By Kevin J. Helmick
President & CEO, Farmers National Bank
CANFIELD – Farmers National Bank comes out of 2020 with record growth, proving that standing strong with its communities pays off.
From standing strong with our communities during the pandemic to being named a top PPP loan lender in northeastern Ohio, the bank turned in another banner year.
For the fifth consecutive year, Farmers achieved record financial results as the bank continues to pursue initiatives that diversify its sources of income, conservatively manage risk, increase its market share and actively manage expenses.
Annual net income for 2020 set a record with an excess of $40 million, which is approximately a 20% increase over 2019.
This success is attributed to mortgage lending, execution of the Paycheck Protection Program through the Cares Act and the successful acquisition of Maple Leaf Financial Inc.
Farmers closed out 2020 with exceptional loan growth, with total loans at $2.08 billion compared to $1.8 billion in 2019, a 14.7% increase.
Our commercial lending division led the charge with 1,714 PPP loans for small businesses with $200 million lent. Farmers’ PPP efforts helped protect over 25,000 jobs in our local communities.
Providing key lending assistance during such difficult times has always been one of Farmers strengths.
Small business is the engine that drives our economy. With 2020 being such a challenging year for our communities and businesses, we knew we had to step up in a big way to provide the financial assistance and stability that strong community banks, like Farmers, can provide.
Strong production in residential mortgages created impressive loan-sold income, which totaled $12.3 million, an increase of $7.9 million over the previous year or 179.8%.
At the onset of the pandemic, interest rates dramatically dropped and our experienced mortgage team was well-positioned for the refinancing and home buying activity that was generated.
Another element offering a competitive edge for mortgage lending was our contactless mortgage mobile app, which allows customers to remotely connect with a lender and stay up-to-date on every step throughout the home mortgage process.
In July, our first Lab Branch concept opened in Canfield. The innovative, technology-leading branch features a team of video tellers who can virtually assist customers with their banking needs via interactive teller machines in the lobby vestibule or two lane drive-thru.
Along with featuring the latest high-tech banking channels, the Lab Branch has a manager and team of universal bankers on-site to help with customers’ banking needs.
The branch also includes a large video wall for marketing and branding initiatives.
As Farmers considers new technology offered in the financial industry, the bank will vet it through the Lab Branch and use customer feedback to evaluate potential implementation throughout our branch network.
2020 was also a year of strategic focus on growing deposits. The bank’s total deposits increasing 30% over the prior year, with the important core deposits increased 34.4%.
The loan-to-deposit ratio was 79.6% at Dec. 31, compared to 90.2% at Dec. 31, 2019.
2020 was a year we will not soon forget. Our dedicated team members stood strong to help our customers when they needed it the most. We created win-win situations that will help our communities remain resilient going forward.