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FOURTH FINANCIAL REPORTS RECORD EARNINGS FULL YEAR 1992

 WICHITA, Kan., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Fourth Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: FRTH) reported 1992 net income of $53.2 million and fully diluted earnings per share of $2.16, both records for the company. Exclusive of acquisitions, earnings per share would have been approximately $2.13. As originally reported, net income for 1991 was $23.1 million and fully diluted earnings per share were $1.24. Adjusted for the effects of current year pooling of interests acquisitions, 1991 net income was $25.3 million and earnings per share were $1.18. Return on assets for 1992 was 1.10 percent as compared to 0.52 percent for the prior year. Return on common equity was 13.82 percent for 1992 versus 7.85 percent for 1991.
 "We are very pleased with the current year results," said Darrell G. Knudson, chairman and CEO of Fourth Financial Corp. "Our performance reflects the execution of our strategies to enhance revenue, control expenses and improve credit quality. Likewise, we have been successful in our strategy to acquire, as reflected in the growth of our Kansas franchise and the establishment of a major competitive presence in Tulsa, Okla." Knudson added that total assets amounted to $5.6 billion at Dec. 31, 1992.
 The strong earnings performance for 1992 reflects increased net interest margins and improved credit quality. Between the comparative periods, net interest income increased $16.7 million or 9.6 percent and the provision for credit losses decreased $19.0 million or 54.9 percent.
 During 1992, the company completed eight acquisitions with assets totaling $1.2 billion. Net income for 1992 was reduced by a restructuring charge of $5.5 million associated with the consolidation of data processing, operations and other costs of assimilating these acquisitions. "Although the restructuring charges affected current year earnings, our philosophy of consolidating backroom functions enables us to more efficiently offer our full array of products to customers in every market we serve," said Knudson.
 FOURTH QUARTER 1992:
 Operating earnings for the fourth quarter of 1992 were $16.2 million or $0.64 per share on a fully diluted basis. Net income, however, was reduced by the after tax effect of an acquisition-related restructuring charge of $4.4 million. After the restructuring charge, net income was $12.4 million and earnings per share were $0.40 per share for the fourth quarter of 1991. Adjusted for current year acquisitions, net income for the quarter of 1991 was $9.4 million and earnings per share were $0.44. Exclusive of acquisitions, earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 1992 would have been approximately $0.59.
 ACQUISITIONS:
 During 1992, Fourth Financial completed eight acquisitions with assets totaling $1.2 billion. Two acquisitions added $194.0 million of assets to the company's Kansas City franchise. In western Kansas, the company completed three transactions totaling $235.8 million. Additionally, Fourth Financial entered its first interstate market through three Tulsa, Okla., acquisitions totaling $775.4 million.
 Pending Kansas acquisitions include a $68.6 million bank in suburban Kansas City and a $62.2 million bank in suburban Wichita. Additionally, there are three pending acquisitions in Oklahoma, including a $84.6 million bank in Tulsa, a $102.0 million bank in Oklahoma City and a $136.2 million bank in western Oklahoma. These transactions, which are expected to close during the first and second quarters of 1993, will added $453.5 million to the company's assets.
 COMPARATIVE BALANCE SHEET:
 Total assets at Dec. 31, 1992, were $5.6 billion compared to $4.8 billion at Dec. 31, 1991. Assets averaged $4.8 billion for both 1992 and 1991. The 1992 period-end assets include $1.2 billion associated with acquisitions. Assets at year-end 1991 have been restated to include $656.5 million of assets associated with current- year pooling-of-interests transactions. Average assets for both years have also been restated to include the pooled entities.
 Total loans were $2.2 billion and $2.3 billion at Dec. 31, 1992 and 1991, respectively. The decrease in loans was attributable to a reduction in indirect consumer loans and the effects of an uncertain economy on loan demand. Indirect loans declined as a result of the 1991 closure of five out-of-market consumer loan production offices. Purchase acquisitions added approximately $128.2 million of loans, to partially offset the decline in indirect loans and the soft loan demand.
 Total deposits were $4.5 billion and $4.2 billion at Dec. 31, 1992 and 1991, respectively. This 7.9 percent growth in period-end deposits was principally attributable to two acquisitions in Tulsa. During the year, Fourth Financial's bank subsidiaries experienced a moderate decline in deposits. Average deposits were $4.0 billion and $4.2 billion for 1992 and 1991, respectively. This 3.9 percent decrease occurred principally in time deposits, reflecting the impact of the continuation of relatively low interest rates. However, non-deposit products such as annuities, mutual funds and other discount brokerage products are now more attractive to some customers. Discount brokerage income totaled $3.4 million for 1992, and includes fees from the sales of approximately $80 million of annuities and mutual funds. Fourth Financial's deposits are almost entirely core deposits, which are more stable and less costly than alternative funding sources.
 Fourth Financial continues to have very strong capital position. Stockholders' equity at the end of the current quarter was $464.1 million, or 8.27 percent of total assets. The company's leverage capital ratio of 8.32 percent and its risk-based capital ratio of 14.95 percent greatly exceed regulatory minimums of 3.00 percent and 8.00 percent respectively.
 CREDIT QUALITY:
 Nonperforming assets were $40.0 million at Dec. 31, 1992. This total includes $16.2 million associated with 1992 acquisitions. The 1992 nonperforming assets compare to $71.0 million at the end of 1991, including $32.7 million associated with 1992 acquisitions. Nonperforming assets declined $31.0 million, or 43.6 percent in 1992. Exclusive of acquisitions, nonperformers declined from $38.3 million for 1991 to $23.8 million at the end of 1992, a reduction of 37.8 percent.
 The company continued to build its allowance for credit losses, which totaled $60.5 million at Dec. 31, 1992. This allowance is 151.2 percent of nonperforming assets and 243.8 percent of nonperforming loans. Including acquisitions, net charge-offs were 0.79 percent of loans for 1992 and 1.26 percent for 1991. The company's improved credit quality and strong allowance for credit losses are reflected in the lower provision for credit losses for 1992. Fourth Financial's provision for the current year was $15.5 million compared to $34.5 million one year ago. Also, the company experienced a $2.9 million decrease in net costs of other real estate and nonperforming assets due to a reduced volume of such assets.
 "We are striving to continue these credit quality trends through strengthened underwriting standards. We are also resolving problem loans much earlier in their cycle. These same standards are being inculcated into our acquisitions as we implement our BANK IV credit culture," stated Knudson.
 PROFIT IMPROVEMENT:
 The improvements in net income and earnings per share during 1992 reflect the lower provisions for credit losses and net costs of operation of other real estate and nonperforming assets as discussed above. Also, revenues increased 7.3 percent and contributed to the record net income of $53.2 million and record fully diluted earnings per share of $2.16.
 For the year, net interest income totaled $191.5 million and increased 9.6 percent. The net yield on earning assets was 4.60 percent for 1992 as compared to 4.31 percent for 1991. A favorable interest rate environment resulted in larger-than-normal spreads between asset yields and funding costs. Additionally, loan fees have increased to $5.1 million for the current year compared to $3.1 million for the prior year. This increase was principally due to the refinancing of mortgages for one-to-four-family dwellings.
 Noninterest income was $72.6 million for 1992, as compared to $71.4 million for 1991. Adjusted to remove nonrecurring income from 1991 and 1992, operating revenues increased $7.0 million or 11.2 percent. Service charges on deposits increased $2.8 million or 15.3 percent. Discount brokerage and annuity fees increased $1.9 million or 125.8 percent. Adjusted for $1.5 million of nonrecurring fees realized in 1991, trust fees increased 10.7 percent.
 Noninterest expense was $180.4 million for 1992 as compared to $178.8 million for 1991. The prior year's expense included a $7.0 million restructuring charge associated with the operational consolidation from the merger of the company's 13 former Kansas bank subsidiaries into one statewide system. Current-year expense includes a $5.5 million restructuring charge for the consolidation of the Oklahoma data processing, operations and staff functions. It also includes a loss from the disposal of duplicate facilities and a computer writedown. Exclusive of the restructuring charges and the net costs of operation of other real estate and nonperforming assets, operating expenses increased $5.9 million or 3.5 percent.
 Current-year increases in operating expenses reflect the costs associated with acquisitions, the company's increased commitment to automation and the consolidation of operations functions. The company's efficiency ratio was 64.08 percent for the current quarter compared to 61.10 percent reported for the third quarter of 1992, reflecting the effect of current-year pooling acquisitions.
 OUTLOOK:
 "There are signs that the economy is recovering from a prolonged recession which should eventually translate into an increase in loan demand," stated Knudson. "While this is encouraging, Fourth Financial has demonstrated an ability to be profitable even without strong loan demand. We are moving forward with our strategy of becoming a leading regional banking company focused on growth in Oklahoma and Kansas."
 Fourth Financial Corp. is a Wichita-based bank holding company with consolidated assets of $5.6 billion. The company currently operates 75 offices in 31 Kansas communities through its subsidiary, BANK IV Kansas, N.A., and 16 offices in Tulsa through its subsidiary, BANK IV Oklahoma, N.A. The BANK IV banks provide a full line of banking and financial services for consumers, small businesses and mid- to large-sized companies. Fourth Financial's common stock and depositary shares are traded on the NASDAQ national market system under the symbols "FRTH" and "FRTHZ," respectively.
 -0- 1/21/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Shonka, CFO, investment inquiries 316-261-4510, or R. Brent Thompson, Sr. VP, general media inquiries 316-261-4403, both of Fourth Financial/
 (FRTH)


CO: Fourth Financial Corp. ST: Kansas IN: FIN SU: ERN

LD -- NY091 -- 7637 01/21/93 17:02 EST
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