Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter And 2017 Earnings

GREEN BAY, Wis., Jan. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCBS) ("Nicolet") announced fourth quarter 2017 net income of $9.1 million and earnings per diluted common share of $0.88, compared to $9.5 million and $0.91 for third quarter 2017, and $6.1 million and $0.68 for fourth quarter 2016, respectively.  Annualized quarterly return on average assets was 1.27%, 1.34% and 1.07%, for fourth quarter 2017, third quarter 2017 and fourth quarter 2016, respectively.

Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. Logo (PRNewsFoto/Nicolet Bankshares, Inc.)

Net income for the year ended December 31, 2017 was $33.1 million, 80% higher than $18.5 million for 2016. Earnings per diluted common share were $3.33 for 2017, 40% higher than $2.37 for 2016.  Return on average assets was 1.25% for 2017 and 0.95% for 2016.  

"2017 was a great year no matter how you slice it.  These results are directly attributable to our focus on customer service, employee attitude, and long-term values," said Bob Atwell, Chairman and CEO of Nicolet.  "Effective execution and integration of our recent acquisitions, combined with organic growth in support of our strategic values, led to this exceptional performance."

"We had several significant achievements during 2017, including phenomenal growth in both loans and core deposits, growing revenue streams, and effective cost management," Atwell said.  "We are generating consistent returns on average assets over 1%, while maintaining strong asset quality and capital."

The timing of the 2016 acquisitions (Baylake Corp. and a financial advisory business acquisition each completed in April 2016) and the April 2017 First Menasha Bancshares, Inc. acquisition impacts financial comparisons.  Certain income statement results, average balances and related ratios for 2017 include full period contributions from the 2016 acquisitions plus eight months of First Menasha operations, versus eight months from the 2016 acquisitions and no contribution of First Menasha in the comparable 2016 period.   Given the activity of multiple mergers, quarterly results included non-recurring other direct merger and integration pre-tax expenses of $0.2 million and $0.3 million in the first and second quarters of 2017, respectively, and $0.4 million, $2.1 million, $0.1 million, and $0.4 million in the first, second, third, and fourth quarters of 2016, respectively.      

Net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2017, was $9.1 million, down $0.4 million or 4% from $9.5 million for third quarter 2017, as third quarter 2017 benefited from a $1.2 million pre-tax gain ($0.7 million after tax) to record the fair value of Nicolet's pre-acquisition interest in First Menasha.  On a comparable quarter basis, net income was up $3.0 million or 50% over the fourth quarter of 2016, aided largely by the inclusion of First Menasha and a lower effective tax rate.

Net interest income increased by $0.1 million over third quarter 2017, comprised of a $0.4 million increase in interest income (partly attributable to higher earning asset volumes) and a $0.3 million increase in interest expense (driven mostly by rising rates).  Between the linked quarters, noninterest income excluding net gains was down $0.2 million or 2%, with net mortgage income down $0.4 million on seasonally lower volumes, partially offset by $0.2 million higher trust and brokerage fees combined.  Noninterest expense increased $1.0 million or 5%, with personnel costs up $0.6 million or 5% mainly from higher equity award and incentive costs between the quarters.  Finally, the provision for loan losses decreased from $1.0 million to $0.5 million for the fourth quarter in light of the charge off of a large commercial loan during third quarter 2017.    

Net income for 2017 was $33.1 million, up $14.7 million or 80% over 2016.  The increase is largely attributable to the timing of adding the acquisitions as previously noted, benefits from strong organic loan growth, higher aggregate discount accretion on purchased loans, effective cost management, and $2.5 million lower direct merger-related costs between the years. Diluted earnings per common share for 2017 was $3.33, up $0.96 or 40% over the comparable period last year, aided by strong earnings but impacted in part by an increase of approximately 30% in diluted average shares mostly due to stock consideration issued in the acquisitions.

Nonperforming assets declined to $14 million, representing 0.49% of total assets at December 31, 2017, down favorably from 0.97% at year-end 2016.  For 2017, the provision for loan losses was $2.3 million compared to net charge offs of $1.5 million, with a $1.0 million commercial loan charge off in the third quarter.  The allowance for loan losses was $12.7 million, representing 0.61% of total loans at December 31, 2017, compared to 0.75% at year-end 2016, mainly a result of recording acquired loans at their fair value with no carryover of allowance. 

Since December 31, 2016, total assets increased by $0.6 billion or 27% to $2.9 billion, attributable largely to the acquisition of First Menasha which was approximately 20% of Nicolet's pre-merger size and the remainder to net organic growth.  Excluding the impact of First Menasha, loans increased $168 million or 11% since year-end 2016, and deposits increased $126 million or 6% organically.

Total capital was $364 million at December 31, 2017, comprised entirely of common equity.  Common equity increased $88 million since December 31, 2016, mostly due to stock issued in connection with the 2017 acquisition and net income.  During the fourth quarter of 2017, Nicolet utilized $2.7 million to repurchase and cancel approximately 48,400 shares under its common stock repurchase program, bringing the 2017 full year totals to $10.0 million for approximately 188,600 shares repurchased and life-to-date cumulative totals to $24.1 million for just over 700,000 shares repurchased.  There remains $5.9 million authorized under the repurchase program which Nicolet may from time to time repurchase shares in the open market or through block transactions as market conditions warrant or in private transactions as an alternative use of capital. 

The Company adopted a new accounting standard as required effective January 1, 2017, which requires the tax impact of stock option exercises to be recorded as a reduction to income tax expense rather than to stockholders' equity directly.  As a result of this accounting change and particularly large option exercises in fourth quarter 2017, income tax expense included a favorable tax benefit of $1.7 million and $1.9 million for the fourth quarter and full year 2017, respectively, for the tax impact of stock option exercises. 

On December 22, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, necessitating that all companies evaluate deferred tax asset and liability positions for year-end 2017 under the lower corporate tax rate, as well as other impacts.  Income tax expense included $0.9 million additional expense in fourth quarter 2017 related to the Company's current evaluation of this tax law change.  If, in the future, the interpretations of the new tax law were to change, the Company's current estimates may require adjustments. 

Atwell commented, "Policy makers have differing opinions about what to expect from tax reform. It is very clear that reform will provide an additional boost to the upward trends in wages, after tax earnings, business investment and consumer sentiment. Our markets have effectively been operating at full employment for the last several years which has already caused compensation levels to rise for our customers and our employees. This is a healthy trend and we expect reform to have a further impact. This additional stimulus can also affect the timing and the amount of interest rate changes. These upward trends and this sense of optimism are augmented, but not bestowed, by tax savings. They come from the hard work of our customers, our employees and the genuine desire we share to keep our communities strong and viable. We want our customers and our employees to do even better because shareholder return is the result of their hard work and prosperity."   

About Nicolet Bankshares, Inc.
Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. is the bank holding company of Nicolet National Bank, a growing, full-service, community bank providing services ranging from commercial and consumer banking to wealth management and retirement plan services.  Founded in Green Bay in 2000, Nicolet National Bank operates branches in Northeast and Central Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan.  More information can be found at www.nicoletbank.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities law.  Statements in this release that are not strictly historical are forward-looking and based upon current expectations that may differ materially from actual results.  These forward-looking statements, identified by words such as "will", "expect", "believe" and "prospects", involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by the statement made herein.  These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic trends and changes in interest rates, increased competition, regulatory or legislative developments affecting the financial industry generally or Nicolet specifically, the interpretations and impact of the recently enacted tax legislation, changes in consumer demand for financial services, the possibility of unforeseen events affecting the industry generally or Nicolet specifically, the uncertainties associated with newly developed or acquired operations and market disruptions.  Nicolet undertakes no obligation to release revisions to these forward-looking statements publicly to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unforeseen events, except as required to be reported under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Nicolet Bankshares, Inc.


Consolidated Financial Summary (Unaudited)




At or for the Quarter Ended




At or for the Year Ended


(In thousands, except per share data)


12/31/2017



9/30/2017



6/30/2017



3/31/2017



12/31/2016




12/31/2017



12/31/2016


Results of operations:























Interest income

$

29,836


$

29,454


$

26,880


$

23,083


$

21,892



$

109,253


$

75,467


Interest expense


3,329



3,063



2,353



1,766



1,868




10,511



7,334


Net interest income


26,507



26,391



24,527



21,317



20,024




98,742



68,133


Provision for loan losses


450



975



450



450



450




2,325



1,800


Net interest income after provision for loan losses


26,057



25,416



24,077



20,867



19,574




96,417



66,333


Noninterest income


8,621



10,164



9,085



6,769



7,894




34,639



26,674


Noninterest expense


21,858



20,862



20,313



18,323



18,386




81,356



64,942


Income before income taxes


12,820



14,718



12,849



9,313



9,082




49,700



28,065


Income tax expense


3,662



5,133



4,440



3,032



2,939




16,267



9,371


Net income


9,158



9,585



8,409



6,281



6,143




33,433



18,694


Net income attributable to noncontrolling interest


55



74



81



73



56




283



232


Net income attributable to Nicolet Bankshares, Inc.


9,103



9,511



8,328



6,208



6,087




33,150



18,462


Preferred stock dividends


-



-



-



-



-




-



633


Net income available to common equity

$

9,103


$

9,511


$

8,328


$

6,208


$

6,087



$

33,150


$

17,829


Earnings per common share:























Basic

$

0.93


$

0.97


$

0.88


$

0.72


$

0.71



$

3.51


$

2.49


Diluted

$

0.88


$

0.91


$

0.83


$

0.69


$

0.68



$

3.33


$

2.37


Common Shares:























Basic weighted average


9,805



9,837



9,516



8,584



8,555




9,440



7,158


Diluted weighted average


10,368



10,409



9,992



8,958



8,966




9,958



7,514


Outstanding


9,818



9,799



9,863



8,605



8,553




9,818



8,553


Noninterest Income/Noninterest Expense:























Service charges on deposit accounts

$

1,237


$

1,238


$

1,121


$

1,008


$

1,057



$

4,604


$

3,571


Mortgage income, net


1,339



1,774



1,406



842



1,781




5,361



5,494


Trust services fee income


1,600



1,479



1,485



1,467



1,435




6,031



5,435


Brokerage fee income


1,544



1,500



1,433



1,259



1,534




5,736



3,624


Card interchange income


1,268



1,225



1,173



980



968




4,646



3,167


Other noninterest income


1,675



1,643



1,695



1,219



1,613




6,232



5,329


Noninterest income without net gains

$

8,663


$

8,859


$

8,313


$

6,775


$

8,388



$

32,610


$

26,620


Gain (loss) on sale, disposal or writedown of assets, net


(42)



1,305



772



(6)



(494)




2,029



54


Total noninterest income

$

8,621


$

10,164


$

9,085


$

6,769


$

7,894



$

34,639


$

26,674

























Personnel expense

$

12,054


$

11,488


$

10,983


$

9,933


$

9,282



$

44,458


$

34,030


Occupancy, equipment and office


3,695



3,559



3,223



2,831



2,952




13,308



10,276


Business development and marketing


1,341



1,113



1,317



929



1,135




4,700



3,488


Data processing


2,287



2,238



2,207



1,983



1,962




8,715



6,370


FDIC assessments


205



205



145



232



420




787



911


Intangibles amortization


1,181



1,173



1,178



1,163



1,163




4,695



3,458


Other noninterest expense


1,095



1,086



1,260



1,252



1,472




4,693



6,409


Total noninterest expense

$

21,858


$

20,862


$

20,313


$

18,323


$

18,386



$

81,356


$

64,942






At or for the Quarter Ended




At or for the Year Ended


(In thousands, except per share data)


12/31/2017



9/30/2017



6/30/2017



3/31/2017



12/31/2016




12/31/2017



12/31/2016


Period-End Balances:























Loans

$

2,087,925


$

2,051,122


$

2,009,964


$

1,618,279


$

1,568,907



$

2,087,925


$

1,568,907


Allowance for loan losses


12,653



12,610



12,591



12,189



11,820




12,653



11,820


Investment securities available-for-sale, at fair value


405,153



408,217



418,286



404,358



365,287




405,153



365,287


Intangibles


128,406



129,588



128,871



86,776



87,938




128,406



87,938


Total assets


2,932,433



2,845,730



2,825,917



2,292,644



2,300,879




2,932,433



2,300,879


Deposits


2,471,064



2,366,951



2,389,971



1,946,271



1,969,986




2,471,064



1,969,986


Common equity


364,178



360,426



352,384



285,022



275,947




364,178



275,947


Stockholders' equity


364,178



360,426



352,384



285,022



275,947




364,178



275,947


Book value per common share


37.09



36.78



35.73



33.12



32.26




37.09



32.26


Average Balances:























Loans

$

2,066,974


$

2,035,277


$

1,888,320


$

1,599,701


$

1,560,437



$

1,899,225


$

1,346,304


Earning assets


2,531,066



2,505,073



2,336,124



2,028,291



1,999,999




2,351,451



1,723,600


Total assets


2,852,400



2,825,542



2,635,925



2,272,836



2,267,990




2,648,754



1,934,770


Deposits


2,385,821



2,377,229



2,214,865



1,929,062



1,932,474




2,228,408



1,641,894


Interest-bearing liabilities


1,835,375



1,854,340



1,779,366



1,526,779



1,484,497




1,750,099



1,307,471


Intangibles


128,980



129,158



115,698



87,344



88,502




115,447



61,588


Common equity


361,455



358,227



329,201



280,188



276,760




332,897



217,432


Stockholders' equity


361,455



358,227



329,201



280,188



276,760




332,897



226,265


Financial Ratios*:























Return on average assets


1.27

%


1.34

%


1.27

%


1.11

%


1.07

%



1.25

%


0.95

%

Return on average common equity


9.99



10.53



10.15



8.99



8.75




9.96



8.20


Return on average tangible common equity


15.53



16.47



15.64



13.06



12.86




15.24



11.44


Average equity to average assets


12.67



12.68



12.49



12.33



12.20




12.57



11.69


Earning asset yield


4.73



4.72



4.67



4.67



4.43




4.75



4.44


Cost of funds


0.72



0.65



0.53



0.47



0.50




0.60



0.56


Net interest margin


4.21



4.24



4.27



4.32



4.05




4.30



4.01


Stockholders' equity to assets


12.42



12.67



12.47



12.43



11.99




12.42



11.99


Net loan charge-offs to average loans


0.08



0.19



0.01



0.02



0.03




0.08



0.02


Nonperforming loans to total loans


0.63



0.70



0.84



0.85



1.29




0.63



1.29


Nonperforming assets to total assets


0.49



0.55



0.66



0.70



0.97




0.49



0.97


Allowance for loan losses to loans


0.61



0.61



0.63



0.75



0.75




0.61



0.75


Effective tax rate


28.56



34.88



34.56



32.56



32.36




32.73



33.39


Selected Tax Items:























Tax expense (benefit) on stock-based compensation

$

(1,678)


$

(15)


$

(64)


$

(97)


$

-



$

(1,854)


$

-


Tax expense (benefit) of tax reform items


896



-



-



-



-




896



-

























*Income statement-related ratios for partial-year periods are annualized.

 

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SOURCE Nicolet Bankshares, Inc.

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