Premier Financial Reports Net Income of $17.8M in Q1

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Premier Financial Corp. on Tuesday announced a first quarter net income of $17.8 million, or $.50 per diluted common share, compared with 18.1 million, or $.51 per diluted common share, for the first quarter of 2024.

Premier declared a dividend of $0.31 per share.

Gary Small, president and CEO of Premier, said while commercial business started slowly in January and February, March saw a return to typical activities with stronger new business numbers and an expanded business pipeline. At the same time, consumer households banking with Premier appear to be managing their finances effectively, with delinquency loans down 12% and net charge-offs down 11 basis points to 0.02$.

“Premier’s overall financial performance for the first quarter was generally in line with our expectations,” Small said. “Many elements of the business are off to a strong start, and there are clearly areas of opportunity to focus on.”

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Deposit average balances were up 2.6% annualized, while earning asset average balances were up 1% annualized.
  • The loan to deposits ratio was down 110 basis points.
  • Noninterest income rose 6%, while noninterest expenses were down 7% from the first quarter of 2023.
  • All regulatory capital ratios were up, including Tier 1, which was up 30 basis points to 12.49%.

“Overall, we saw very positive average linked quarter deposit growth, while average loan totals were flat on a linked quarter basis,” Small said. “We have projected modest loan and deposit growth for the year and remain confident in our ability to deliver on the full year growth objectives.”

Net interest income was reported at $49.6 million for the first quarter, down 5.6% from $52.6 million at the end of 2023 and down 12% from the $56.3 million in the first quarter of 2023. The first quarter tax equivalent net interest margin was 2.5%, a decrease of 15 basis points from 2.65% in the fourth quarter of 2023 and 40 basis points from 2.9% in the first quarter of 2023.

Total loans, including held-for-sale, decreased 3.1% annualized, or $53.8 million, primarily due to a $28.8 million decrease in commercial loans and a $15.8 million decrease in mortgage loans, including held-for-sale. Total average loan yields decreased two basis points to 5.19% for the first quarter of 2024.

“Net interest income remains the most challenging profitability component we face,” Small said. “For the quarter, we experienced a sharper decline than anticipated. There were three primary drivers of the decline: lower commercial noninterest-bearing deposit balances, tied to increased client utilization of cash on hand, continued mix migration from lower to higher yielding deposit products and slightly below plan average loan balanced for the quarter. … While Premier’s performance will clearly benefit from future rate cuts initiated by the Federal Reserve, we are committed to managing the business issues within our control to achieve a better outcome today.”

Total assets were $8.63 billion at the end of March, the same as the end of December 2023 and up from the $8.56 billion a year ago.

The complete report can be viewed HERE.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.