth quarter of 2018, where, despite four increases in the Federal Reserve Target Rate, the Bank’s cost of funds has declined by 16 basis from 1.05% for the fourth quarter 2017 to 0.89% for the fourth quarter 2018. 

Total noninterest income has remained steady quarter-to-quarter in 2018 between $62,000 and $67,000 a quarter.  However, for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018, noninterest income increased 13% to $256,000 compared to $226,000 for the same period in 2017.  The majority of the increase relates to increased deposit fees given the growth in the Bank’s customer base.

Noninterest expenses increased 12% to $3.78 million for the twelve-months ended 2018 compared to the same period in 2017 given the rapid growth of the Company. The increase from the prior year is principally due to higher employee compensation and benefits as the Company added five employees during the year to support the Bank’s growth.  However, as a percentage of average assets, noninterest expenses remain well managed declining from 2.03% for the twelve-months ended 2017 to 1.76% for the same period in 2018.

Strong revenues coupled with controlled noninterest expenses allowed the Company’s fourth quarter 2018 efficiency ratio (noninterest expense divided by the sum of net interest income and non-interest income) to remain below 50% for the second quarter in a row.  The efficiency ratio for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018 was an impressive improvement over 2017 at 51.9% versus 66.3%.

Income tax expense dropped $511,000 for the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018 to $691,000 compared to $1.20 million for 2017, despite the 71% increase in net income before taxes.  This is due to the decline in the corporate income tax rate from 34% in 2017 to 21% in 2018, as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the impact of that rate change on the value of the Company’s deferred tax assets as of December 31, 2017. 

Balance Sheet Review and Asset Quality Strength

Total assets of $220.68 million at December 31, 2018 increased from $216.03 million at September 30, 2018 and $173.90 million at December 31, 2017 driven by the growth in gross loans, which climbed $43.23 million or 34% during 2018.

Net loans, after allowance for loan and lease losses, were $167.66 million at December 31, 2018 compared to $161.41 million at September 30, 2018 and $125.14 million at December 31, 2017.  The change in the loan portfolio for 2018 was not only about growth, but also about diversification.  We grew the commercial and industrial segment of the loan portfolio 140%, or $13 million, to over $22 million outstanding at the end of the year.  The remainder of the growth in loans was attributable to commercial real estate loans and government guaranteed student loans. For the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018, the $42.52 million expansion in net loans consisted of originations totaling $51.48 million, a net increase in student loans of $7.31 million, partly offset by payoffs, pay downs and an increase in the allowance for loan losses totaling $16.27 million.   

The allowance for loan and lease losses remained at 1.33% of gross loans requiring a provision expense of $99,000 during the fourth quarter due to new originations.  This compared to $1.75 million, or 1.37% of gross loans at December 31, 2017.  The decline in the allowance for loan and lease losses as a percentage of gross loans since December 2017 is primarily due to growth in the student loan portfolio, which contains minimal risk of loss given a U.S. government guarantee of approximately 97.5%. 

Total investment securities available-for-sale declined $949,000 to $31.01 million at December 31, 2018 from $31.95 million at December 31, 2017.  Investment securities held-to-maturity of $4.9 million remain unchanged from prior periods.

The Company continues to experience sound asset quality metrics.  Total criticized assets of $7.26 million at December 31, 2018 remain essentially unchanged from $7.30 million at September 30, 2018 but increased $2.51 million over the $4.75 million at December 31, 2017.  Despite the increase, criticized assets to total assets remain low at 3.29% of total assets as of December 31, 2018. 

The Company had no past due commercial or residential mortgage loans as of December 31, 2018. However, $3.85 million of the student loan participation pool were 30 days+ past due at December 31, 2018.  Of the $3.85 million past due, $2.93 million were 90 days+ past due as of December 31, 2018.  The student loans are backed by an approximately 97.5% guarantee of the U.S. Treasury under the Higher Education Act of 1965.  This guarantee includes all principal and interest so net credit losses in this portfolio are expected to be minimal.  Additionally, the Bank purchased the pool at a discount resulting in the Bank’s maximum exposure to credit losses slightly less than 1%.     

The Company saw noteworthy growth in noninterest-bearing deposits during 2018, which increased 250%, or $60.22 million to $84.29 million at December 31, 2018.  As of December 31, 2018, noninterest-bearing deposits account for 47% of the Company’s total deposits.  This growth allowed the Company to reduce expensive time deposits, which declined $15.48 million during 2018 to $44.27 million as of December 31, 2018.  Total deposits at December 31, 2018 were $180.68 million, a 31%, or $43.17 million, increase over the $137.51 million at December 31, 2017 and a $4.61 million increase over the linked quarter.  Mr. May stated, “Last year, one of our goals was to be a high-performing bank when it comes to percentage of noninterest-bearing deposits to total deposits.  I’m elated to report to our shareholders that we’ve met that goal and will now push to be the leader in this measure in 2019!”

Capital Strength

The Company’s capital ratios continue to be well in excess of the highest required regulatory benchmark levels.  As of December 31, 2018, the Bank’s Tier 1 leverage ratio was 15.8%, Tier 1 risk-based capital was 20.6%, and total risk-based capital was 21.8%.

Tangible book value per share, including accumulated other comprehensive income, was $8.71 at December 31, 2018 compared to $8.47 at September 30, 2018, and $8.67 at December 31, 2017.  The tempered improvement over prior year is primarily due to an increase in the number of shares outstanding by 1,332,307, representing the additional shares sold during the first half of 2018 in the Company’s rights offering.  Total stockholders' equity was $35.48 million at December 31, 2018 compared to $23.83 million at December 31, 2017.  The increase in stockholders’ equity is also due to the rights offering which closed on May 31, 2018 and contributed $9.66 million in common equity.  Total stockholders' equity at December 31, 2018 included an accumulated other comprehensive loss of $577,000 compared to a loss of $243,000 at December 31, 2017.  The fair value of the Bank's available-for-sale investment portfolio has declined from a year ago due to an increase in interest rates. 

The Company’s accumulated deficit has dropped $2.27 million in the twelve-months ended December 31, 2018 to a total accumulated deficit of $778,000.  Additionally, during 2018, the Company utilized the remainder of its net operating loss carryforwards – less than two years from releasing the valuation allowance on this deferred tax asset.

About Solera National Bancorp, Inc.

Solera National Bancorp, Inc. was incorporated in 2006 to organize and serve as the holding company for Solera National Bank, which opened for business in September 2007.  Solera National Bank is a community bank serving the needs of emerging businesses and real estate investors.   At the core of Solera National Bank is welcoming, attentive and respectful customer service, a focus on supporting a growing and diverse economy, and a passion to serve our community through service, education and volunteerism. For more information, please visit http://www.SoleraBank.com.

This press release contains statements that may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  The statements contained in this release, which are not historical facts and that relate to future plans or projected results of Solera National Bancorp, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Solera National Bank, are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, anticipated or implied. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement.  Readers of this release are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Contacts: Martin P. May, President & CEO (303) 937-6422
 Melissa K. Larkin, EVP & CFO (303) 937-6423

FINANCIAL TABLES FOLLOW

SOLERA NATIONAL BANCORP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(unaudited)
($000s) 12/31/18 9/30/18 6/30/18 3/31/18 12/31/17
ASSETS          
Cash and due from banks $3,519  $3,105  $1,430  $2,413  $998 
Federal funds sold  2,310   3,950   5,250   580   40 
Interest-bearing deposits with banks  559   772   11,254   516   512 
Investment securities, available-for-sale  31,005   31,427   31,765   31,708   31,954 
Investment securities, held-to-maturity  4,908   4,907   4,905   4,904   4,902 
FHLB and Federal Reserve Bank stocks, at cost  1,202   1,244   1,440   1,342   1,244 
Gross loans  170,399   164,090   161,680   148,839   127,174 
Net deferred (fees)/expenses  (465)  (492)  (493)  (471)  (292)
Allowance for loan and lease losses  (2,274)  (2,186)  (2,060)  (1,800)  (1,746)
Net loans  167,660   161,412   159,127   146,568   125,136 
Premises and equipment, net  1,646   1,682   1,723   1,744   1,765 
Accrued interest receivable  1,095   1,070   1,047   1,090   837 
Bank-owned life insurance  4,721   4,694   4,667   4,640   4,612 
Other assets  2,058   1,768   1,983   2,530   1,895 
TOTAL ASSETS $220,683  $216,031  $224,591  $198,035  $173,895 
           
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
Noninterest-bearing demand deposits $84,287  $71,926  $55,284  $42,684  $24,068 
Interest-bearing demand deposits  10,561   11,230   29,331   6,108   8,049 
Savings and money market deposits  41,565   41,661   39,600   46,278   45,649 
Time deposits  44,269   51,253   61,035   61,449   59,745 
Total deposits  180,682   176,070   185,250   156,519   137,511 
           
Accrued interest payable  132   160   181   140   130 
Short-term FHLB borrowings           9,239   7,121 
Long-term FHLB borrowings  4,000   5,000   5,000   5,000   5,000 
Accounts payable and other liabilities  386   272   235   161   304 
TOTAL LIABILITIES  185,200   181,502   190,666   171,059   150,066 
           
Common stock  41   41   41   31   27 
Additional paid-in capital  36,953   36,935   36,921   30,285   27,253 
Accumulated deficit  (778)  (1,519)  (2,168)  (2,611)  (3,052)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss  (577)  (772)  (713)  (573)  (243)
Treasury stock, at cost  (156)  (156)  (156)  (156)  (156)
TOTAL STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY  35,483   34,529   33,925   26,976   23,829 
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY $220,683  $216,031  $224,591  $198,035  $173,895 
           



SOLERA NATIONAL BANCORP, INC. 
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (unaudited) 
  Three Months Ended Twelve Months Ended 
($000s, except per share data) 12/31/18 9/30/18 6/30/18 3/31/18 12/31/17 12/31/18 12/31/17 
Interest and dividend income               
Interest and fees on loans $2,121  $2,006  $1,904  $1,586  $1,473  $7,617  $5,211  
Investment securities  258   257   266   256   250   1,037   1,010  
Dividends on bank stocks  18   19   20   17   15   74   51  
Other  28   20   8   6   5   62   20  
Total interest income  2,425   2,302   2,198   1,865   1,743   8,790   6,292  
Interest expense               
Deposits  401   402   419   383   355   1,605   1,358  
FHLB borrowings  20   26   74   39   35   159   89  
Total interest expense  421   428   493   422   390   1,764   1,447  
Net interest income  2,004   1,874   1,705   1,443   1,353   7,026   4,845  
Provision for loan and lease losses  99   131   282   68      580     
Net interest income after provision for loan and lease losses  1,905   1,743   1,423   1,375   1,353   6,446   4,845  
Noninterest income               
Customer service and other fees  36   33   35   29   26   133   99  
Other income  28   30   32   33   32   123   127  
Total noninterest income  64   63   67   62   58   256   226  
Noninterest expense               
Employee compensation and benefits  584   569   560   551   513   2,264   1,926  
Occupancy  73   56   50   48   49   227   192  
Professional fees  41   19   19   53   42   132   162  
Other general and administrative  291   314   284   266   296   1,155   1,080  
Total noninterest expense  989   958   913   918   900   3,778   3,360  
Net Income Before Taxes  $980  $848  $577  $519  $511  $2,924  $1,711  
Income Tax Expense  (239)  (199)  (134)  (119)  (790)  (691)  (1,202) 
Net Income (Loss) $741  $649  $443  $400  $(279) $2,233  $509  
                
Income (Loss) Per Share $0.18  $0.16  $0.13  $0.15  $(0.10) $0.63  $0.19  
Tangible Book Value Per Share $8.71  $8.47  $8.32  $8.52  $8.67  $8.71  $8.67  
Net Interest Margin  3.79%  3.67%  3.44%  3.36%  3.33%  3.57%  3.14% 
Cost of Funds  0.89%  0.95%  1.10%  1.10%  1.05%  1.00%  1.04% 
Efficiency Ratio  47.82%  49.46%  50.58%  59.89%  63.78%  51.88%  66.26% 
Return on Average Assets  1.36%  1.18%  0.84%  0.86%  (0.65)%  1.04%  0.31% 
Return on Average Equity  8.47%  7.58%  5.82%  6.30%  (4.65)%  6.82%  2.14% 
                
Asset Quality:               
Non-performing loans to gross loans  0.02%  0.02%  %  %  %     
Non-performing assets to total assets  0.02%  0.02%  %  %  %     
Allowance for loan losses to gross loans  1.33%  1.33%  1.27%  1.21%  1.37%     
                
Criticized loans/assets:               
Special mention $1,603  $1,608  $4,346  $2,709  $1,232      
Substandard: Accruing  5,035   5,068   2,423   2,442   2,924      
Substandard: Nonaccrual  34   36               
Doubtful                    
Total criticized loans $6,672  $6,712  $6,769  $5,151  $4,156      
Other real estate owned                    
Investment securities  585   586   588   589   590      
Total criticized assets $7,257  $7,298  $7,357  $5,740  $4,746      
Criticized assets to total assets  3.29%  3.38%  3.28%  2.90%  2.73%     
                
Selected Financial Ratios: (Solera National Bank Only)    
Tier 1 leverage ratio  15.8%  15.9%  16.1%  14.8%  13.6%     
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio  20.6%  21.1%  20.8%  18.1%  17.4%     
Total risk-based capital ratio  21.8%  22.3%  22.0%  19.4%  18.7%     
                

SoleraNationalBancorp-Logo.jpg

Source: Solera National Bank