Stewardship Financial Corporation Announces Earnings for the Year Ended December 31, 2011

Marketwired

MIDLAND PARK, NJ--(Marketwire -03/30/12)- Stewardship Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: SSFN - News), parent of Atlantic Stewardship Bank, announced net income for the year ended December 31, 2011 of $684,000 compared to $1,233,000 for the year ended December 31, 2010. For the three months ended December 31, 2011, the Corporation reported a net loss of $962,000 compared to net income of $1,087,000 for the corresponding three month period in 2010. The fourth quarter results were negatively impacted by a larger loan loss provision, partially reflective of an increase in nonperforming loans. After dividends on preferred stock and accretion, net income available to common shareholders for the year ended December 31, 2011 was $126,000, or $0.02 per diluted common share, compared to $683,000, or $0.12 per diluted common share, for the prior year. For the three months ended December 31, 2011, after dividends on preferred stock and accretion, the Corporation reported a net loss available to common shareholders of $1,000,000, or a loss of $0.17 per diluted common share, compared to net income of $949,000, or $0.16 per diluted common share, for the three months ended December 31, 2010.

For the three months ended December 31, 2011 the Corporation recorded a $4.9 million provision for loan losses, or $10.8 million on a year to date basis. The prior year provision for loan losses was $1.8 million and $9.6 million for the three months and year ended December 31 2010, respectively. Paul Van Ostenbridge, Stewardship Financial Corporation's President and Chief Executive Officer stated, "We are aggressively managing our loan portfolio but the prolonged and weakened economic environment continues to put extraordinary stress on our customers. Further complicating matters, the Bank is challenged by a very slow foreclosure process combined with deteriorating real estate values. These factors contributed to an increase in nonperforming loans and a corresponding increase in the provision for loan losses." In determining the appropriate level of loan loss reserves needed at a given point in time, the Corporation considers, among other factors, historical loan loss experience, information about specific borrower situations and estimated collateral values.

At December 31, 2011 nonperforming loans totaled $27.7 million, or 6.08% of total loans, representing an increase from $22.5 million, or 4.98% at December 31, 2010. With respect to the problem loans, Van Ostenbridge commented, "Without a doubt, nonperforming loans remain a challenge and the workout of these problem loans is a key priority for the organization."

While the Corporation actively evaluates and addresses individual loan problems, the additional loan loss provision also considers the possible problems in the portfolio that have not yet been specifically identified. As one measurement of allowance coverage, the total allowance for loan losses at December 31, 2011 represented 2.54% of total loans -- showing an increase when compared to a ratio of 1.88% a year earlier. In addition, another measurement of allowance coverage -- at December 31, 2011 the ratio of allowance for loans losses to nonperforming loans of 41.84% also represented an increase compared to an allowance coverage level of 37.73% as of December 31, 2010.

The Corporation continues to successfully manage net interest margin, with a focus on reducing funding costs. The net interest spread and margin for the year ended December 31, 2011 were 3.58% and 3.83%, respectively, compared to a net interest spread and margin of 3.57% and 3.89%, respectively, for prior year. For the three months ended December 31, 2011, the net interest spread and margin were 3.50% and 3.75%, respectively, compared to 3.61% and 3.87%, respectively, for the comparable prior year three month period. Declines in yields earned on assets reflect the effect of an ongoing low interest rate environment as well as the impact of nonaccrual loans. However, through active management, decreases in liability costs have been achieved. Current funding costs reflect the reduction in interest rates paid on deposits as a result of the repricing of deposits in the present environment as well as the prepayment of $5 million and the restructuring of another $15 million of Federal Home Loan Bank of New York advances at a lower cost.

For 2011, nearly all categories of noninterest income were comparable or showed improvement from the prior year. The Corporation reported noninterest income of $1.8 million and $5.2 million for the three months and year ended December 31, 2011, respectively, compared to $1.4 million and $4.4 million for the equivalent prior year periods. Fees and service charges as well as gain on sales on mortgage loans remained strong. Gain on calls and sales of securities of $1,161,000 for the year ended December 31, 2011 was similar to the $1,081,000 realized in the prior year.

Expenses incurred for the year ended December 31, 2011 were slightly higher than the 2010 level. Noninterest expenses for the three months and year ended December 31, 2011 were $4.8 million and $18.7 million, respectively, as compared to $4.7 million and $18.0 million in the comparable prior year periods. Noninterest expenses in the current year periods reflect higher costs associated with the management of nonperforming assets, including salary expense and legal fees.

Total assets of $708.8 million at December 31, 2011 showed a 3.0% growth rate when compared to $688.1 million of assets at December 31, 2010. The Corporation is committed to actively lending in the communities, but is cognizant of the challenging credit environment that exists.

Deposit growth for 2011 was $17.9 million, bringing total deposits to $593.6 million compared to $575.6 million a year earlier. More importantly, average core deposit balances (checking, money market and savings accounts) represented 71.2% of total deposits at December 31, 2011 compared to 68.7% a year earlier. In addition, noninterest-bearing deposits grew to $115.8 million, or 19.5% of deposits, at December 31, 2011 compared to $99.7 million, or 17.3%, at December 31, 2010.

Assisting as the Corporation manages through these difficult times, capital levels remained solid, with a tier 1 leverage ratio of 8.86% and total risk based capital ratio of 13.91%, far exceeding the regulatory requirements of 4% and 8%, respectively, for a "well capitalized" institution.

Van Ostenbridge concluded, "We clearly recognize that the elevated level of loan loss provisioning, reflective of the Corporation's level of nonperforming loans, has negatively impacted our earnings. We, nevertheless, believe our level of reserves for probable loan losses enables us to: continue to devote the resources necessary to address our problem assets; aggressively pursue workout strategies; remain diligent in identifying any further problem credits; and remain focused on mitigating future losses in our portfolio."

Stewardship Financial Corporation's subsidiary, the Atlantic Stewardship Bank, has 13 banking offices in Midland Park, Hawthorne (2), Montville, North Haledon, Pequannock, Ridgewood, Waldwick, Wayne (3), Westwood and Wyckoff, New Jersey. The bank is known for tithing 10% of its pre-tax profits to Christian and local charities. To date, the Bank's tithe donations total $7.7 million.

We invite you to visit our website at www.asbnow.com for additional information.

The information disclosed in this document contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and may be identified by the use of such words as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "should," "plan," "estimate," and "potential." Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, estimates with respect to the financial condition, results of operations and business of the Corporation that are subject to various factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from these estimates. These factors include: changes in general, economic and market conditions, legislative and regulatory conditions, or the development of an interest rate environment that adversely affects the Corporation's interest rate spread or other income anticipated from operations and investments.

 
                     Stewardship Financial Corporation
                Selected Consolidated Financial Information
              (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
                                (unaudited)

                                 December 31,  September 30,   December 31,
                                     2011           2011           2010
                                -------------  -------------  -------------

Selected Financial Condition
 Data:
  Cash and cash equivalents     $      13,698  $      23,736  $      19,983
  Securities available for
   sale                               170,925        163,092        138,628
  Securities held to maturity          38,354         39,937         45,394
  FHLB Stock                            2,478          2,491          2,497
  Loans receivable:
    Loans receivable, gross           456,413        460,518        451,867
    Allowance for loan losses         (11,604)       (12,389)        (8,490)
    Other, net                             (6)           (74)          (132)
                                -------------  -------------  -------------
  Loans receivable, net               444,803        448,055        443,245

  Loans held for sale                   4,711          1,152          9,818
  Other assets                         33,849         27,781         28,553
                                -------------  -------------  -------------
  Total assets                  $     708,818  $     706,244  $     688,118
                                =============  =============  =============


  Total deposits                $     593,552  $     587,864  $     575,603
  Other borrowings                     32,700         33,000         36,000
  Subordinated debentures               7,217          7,217          7,217
  Securities sold under
   agreements to repurchase            14,342         15,191         14,642
  Other liabilities                     3,215          3,420          2,524
  Stockholders' equity                 57,792         59,552         52,132
                                -------------  -------------  -------------
  Total liabilities and
   stockholders' equity         $     708,818  $     706,244  $     688,118
                                =============  =============  =============

  Book value per common share   $        7.28  $        7.59  $        7.24

  Equity to assets                       8.15%          8.43%          7.58%

Asset Quality Data:
  Nonaccrual loans              $      27,736  $      24,422  $      22,500
  Loans past due 90 days or
   more and accruing                        -          2,589              -
                                -------------  -------------  -------------
  Total nonperforming loans            27,736         27,011         22,500
  Other real estate owned               5,288            434            615
                                -------------  -------------  -------------
  Total nonperforming assets    $      33,024  $      27,445  $      23,115
                                =============  =============  =============


  Non-performing loans to
   total loans                           6.08%          5.87%          4.98%
  Non-performing assets to
   total assets                          4.66%          3.89%          3.36%
  Allowance for loan losses to
   nonperforming loans                  41.84%         45.87%         37.73%
  Allowance for loan losses to
   total gross loans                     2.54%          2.69%          1.88%




                     Stewardship Financial Corporation
                Selected Consolidated Financial Information
              (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)
                                (unaudited)

                              For the three months
                                      ended            For the year ended
                                  December 31,            December 31,
                             ----------------------  ----------------------
                                2011        2010        2011        2010
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
Selected Operating Data:
  Interest income            $    7,748  $    8,193  $   31,574  $   32,984
  Interest expense                1,594       2,039       6,964       8,778
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
    Net interest and
     dividend income              6,154       6,154      24,610      24,206
  Provision for loan losses       4,925       1,820      10,845       9,575
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
  Net interest and dividend
   income after provision
   for loan losses                1,229       4,334      13,765      14,631
  Noninterest income:
    Fees and service charges        524         504       2,074       1,990
    Bank owned life
     insurance                       81          82         325         331
    Gain on calls and sales
     of securities                  686         279       1,161       1,081
    Gain on sales of
     mortgage loans                 374         456       1,209         671
    Other                           118          49         391         314
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
    Total noninterest income      1,783       1,370       5,160       4,387
  Noninterest expenses:
    Salaries and employee
     benefits                     2,106       2,180       8,983       8,331
    Occupancy, net                  487         483       2,023       1,954
    Equipment                       239         258         970       1,129
    Data processing                 341         336       1,351       1,322
    FDIC insurance premium          161         264         714         976
    Charitable contributions         83          60         398         360
    Other                         1,404       1,166       4,217       3,878
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
    Total noninterest
     expenses                     4,821       4,747      18,656      17,950
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
Income before income tax
 expense (benefit)               (1,809)        957         269       1,068
Income tax expense (benefit)       (847)       (130)       (415)       (165)
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
Net income                         (962)      1,087         684       1,233
Dividends on preferred stock
 and accretion                       38         138         558         550
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
Net income (loss) available
 to common stockholders      $   (1,000) $      949  $      126  $      683
                             ==========  ==========  ==========  ==========

Weighted avg. no. of diluted
 common shares                5,866,575   5,845,952   5,861,465   5,843,756
Diluted earnings (loss) per
 common share                $    (0.17) $     0.16  $     0.02  $     0.12

Return on average common
 equity                           -8.82%       8.66%       0.29%       1.55%

Return on average assets          -0.53%       0.62%       0.10%       0.18%

Yield on average interest-
 earning assets                    4.70%       5.13%       4.89%       5.27%
Cost of average interest-
 bearing liabilities               1.20%       1.52%       1.31%       1.70%
                             ----------  ----------  ----------  ----------
Net interest rate spread           3.50%       3.61%       3.58%       3.57%
                             ==========  ==========  ==========  ==========

Net interest margin                3.75%       3.87%       3.83%       3.89%
Contact:

Claire M. Chadwick
SVP and Chief Financial Officer
630 Godwin Avenue
Midland Park, NJ 07432
201-444-7100

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