Commerce Bancshares, Inc. Reports Earnings Per Share Growth of 9% for 2003 Wednesday January 14, 9:00 am ET
KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 14, 2004--Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBSH - News) announced record earnings of $2.95 per share in 2003 compared to $2.71 per share in 2002, an increase of 9%. Net income for 2003 amounted to $206.5 million compared to $196.3 million earned in 2002. For the year, the return on assets was 1.5%, while the return on equity totaled 14.3%. For the fourth quarter, earnings per share grew to $.78, compared to $.71 for the same period last year, an increase of 10%. Net income for the quarter amounted to $53.9 million, an increase of 6% compared with $50.9 million last year. The return on average assets was 1.5% and the return on equity for the quarter was 14.8%. The efficiency ratio for the quarter was 56.8%.
In announcing these results, David W. Kemper, Chairman and CEO, said, "We are pleased to report the 19th consecutive year of record earnings. Results for 2003 were driven by growth of 8% in non-interest income, which now accounts for 38% of total revenues. We are particularly pleased with the growth in deposit fee income of 12% on an annualized basis. Additionally, results were enhanced by solid expense control. Non-interest expense remained flat compared with the previous quarter and fourth quarter of last year, and has grown overall by 3% this year. Net interest income, which was essentially unchanged from the previous year, was affected by continued low short-term interest rates and a lack of growth in commercial loans."
Mr. Kemper added, "Asset quality remains strong with our allowance for loan losses totaling over $135 million. We increased this allowance by over $4 million this year and it remains at 1.66% of total loans. Net loan charge-offs were up 9% over 2002, driven primarily by higher losses in our personal and credit card loan portfolios."
Total assets at December 31, 2003 were $14.3 billion, total loans were $8.1 billion, and total deposits were $10.2 billion. At December 31, 2003, the allowance for loan losses totaled $135 million and was 416% of non-performing loans. Net loan charge-offs for the year totaled .46% of average loans outstanding, up from .43% last year. Non-performing assets totaled $33.7 million, or .41% of total loans.
During the fourth quarter, the Company declared and paid its tenth consecutive annual 5% stock dividend. Per share information for prior periods has been restated for the effect of the 2003 stock dividend.
Commerce Bancshares, Inc. is a registered bank holding company offering a full line of banking services, including investment management and securities brokerage. The Company currently operates in approximately 330 banking locations in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas. The Company also has operating subsidiaries involved in mortgage banking, credit related insurance, venture capital, leasing and real estate activities.