CLINTON, N.J., Oct. 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Unity Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:UNTY), parent company of Unity Bank, reported increased third quarter and year-to-date earnings. Major contributing factors included strong loan growth, increased deposits and improved credit quality. Commercial, residential mortgage and consumer lending were up; with over ten percent growth year-to-date for each.

"Our loan growth is a reflection of our commitment to the funding needs of our communities," reported James A Hughes, President and CEO. "We customize our products for our customers and we are entrepreneurial in our approach to providing solutions. That is the strength of Community Banking; knowing our customers and understanding their needs."

Net income was $2.6 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, for the three months ended September 30, 2015, a 35% increase compared to net income of $1.9 million, or $0.24 per diluted share, for the same period a year ago. Return on average assets and average common equity for the quarter were 1.00% and 13.54%, respectively, compared to 0.82% and 11.89% for the same period a year ago.

Highlights include:

  • 12.3% loan growth since year-end 2014 – 25.7% growth in consumer loans, 15.7% growth in residential mortgage loans, and 10.2% growth in commercial loans.
  • 14.7% increase in noninterest-bearing demand deposits since year-end 2014.
  • 13.0% increase in net interest income compared to the prior year’s quarter due to strong loan growth.
  • Net interest margin of 3.60% this quarter compared to 3.56% in the prior year’s quarter.
  • Improved credit quality metrics and reduced loan loss provision – $307 thousand decrease in net charge-offs compared to the prior year’s quarter and a 9.1% decrease in nonperforming loans.

"I am extremely pleased with the performance of the Bank," said James A Hughes, President and CEO. "The sustained improvement in earnings is the direct result of our sales and service culture. We are experiencing record mortgage and SBA loan origination volume which has contributed to our increased noninterest income. I remain very optimistic about our future and I look forward to reporting our continued success."

For the nine months ended September 30, 2015, net income totaled $6.9 million, or $0.81 per diluted share, compared to $4.7 million or $0.61 per diluted share in the prior year’s period. Return on average assets and average common equity for the nine month periods were 0.95% and 12.69%, respectively, compared to 0.70% and 10.47% for the same period a year ago.

Net Interest Income

Our core source of earnings, net interest income, increased $1.0 million to $8.6 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2015 compared to the prior year’s period. This increase was the result of the strong loan growth in residential mortgage, commercial and consumer loans. Average residential mortgage loans have increased $53.0 million, average commercial loans increased $52.3 million and consumer loans increased $19.6 million for the quarter-ended September 30, 2015 compared to the comparable quarter in 2014. Partially offsetting this increase was the lower level of interest income due to a reduced investment portfolio and the slight increase in deposit interest expense.

The net interest margin increased 4 basis points to 3.60% for the quarter ended September 30, 2015 compared to 3.56% for the prior year’s quarter. The expansion in the net interest margin was due to strong loan growth, partially offset by lower investment security balances.

Provision for Loan Losses

The provision for loan losses totaled $200 thousand for the quarter ended September 30, 2015, compared to $550 thousand for the prior year period. For the nine months ended September 30, 2015, the provision for loan losses was $400 thousand compared to $1.7 million for the same period last year. The decrease was the result of lower levels of net charge-offs and reduced nonperforming assets.

Noninterest Income

Noninterest income increased $422 thousand to $2.3 million for the three months ended September 30, 2015, compared to the same period last year. For the nine months ended September 30, 2015, noninterest income increased $790 thousand to $5.8 million, compared to the same period a year ago. Quarterly and year-to-date noninterest income increased due to higher gains on the sale of mortgage loans.

During the quarter, $57.7 million in residential mortgage loans were originated, of which $35.7 million were sold at a gain of $926 thousand, compared to $40.1 million originated and $16.5 million sold at a gain of $263 thousand during the prior year’s quarter. For the nine month period, $144.7 million in residential mortgage loans were originated, of which $77.9 million were sold at a gain of $2.0 million, compared to $98.7 million originated and $45.1 million sold at a gain of $816 thousand in the prior year’s period. All residential mortgage loans originated in 2015 that are held in portfolio for investment are adjustable rate mortgages or 15 year or less fixed rate mortgages.

In addition to the noninterest income increases noted above, other notable items included: 1) $3.4 million in SBA loan sales this quarter at a net gain of $308 thousand and 2) a decline in BOLI income from the prior year periods as those periods included a death benefit.

Noninterest Expense

Noninterest expense increased $611 thousand to $6.9 million for the quarter and increased $1.4 million to $20.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2015, respectively. The majority of the increase in each period was due to higher compensation and benefits expenses which rose $600 thousand for the quarter and $1.2 million for the nine month period. Compensation and benefits expenses have increased over the past twelve months due to increased head count in loan origination and support staff. In addition, mortgage commission expense increased due to the larger volume of mortgages originated and benefits expense increased due to the addition of a supplemental executive retirement plan ("SERP").

Other expense fluctuations included: higher software maintenance and technology consulting expense, audit expenses related to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act ("FDICIA") testing and director fees, while OREO expenses for the quarterly and nine month periods decreased due to lower property tax, maintenance, utility and legal costs to hold these properties.

Financial Condition

At September 30, 2015, total assets were $1.1 billion, an increase of $43.9 million from year-end 2014:

  • Total loans increased $93.7 million or 12.3%, from year-end 2014 to $855.6 million at September 30, 2015. The majority of the growth came in our commercial, residential mortgage and consumer loan portfolios which increased $41.0 million, $34.6 million and $15.2 million, respectively.
  • Total deposits increased $71.9 million or 9.1%, to $866.2 million at September 30, 2015, due primarily to increased time deposits and noninterest-bearing demand deposits, partially offset by decreased savings deposits and interest-bearing demand deposits.
  • Shareholders’ equity was $76.1 million at September 30, 2015, an increase of $5.9 million from year-end 2014, due to year-to-date net income less the dividends paid.
  • Book value per common share was $9.02 as of September 30, 2015.
  • At September 30, 2015, the leverage, common equity Tier I, Tier I and Total Risk Based Capital ratios were 8.92%, 9.37%, 11.25% and 12.50% respectively, all in excess of the ratios required to be deemed "well-capitalized".

Credit Quality

  • Nonperforming assets totaled $12.5 million at September 30, 2015, or 1.46% of total loans and OREO, compared to $12.5 million or 1.64% of total loans and OREO at year-end 2014.
  • Nonperforming loans decreased 5.5% to $10.7 million at September 30, 2015 from year-end.
  • OREO increased $597 thousand to $1.8 million at September 30, 2015 from year-end.
  • The allowance for loan losses totaled $12.4 million at September 30, 2015, or 1.45% of total loans compared to $12.6 million and 1.65% at December 31, 2014.
  • Net charge-offs were $183 thousand for the three months ended September 30, 2015, compared to $490 thousand for the same period a year ago. For the nine months ended September 30, 2015, net charge-offs were $530 thousand, a decrease of $1.4 million compared to the prior year’s period.

Unity Bancorp, Inc. is a financial service organization headquartered in Clinton, New Jersey, with approximately $1.1 billion in assets and $866 million in deposits. Unity Bank provides financial services to retail, corporate and small business customers through its 15 retail service centers located in Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Warren Counties in New Jersey and Northampton County, 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 assumption.9ns 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.

October 21 2015