- Net income for 2020 reached a record high of $40.8 million, up 8.9% year-over-year.
- Diluted Earnings Per Share (EPS) grew to $2.64 for the year.
- Profitability ratios remained solid in 2020, as return on average equity (ROE) was 12.77% and return on average assets (ROA) was 1.17%.
- Record highs were also achieved at year-end for total assets and total equity.
- Significant support provided throughout the pandemic for employees, customers and the community.
GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (January 28, 2021) – Arrow Financial Corporation (NasdaqGS® – AROW) announced operating results for the three- and 12-month periods ended December 31, 2020. For the fourth quarter of 2020, net income was $12.5 million, an increase of $2.8 million, or 28.3%, from the fourth quarter of 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2020, net income was a record $40.8 million, up 8.9% over net income of $37.5 million for 2019. Diluted EPS was $0.81 for the fourth quarter, up 28.6% from $0.63 from the comparable 2019 quarter, and $2.64 for 2020, up 8.5% from $2.43 in 2019.
Profitability ratios remained solid in 2020, as return on average equity (ROE) and return on average assets (ROA) were 12.77% and 1.17%, respectively, as compared to 13.17% and 1.24%, respectively, for 2019. ROE was 14.98% for the fourth quarter, up from 13.05% from the fourth quarter of 2019. ROA was 1.34% for the fourth quarter, which represents an increase from 1.24% for the comparable 2019 quarter.
“Arrow delivered a strong performance in 2020 amid the challenges of a global pandemic, ending the year with record earnings, steady growth, sustained profitability and credit quality," said Arrow President and CEO Thomas J. Murphy. “As we reflect on the year, we are proud to have provided temporary financial assistance, stimulus program support, Paycheck Protection Program loans and charitable contributions in our communities. I thank our team for their continued focus on safety and customer needs during these unprecedented times."
In 2020, Arrow opened a 12th Saratoga National Bank Branch, as well as a Capital Region Business Development Office in Latham, New York. Additionally, Glens Falls National Bank consolidated Branches in Queensbury and Greenwich into nearby locations.
COVID-19 Response: As part of our continued focus on health and safety, Arrow again limited access at its facilities to appointment-only in early 2021. Drive-ins and ATMs are currently open, and we continue to promote digital banking alternatives. Inside our facilities, safety measures continue to be followed, including required face coverings, social distancing and personal protective equipment such as shields and hand sanitizing stations, along with frequent cleanings.
Requests in our banks for financial hardship assistance were reduced from early pandemic levels. Loans being deferred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic were $15.3 million as of December 31, 2020. We also worked closely with small business borrowers from the first round of Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans on the forgiveness process. Currently, we are helping customers obtain funding through an additional round of PPP support. As of year-end, we had assisted more than 1,400 small businesses, with more than $142.7 million in aggregate PPP loans.
We continue to monitor the impact of the pandemic on our business and results of operations. Remote work is encouraged whenever feasible for our employees. In addition, work-related travel remains paused and in-person meetings have been minimized. We remain committed to delivering essential financial services to our communities.
The following expands upon our fourth-quarter and 2020 results:
Loan Growth: At December 31, 2020, total loan balances reached $2.6 billion, up $209 million, or 8.8%, from the prior-year level. The consumer loan portfolio grew by $48.6 million, or 6.0%, over the balance at December 31, 2019, primarily as a result of continued strength in the indirect automobile lending program. The residential real estate loan portfolio increased $9.2 million, or 1.0%. The increase in the real estate loan portfolio is net of approximately $83.9 million of loans sold in 2020. Commercial loans, including commercial real estate, increased $151.1 million, or 22.9%, over the balances at December 31, 2019. The increase in commercial loans includes $114.6 million in remaining PPP loans.
Deposit Growth: At December 31, 2020, total deposit balances reached $3.2 billion, up by $618.7 million, or 23.6%, from the prior-year level. Noninterest-bearing deposits grew by $216.4 million, or 44.6%, during 2020, and represented 21.7% of total deposits at year-end as compared to the prior-year level of 18.5%. At December 31, 2020, total time deposits decreased $117.7 million from the prior-year level, including $80.6 million in brokered time deposits.
Net Interest Income: Net interest income for the year ending December 31, 2020 was $99.2 million, an increase of $11.2 million, or 12.7%, from the prior year. Loan growth generated $100.5 million in interest and fees on loans, an increase of 5.3% from the $95.5 million in interest and fees on loans for the year ending December 31, 2019. Interest expense for the year ending December 31, 2020 was $12.7 million. This is a decrease of $9.0 million, or 41.5%, from the $21.7 million in expense for the year ending December 31, 2019. The net interest margin was 2.99% for the year ending December 31, 2020, as compared to 3.05% for the year ended December 31, 2019. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the net interest margin was 2.96%, as compared to 3.06% for the fourth quarter of 2019. The decrease in net interest margin from the prior year was due to a variety of factors, including lower interest rates and increased cash balances.
Noninterest Income: Noninterest income was $32.7 million for the year ending December 31, 2020, an increase of 14.4% as compared to $28.6 million for the year ending December 31, 2019. Favorable market conditions in 2020 contributed to a $3.3 million increase in the gain on the sale of loans. Income generated from fiduciary activities as well as fees for other services from customers were flat compared to the prior year. Insurance revenue decreased by $306 thousand from the prior year. Noninterest income represented 24.8% of total revenues in 2020 as compared to 24.5% for the year ending December 31, 2019. Other operating income increased in 2020 as compared to 2019 as a result of several factors, including gain on sale of fixed assets and other real estate owned, as well as increased income related to interest rate swap agreements and bank owned life insurance.
Noninterest Expense: Noninterest expense for the year ending December 31, 2020 increased by $3.2 million, or 4.8%, to $70.7 million compared to $67.5 million in 2019. The largest component of noninterest expense is salaries and benefits paid to our employees, which totaled $42.1 million in 2020. Noninterest expense for the three-month period ended December 31, 2020 increased $1.1 million, or 6.4%, as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
Provision for Income Taxes: The provision for income taxes for 2020 was $11.0 million compared to $9.6 million for 2019. The effective income tax rates for 2020 and 2019 were 21.3% and 20.4%, respectively.
Asset Quality: Asset quality remained strong in 2020, as evidenced by low levels of nonperforming assets and charge-offs. Net loan losses for the fourth quarter of 2020, expressed as an annualized percentage of average loans outstanding, were 0.07%, an increase from 0.06% for the fourth quarter of 2019. Net loan losses for the full year 2020 were 0.05% of average loans outstanding, consistent with the 2019 ratio. Nonperforming assets of $6.6 million at December 31, 2020, represented 0.18% of period-end assets, consistent with December 31, 2019.
Arrow's allowance for loan losses was $29.2 million at December 31, 2020, which represented 1.13% of loans outstanding, an increase from 0.89% at year-end 2019. Although credit quality remains strong, the increase in the allowance reflects the uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic. When expressed as a percentage of nonperforming loans, the allowance for loan loss coverage ratio was 456.3% at year-end 2020. Arrow adopted the Current Expected Credit Losses (CECL) accounting standard as of January 1, 2021.
Liquidity: At December 31, 2020, Arrow’s liquidity position was strong. Interest-bearing cash balances at December 31, 2020 were $338.9 million. Arrow continues to be well-prepared to address any unexpected volatility, which may affect cash flow and deposit balances. At December 31, 2020, contingent collateralized lines of credit were established and available through the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and Federal Reserve Bank, totaling $1.5 billion. Arrow also has additional liquidity options currently available, including unsecured lines of credit such as Fed Funds and brokered markets.
Capital: Total shareholders’ equity grew to a record of $334.4 million at period-end, an increase of $32.7 million, or 10.8%, above the year-end 2019 balance. Arrow's regulatory capital ratios remained strong in 2020. At December 31, 2020, Arrow's Common Equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 13.39% and Total Risk-Based Capital Ratio was 15.48%. The capital ratios of Arrow and both its subsidiary banks continued to significantly exceed the “well capitalized” regulatory standards.
Cash and Stock Dividends: On December 15, 2020, Arrow distributed a cash dividend of $0.26 per share. The cash dividend was 3% higher than the cash dividend paid by Arrow in the fourth quarter of 2019 when adjusted for the 3% stock dividend distributed on September 25, 2020.
Industry Recognition: Both of Arrow's banking subsidiaries, Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company and Saratoga National Bank and Trust Company, continue to hold BauerFinancial, Inc. 5-Star Superior Bank ratings.
About Arrow: Arrow Financial Corporation is a multi-bank holding company headquartered in Glens Falls, New York, serving the financial needs of northeastern New York. The Company is the parent of Glens Falls National Bank and Trust Company and Saratoga National Bank and Trust Company. Other subsidiaries include North Country Investment Advisers, Inc. and Upstate Agency, LLC.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures Reconciliation: In addition to presenting information in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP), this news release contains financial information determined by methods other than GAAP (non-GAAP). The following measures used in this release, which are commonly utilized by financial institutions, have not been specifically exempted by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and may constitute "non-GAAP financial measures" within the meaning of the SEC's rules. Certain non-GAAP financial measures include: tangible equity, return on tangible equity, tax-equivalent adjustment and related net interest income, tax-equivalent and the efficiency ratio. Management believes that the non-GAAP financial measures disclosed by the Company from time to time are useful in evaluating the Company's performance and that such information should be considered as supplemental in nature and not as a substitute for or superior to the related financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP. Non-GAAP financial measures may differ from similar measures presented by other companies. See the reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP measures in the section "Selected Quarterly Information."
Safe Harbor Statement: The information contained in this news release may contain statements that are not historical in nature but rather are based on management’s beliefs, assumptions, expectations, estimates and projections about the future. These statements may be "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, involving a degree of uncertainty and attendant risk. In the case of all forward-looking statements, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what the statements predict or forecast, explicitly or by implication. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. This News Release should be read in conjunction with the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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