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SOCIETY CORPORATION ANNOUNCES EARNINGS AND DIVIDEND INCREASE

 SOCIETY CORPORATION ANNOUNCES EARNINGS AND DIVIDEND INCREASE
 CLEVELAND, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Society Corporation (NASDAQ: SOCI), an Ohio-based financial services company, today reported earnings of $4.90 per share for 1991 and announced the declaration of an increased quarterly dividend. The new indicated annual rate of $1.96 per share marks the 27th consecutive year that Society has increased its dividend paid to common shareholders.
 Society's net income for 1991 was $163.0 million compared with $157.9 million for 1990. Net income in the fourth quarter 1991 was $35.5 million, or $1.06 per share, which was reduced by $.25 per share for costs associated with the pending merger with Ameritrust Corporation and the intracompany merger of Society National Bank and Society Bank, National Association, scheduled for February 1992.
 Robert W. Gillespie, chairman and chief executive officer, commented, "Society's record 1991 results were the product of fundamental improvements in all components of operating earnings. Higher net interest income resulting from effective balance sheet management strategies, a smaller provision for loan losses, increased fees and well-controlled expenses combined to produce a 44.2 percent increase in pretax operating income."
 The loan loss provision for 1991 was $79.8 million, down $14.8 million from 1990 due to improved asset quality trends at the former Trustcorp affiliates as well as continued excellent asset quality throughout the remainder of the corporation. Nonperforming loans at Dec. 31, 1991, totaled $151.9 million, or 1.58 percent of total loans, down from $179.9 million at Dec. 31, 1990, and $158.8 million at Sept. 30, 1991. Society's reserve coverage of nonperforming loans was a strong 110.2 percent at year-end compared with 99.3 percent as of Dec. 31, 1990. Nonperforming assets were $188.9 million as of Dec. 31, 1991.
 The net interest margin was 5.19 percent for 1991 compared with 4.66 percent for 1990. The fourth quarter 1991 net interest margin was 5.46 percent, compared with 5.27 percent in the previous quarter and 4.89 percent in the fourth quarter of 1990. Net interest income on a taxable equivalent basis was $708.2 million for 1991 and $186.6 million for the fourth quarter 1991 or increases of 9.0 percent and 10.6 percent over the same periods in 1990. Average earning assets decreased 2.2 percent in 1991 from 1990 levels while average loans decreased 5.6 percent over the same periods.
 Noninterest income, at $225.1 million, was essentially the same as last year's level of $227.4 million. Adjusted for divestitures, these revenues grew by a strong 7.0 percent, as gains were registered in deposit account charges, trust and credit card fees, and trading account income.
 Noninterest expenses were $598.0 million for 1991 compared with $594.8 million in 1990. Expenses in 1991 included $9.2 million in merger and restructuring costs, the majority of which is not tax deductible. In addition, noninterest expenses included $6.9 million of reserves and losses associated with the facilities component of 1991 expense management initiatives and increased FDIC insurance premiums of $10.0 million compared with 1990. Excluding these factors, expenses actually decreased $22.9 million or 3.9 percent in 1991 from 1990 levels. For the year ended Dec. 31, 1991, return on assets was 1.09 percent and return on equity 15.36 percent, compared with 1.03 percent and 16.14 percent for 1990, respectively.
 Society's new quarterly dividend is $0.49 per common share. This represents a 6.5 percent increase over the 1991 quarterly dividend of $0.46 per common share. The dividend is payable on March 13, 1992 to shareholders of record on March 3, 1992. Based on the quarterly rate, the dividend for 1992 will be $1.96 per share, compared with $1.84 in 1991.
 As was reported on Sept. 13, 1991, Society Corporation and Ameritrust Corporation announced the execution of a definitive agreement for the merger of Ameritrust into Society. The transaction, which requires the approval of shareholders of both Society and Ameritrust as well as the receipt of regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of 1992. The special meetings of shareholders of both Society and Ameritrust will be held on Jan. 29, 1992.
 Society Corporation is one of the largest bank holding companies in the Midwest with assets of $15.4 billion and 350 offices in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Florida. Through its affiliates, Society engages in commercial banking, consumer banking, mortgage banking, and leasing, and provides trust and investment banking services.
 SOCIETY CORPORATION -- CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
 Percent
 YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31 1991 1990 Change
 EARNINGS
 Interest and fee income $1,384,139 $1,486,905 (6.9)
 Net interest income 686,811 624,304 10.0
 Provision for loan losses 79,847 94,672 (15.7)
 Investment securities gains 7,118 7,830 (9.1)
 Other noninterest income 217,966 219,585 (0.7)
 Noninterest expense 598,031 594,764 0.5
 Provision for income taxes 71,006 7,114 898.1
 Net income 163,011 157,883 3.2
 Net income available to
 Common Shares 163,011 157,524 3.5
 Memo: Taxable equivalent
 adjustment 21,438 25,245 (15.1)
 COMMON SHARE DATA
 Net income per share $ 4.90 $ 4.71 4.0
 Cash dividends declared per share 1.84 1.76 4.5
 Book value per share at December 31 33.81 30.68 10.2
 Weighted average Common Shares and
 Share equivalents outstanding 33,284,330 33,446,597 (0.5)
 Shares outstanding at Dec. 31 33,028,717 32,768,579 0.8
 AVERAGE BALANCES
 Assets $14,900,502 $15,274,017 (2.4)
 Loans, net of unearned income 9,717,731 10,299,051 (5.6)
 Earning assets 13,639,602 13,950,760 (2.2)
 Deposits 11,531,790 12,358,689 (6.7)
 Shareholders' equity 1,061,406 978,356 8.5
 AT DECEMBER 31
 Assets $15,404,528 $15,110,246 1.9
 Loans, net of unearned income 9,584,712 10,073,855 (4.9)
 Earning assets 13,981,082 13,598,368 2.8
 Deposits 11,535,085 12,118,114 (4.8)
 Shareholders' equity 1,116,654 1,005,184 11.1
 Equity to assets 7.25 pct 6.65 pct
 PERFORMANCE RATIOS
 Net interest margin (A) 5.19 pct 4.66 pct
 Return on assets 1.09 1.03
 Return on common equity 15.36 16.17
 ASSET QUALITY AT DECEMBER 31
 Allowance for loan losses $167,358 $178,710 (6.4)
 Nonperforming loans: nonaccrual 151,201 177,859 (15.0)
 renegotiated 694 2,043 (66.0)
 Other nonperforming assets 37,015 24,372 51.9
 Past due 90 days, still accruing 17,926 21,403 (16.2)
 Allowance for loan losses to loans 1.75 pct 1.77 pct
 Gross charge-offs $118,500 $117,174 1.1
 Net charge-offs 91,068 86,037 5.8
 Net charge-offs to average loans 0.94 pct 0.84 pct
 (A) Fully taxable equivalent basis
 SOCIETY CORPORATION -- CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
 (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
 Percent
 THREE MONTHS ENDED DECEMBER 31 1991 1990 Change
 EARNINGS
 Interest and fee income $339,008 $372,228 (8.9)
 Net interest income 181,577 162,597 11.7
 Provision for loan losses 21,260 33,370 (36.3)
 Investment securities gains 122 1,288 (90.5)
 Other noninterest income 55,546 58,511 (5.1)
 Noninterest expense 162,914 155,764 4.6
 Provision (benefit) for income taxes 17,593 (4,389) N/M
 Net income 35,478 37,651 (5.8)
 Net income available to
 Common Shares 35,478 37,651 (5.8)
 Memo: Taxable equivalent adjustment 4,978 6,044 (17.6)
 COMMON SHARE DATA
 Net income per share $ 1.06 $ 1.14 (7.0)
 Cash dividends declared per share 0.46 0.44 4.5
 Weighted average Common Shares and
 Share equivalents outstanding 33,488,779 32,999,281 1.5
 AVERAGE BALANCES
 Assets $14,982,405 $15,157,855 (1.2)
 Loans, net of unearned income 9,520,106 10,138,101 (6.1)
 Earning assets 13,677,623 13,843,631 (1.2)
 Deposits 11,409,272 12,110,367 (5.8)
 Shareholders' equity 1,111,599 998,006 11.4
 PERFORMANCE RATIOS
 Net interest margin (A) 5.46 pct 4.89 pct
 Return on assets 0.94 0.99
 Return on common equity 12.66 14.97
 ASSET QUALITY
 Gross charge-offs $34,772 $29,925 16.2
 Net charge-offs 27,316 23,844 14.6
 Net charge-offs to average loans 1.15 pct 0.94 pct
 N/M -- Not meaningful.
 (A) Fully taxable equivalent basis
 -0- 1/16/92
 /CONTACT: Eric Rasmussen (analysts), 216-689-7161; or John Fuller (media), 216-689-8140; both of Society Corporation/
 (SOCI) CO: Society Corporation ST: Ohio IN: FIN SU: ERN


KK -- CL007 -- 0436 01/16/92 10:56 EST
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Date:Jan 16, 1992
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