UCFC Reports 4Q Income of $4.33M, $16.28M for 2015

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – United Community Financial Corp., holding company of the Home Savings and Loan Co., Tuesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $4.33 million, or nine cents a share, and full-year 2014 net income of $16.28 million, or 34 cents a share.

This compares to fourth-quarter 2014 net income of $2.81 million, or six cents a share, third-quarter net income of $4.14 million, or nine cents a share, and full-year 2014 net income of $50.21 million, or a dollar a share.

UCFC also announced its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of 2.5 cents per share payable Feb. 19 to shareholders of record Feb. 8.

Said the president and CEO of UCFC and Home Savings, Gary M. Small, in the earnings report, “Strong performance in the fourth quarter closes out an excellent year. We achieved our growth and profitability objectives, expanded our client base and added a talented group of bankers. The organization is very well positioned heading into 2016.”

Key performance ratios for the quarters ended Dec. 31 and Sept. 30, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2014 are:

  • Return on average assets, 0.88%, 0.85%, 0.62%.
  • Return on average equity, 7.02%, 6.87%, 4.70%.
  • Net interest margin, 3.16%, 3.18%, 3.16%.
  • Efficiency ratio, 63.74%, 63.54%, 72.85%.

For 2014, the efficiency ratio was 65.1%.

UCFC reported “robust annual loan growth” of $183.2 million, or 15.7%, including loans held for sale. “Driving growth in loans,” UCFC said, “was an increase of $116.8 million, or 46.2%, in commercial loans during 2015.”

Total loans at Dec. 31 were $1.352 billion compared to $1.169 billion a year earlier.

Growth of deposits was described as “strong,” $87.9 million, or 6.5%. Total deposits at year-end were $1.436 billion compared to $1.348 billion at year-end 2014. “Origination of public funds continues to drive the growth of interest-bearing deposits along with an increase in commercial deposits,” UCFC reported.

“Measures of asset quality continued to improve during 2015,” the company said. One of those measures, nonperforming assets to total assets, fell to 0.98% for the year compared to 1.30% for 2014.

Another, the fourth-quarter provision for loan losses was $893,000 compared to $194,000 the same period a year earlier.” Provision expense continues to be driven by strong loan growth,” UCFC said. It recognized a loan loss provision of $2.1 million for all of 2015 compared to a negative provision of $1.3 million for 2014.

Noninterest expense – such as salaries and benefits, rents, data processing, advertising and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. premiums – was $12.76 million for the quarter, $490,000 higher than the third quarter but lower than the $13.94 million for the last quarter of 2014. Full-year noninterest expense was $49.93 million, less than the $55.96 million in 2014.

Salaries and employee benefits, $5.76 million for the fourth quarter were less than the $6.90 million the third quarter and less than the $6.68 million the year-ago quarter. Salaries and benefits fell, the company explained, because of an “organizational restructuring and modification of certain employee benefits plans.”

For the full year, employee compensation was $26.72 million, not quite $3 million less than the $29.55 million recorded for 2014.

Total assets approached $2 billion — $1.988 billion – up from the $1.834 billion reported at Dec. 31, 2014.

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