CLINTON, N.J., April 24, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Unity Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNTY), parent company of Unity Bank, reported a 16.8% increase in earnings, excluding the effect of a nonrecurring gain during the prior year’s quarter. Major contributing factors included strong loan growth, increased levels of noninterest income and expense control. 

Net income for the three months ended March 31, 2017 was $3.2 million, or $0.30 per diluted share.  Net income, excluding a nonrecurring gain on the repurchase of subordinated debentures, was $2.7 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2016.  This represented a 16.8% increase from the same period a year ago.  Return on average assets and average common equity for the quarter were 1.07% and 12.02%, respectively, compared to 1.00% and 13.68% for the same period a year ago.    

During the prior year’s quarter, the Company repurchased $5.0 million of its outstanding subordinated “capital qualifying” debentures at a price of $0.5475 per dollar, thus reducing its outstanding subordinated debt to $10.3 million.  The repurchase resulted in a nonrecurring pre-tax gain of approximately $2.26 million.  Management believes excluding the nonrecurring gain from net income and reporting it in a format which is not in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (“non-GAAP”) is beneficial to the reader and provides better comparability of the Company’s performance over both periods. 

Net income for the three months ended March 31, 2017 was $3.2 million or $0.30 per diluted share, a decline of 24.1 percent compared to the prior year period net income of $4.2 million or $0.44 per diluted share which included the nonrecurring gain on the repurchase of subordinated debentures.  Return on average assets and average common equity, including the nonrecurring gain, for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 was 1.07% and 12.02%, respectively compared to 1.54% and 21.05% for the prior year period.    

First quarter highlights included:

  • Voted one of the best places to work in New Jersey by NJBIZ.
  • Installed a new modern teller system which will increase automation and efficiency.
  • 2.8% loan growth:  5.7% increase in residential mortgage loans, 5.0% increase in consumer loans and 2.0% increase in commercial loans.  Total loans now exceed $1 billion.
  • 3.7 % deposit growth:  2.2% increase in noninterest-bearing demand deposits and 7.2% increase in savings deposits.
  • Net interest income increased 15.6% compared to the prior year’s quarter due to strong loan growth. 
  • Net interest margin increased to 3.70% this quarter compared to 3.48% in the prior year’s quarter due to strong loan growth and the benefit of a rising rate environment.

“We continue to successfully implement our business plan,” stated James A. Hughes, President and CEO.  “We had a strong first quarter and see 2017 as a year of continued growth and success.  Our newest branches add geographic presence and situational opportunity to our growth plans and are performing well.  Our balance sheet is well positioned to weather interest rate changes and to profit from them. Our ongoing success presents an excellent opportunity for me to commend our dedicated and efficient employees as Unity was named by NJBIZ as one of the "Best Places to Work" in New Jersey. ”

Net Interest Income

Net interest income, our core driver of earnings, increased $1.4 million to $10.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 compared to the prior year’s quarter and the net interest margin expanded 22 basis points to 3.70% compared to 3.48% for the prior year’s quarter. 

The yield on earning assets increased 15 basis points to 4.48% for the quarter ended March 31, 2017 compared to 4.33% for the prior year’s quarter.  This increase was the result of strong commercial, residential mortgage and consumer loan growth over the prior year’s period and the benefit of a rising rate environment.  Quarterly average commercial loans increased $48.6 million, average residential mortgage loans have increased $33.0 million and consumer loans increased $15.9 million compared to the first quarter in 2016. 
The cost of interest-bearing liabilities fell 4 basis points to 1.02% for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.  While the cost of deposits increased 2 basis points to 0.83%, the cost of borrowed funds and subordinated debentures decreased 68 basis points compared to the prior year due to the modification of borrowings with the Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) and the addition of new borrowing at lower rates over the past year.  The increase in the cost of deposits was primarily driven by the growth in savings deposits.

Provision for Loan Losses

The provision for loan losses was $250 thousand for the quarter ended March 31, 2017, an increase of $50 thousand, compared to the $200 thousand provision for loan losses for the quarter ended March 31, 2016. Quarterly net charge-offs declined $177 thousand to $148 thousand compared to the first quarter 2016.

Noninterest Income

Noninterest income increased $188 thousand to $2.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017, compared to the same period last year.  Quarterly noninterest income increased due to higher service and loan fee income and gains on the sale of SBA loans.  Service and loan fee income increased due to higher loan processing fees, prepayment and payoff fees.  Gains on the sale of SBA loans increased due to a higher volume of loan sales this quarter compared with the prior year’s quarter.  SBA loan sales totaled $6.0 million with net gains on sale of $485 thousand for the quarter ended March 31, 2017, compared to $3.5 million in sales and a net gain of $308 thousand in the prior year’s quarter.  In addition, gains on the sale of mortgage loans during the quarter were $637 thousand compared to $715 thousand in the prior year’s quarter.  Mortgage loan sale volume totaled $25.7 million and $25.0 million, respectively. 

Noninterest Expense

Noninterest expense increased $833 thousand or 12.6% to $7.4 million for the quarter due primarily to compensation and benefits expenses and loan legal and OREO costs.  Since March 31, 2016, compensation and benefit expenses have risen due to the addition of two new retail branches as well as additional lending staff.  Loan legal and OREO costs increased $269 thousand compared to the prior year’s quarter due to a loss of $253 thousand on the sale of an OREO property. 

Financial Condition

At March 31, 2017, total assets were $1.2 billion, an increase of $36.2 million from year-end 2016:

  • Total securities increased $11.5 million due to purchases of $15.2 million during the quarter.
  • Total loans increased $27.3 million or 2.8%, from year-end 2016 to $1.0 billion at March 31, 2017. Residential mortgage, commercial and consumer loan portfolios increased $16.5 million, $10.2 million and $4.5 million, respectively.  SBA loans declined on sales of $6.0 million.  Our pipeline in all categories remains strong and loan growth is expected in future quarters.
  • Total deposits increased $35.0 million or 3.7%, to $980.7 million at March 31, 2017 due to our eSavings promotion. 
  • Borrowed funds decreased $1.0 million to $120.0 million at March 31, 2017 due to reduced overnight borrowings.    
  • Shareholders’ equity was $109.3 million at March 31, 2017, an increase of $3.0 million from year-end 2016, due to year-to-date net income less the dividends paid to shareholders.
  • Book value per common share was $10.38 as of March 31, 2017.
  • At March 31, 2017, the leverage, common equity Tier I, Tier I and Total Risk Based Capital ratios were 9.72%, 11.46%, 12.53% and 13.78% respectively, all in excess of the ratios required to be deemed “well-capitalized”. 

Credit Quality

  • Nonperforming assets totaled $8.9 million at March 31, 2017, or 0.89% of total loans and OREO, compared to $8.3 million or 0.85% of total loans and OREO at year-end 2016.  
  • Nonperforming loans increased 7.20% to $7.8 million at March 31, 2017 from year-end.
  • OREO totaled $1.2 million at March 31, 2017, an increase of $122 thousand from year-end.
  • The allowance for loan losses totaled $12.7 million at March 31, 2017, or 1.27% of total loans compared to $12.6 million and 1.42% at March 31, 2016.
  • Net charge-offs were $148 thousand for the three months ended March 31, 2017, compared to $325 thousand for the same period a year ago. 

Unity Bancorp, Inc. is a financial service organization headquartered in Clinton, New Jersey, with approximately $1.2 billion in assets and $981 million in deposits.  Unity Bank provides financial services to retail, corporate and small business customers through its 17 retail service centers located in Bergen, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Warren Counties in New Jersey and Northampton County in Pennsylvania.  For additional information about Unity, visit our website at www.unitybank.com, or call 800- 618-BANK.

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, either expressed or implied, which are provided to assist the reader in understanding anticipated future financial performance.  These statements may be identified by use of the words “believe”, “expect”, “intend”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “project” or similar expressions.  These statements involve certain risks, uncertainties, estimates and assumptions made by management, which are subject to factors beyond the company’s control and could impede its ability to achieve these goals.  These factors include those items included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K under the heading “Item IA-Risk Factors” as well as general economic conditions, trends in interest rates, the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans, our ability to manage and reduce the level of our nonperforming assets, and results of regulatory exams, among other factors.

This communication does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.

April 24 2017