Farmers Bank Breaks Performance Records

Editor’s Note: The following story is from Growth Report 2017, published by The Business Journal.

CANFIELD, Ohio — At Farmers National Bank, 2016 was a record-setting year, says its president and CEO, Kevin J. Helmick.

Where 2015 was a year of growth through acquisition, 2016 was a year that capitalized on that larger footprint and additional products.

“Farmers enters a new year poised for even great success,” Helmick says. “The loan pipeline remained elevated at the end of the year.”

The price of Farmers shares rose 68% in 2016, “its best annual performance over the past 10 years,” the CEO says, and at Dec. 31, the price of its shares has increased 413% since 2008 in the midst of the Great Recession.

The 68% rise in stock price translated into a 66% increase in market value and qualified Farmers to be listed on the Russell 2000 Index on June 27, Helmick notes. And last year’s success saw Farmers Bank ranked No. 32 of the 348 banks on the NASDAQ Bank Index.

Over the last 24 months, the CEO notes, Farmers National Banc Corp., parent of Farmers Bank, acquired National Bancshares, holding company of First National Bank of Orrville; Tri-State 1st Bank, holding company of 1st National Community Bank, East Liverpool; and the Bowers Group, an insurance agency in Cortland.

“The financial and operating benefits of these acquisitions exceeded initial expectations,” Helmick reports.

“Over the past year, we focused on successfully integrating these operations into our business and digesting the rapid expansion these acquisitions created. We continue to look for attractive opportunities in our markets, but remain focused and patient in our approach.”

Net income set a record for 2016, $20.6 million, or 76 cents per diluted share, which topped $8.1 million for 2015, or 36 cents per share.
The loan portfolio grew 10% while credit quality improved as past-due loans as a percentage of total loans fell as did nonperforming loans.
Nonperforming loans are those 90 or more days on which the borrower has paid neither principal nor interest.

While acquisition contributed greatly to net income, so did organic loan growth. Commercial and commercial real estate, residential real estate (mortgage originations) and agricultural lending grew.

Income from mortgage servicing grew “and remains a significant component of noninterest income,” Helmick says.

The bank opened a loan production office in Beaver County, Pa., and hired a veteran mortgage banker to head it. It added other veteran mortgage bankers in Stark and Jefferson counties.

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