Farmers Ranked As Top-Performing Bank in Ohio

By Kevin J. Helmick, president and CEO

CANFIELD, Ohio – Farmers National Bank set new records in 2018, all of which culminated in being named the top-performing bank in Ohio and 30th nationally by Bank Director magazine, a national trade journal.

The rankings apply to publicly-traded banks with assets between $1 billion and $5 billion. This recognition comes as no surprise given the bank’s impressive track record throughout the last year.

The ranking is both an honor and validation. High performance that maximizes value for our shareholders, customers, associates and communities is always our priority at Farmers. I am continually made proud by our management team and associates for their remarkable commitment to making Farmers the best community bank in our markets.

The dividends in 2018 also remained strong, outperforming banking industry averages with the company ranked as the 34th-highest dividend increase in the Nasdaq Bank index and the seventh-best dividend increase for companies headquartered in the state. Our financial performance continues to deliver positive results for shareholders, with net income up 43% and cash dividends up by 36%.

In 2018, Farmers experienced loan growth of 10% that was accomplished both organically and with the addition of a new loan production office in Beachwood. The increase in loans has occurred in the commercial lending and commercial real estate, residential real estate and agricultural portfolios. In addition, the bank also saw deposits increase by more than 12.2%.

A focus on Farmers Private Bankers led to the rebranding of its wealth division into what is now Farmers Wealth Management 360.

The comprehensive approach to a client’s full range of financial needs allows private bankers to grow the banking relationship in all directions with services from Farmers Trust Co., Farmers National Insurance, National Associates Inc and Farmers National Investments. This helped increase Wealth Management 360 revenues by 13.2%.

Farmers Trust Co. also experienced another record year of growth despite a challenging capital market environment. Revenues grew 11% over 2017 and to a record level of $7.3 million. Operating earnings also grew by 47%.

While numbers are certainly the best measurement of results, a company’s performance is also driven in substantial part by something harder to quantify: its culture.

In 2018, our high-performing Farmers Academy class implemented the Japanese “Kaizen” model of creating a workplace that celebrates open-mindedness and energy. With this philosophy in mind, the academy and bank implemented the Farmers Market where employees can share their ideas to improve processes, customer experiences and the bank’s culture.

With this and other significant initiatives already underway, Farmers is focused on creating a lean but purposeful culture to drive continual performance in 2019 and beyond.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.