U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    4,210.24
    +87.77 (+2.13%)
     
  • Dow 30

    33,309.51
    +535.11 (+1.63%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    12,854.80
    +360.88 (+2.89%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,969.25
    +56.36 (+2.95%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    91.57
    +1.07 (+1.18%)
     
  • Gold

    1,808.00
    -4.30 (-0.24%)
     
  • Silver

    20.57
    +0.09 (+0.43%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0302
    +0.0084 (+0.82%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    2.7860
    -0.0110 (-0.39%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2217
    +0.0141 (+1.16%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    132.8900
    -2.2260 (-1.65%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    23,931.59
    +733.10 (+3.16%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    559.85
    +28.63 (+5.39%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,507.11
    +18.96 (+0.25%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    27,819.33
    -180.63 (-0.65%)
     

AMERIS BANCORP ANNOUNCES RECORD 2021 FINANCIAL RESULTS

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·18 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

ATLANTA, Jan. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameris Bancorp (Nasdaq: ABCB) (the "Company") today reported record 2021 net income of $376.9 million, or $5.40 per diluted share, compared with $262.0 million, or $3.77 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2020. The Company reported adjusted net income of $368.7 million, or $5.29 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared with $300.5 million, or $4.33 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2020.

Ameris Bancorp logo. (PRNewsFoto/Ameris Bancorp)
Ameris Bancorp logo. (PRNewsFoto/Ameris Bancorp)

The Company reported net income of $81.9 million, or $1.18 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, compared with $94.3 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2020. The Company reported adjusted net income of $81.5 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2021, compared with $102.0 million, or $1.47 per diluted share, for the same period in 2020.

Adjusted net income excludes after-tax merger and conversion charges, servicing right valuation adjustments, restructuring charges related to branch consolidations and efficiency initiatives, certain legal expenses, gain on bank owned life insurance ("BOLI") proceeds, (gain)/loss on bank premises and expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commenting on the Company's results, Palmer Proctor, the Company's Chief Executive Officer, said, "The record earnings reported today are a culmination of efforts across our entire team. We remained focused this year and the success of our team was remarkable. Not only are we reporting record year to date earnings of $376.9 million, we are also reporting full year organic loan growth of 10.45% (excluding PPP loans), tangible book value growth of 10.8% and an ROA of 1.73%. In addition, we were able to maintain a 55% efficiency ratio in one of the tightest margin environments we've seen. We have positioned ourselves to be asset sensitive, we remain focused on expense control, and our credit quality remains strong. Add the growth opportunity from the recent acquisition of Balboa Capital, in addition to our strong Southeast markets, and you realize the level of momentum and enthusiasm around our Company as we look forward."

Highlights of the Company's results for the full year 2021 include the following:

  • Net income of $376.9 million, or $5.40 per diluted share, compared with $262.0 million, or $3.77 per diluted share, in 2020

  • Organic growth in loans of $727.5 million, or 5.0% (and $1.4 billion, or 10.5%, exclusive of PPP loans), during 2021

  • Adjusted return on average assets of 1.69%, compared with 1.56% in 2020

  • Adjusted return on average tangible common equity of 20.19%, compared with 19.77% last year

  • Growth in tangible book value of 10.8%, or $2.57 per share, to $26.26 at December 31, 2021, compared with $23.69 at December 31, 2020

  • Continued growth in noninterest bearing deposits, representing 39.54% of total deposits, up from 36.27% at December 31, 2020

Significant items from the Company's results for the fourth quarter of 2021 include the following:

  • Net income of $81.9 million, or $1.18 per diluted share, compared with $81.7 million, or $1.17 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2021

  • Successfully completed the acquisition of Balboa Capital Corporation, a point of sale and direct online provider of lending solutions to small and mid-sized businesses nationwide, in December 2021

  • Organic growth in loans of $383.9 million, or 10.4% annualized (and $536.6 million, or 14.8% annualized, exclusive of PPP loans), during the fourth quarter of 2021

  • Increase in net interest income of $5.2 million, from $161.7 million in the third quarter of 2021 to $166.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2021

  • Improvement in the adjusted efficiency ratio to 54.85% in the fourth quarter of 2021, from 56.56% in the third quarter of 2021

  • Net recoveries during the fourth quarter of $556,000, or 0.01% of average loans, compared with net recoveries of $127,000, or 0.00% of average loans, in the third quarter of 2021

  • Repurchased 25,859 shares of the Company's common stock at a cost of $1.3 million, or an average price of $48.47 per share

Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin
Net interest income on a tax-equivalent basis for 2021 increased to $659.9 million, compared with $642.9 million for 2020. The Company's net interest margin was 3.32% for 2021, down from 3.70% reported for 2020. Accretion income for 2021 decreased to $16.3 million, compared with $27.4 million for 2020. The decrease in net interest margin is primarily attributable to excess liquidity held on the balance sheet from deposit growth during the year.

Net interest income on a tax-equivalent basis for the fourth quarter of 2021 increased to $167.9 million, compared with $162.8 million for the third quarter of 2021 and $164.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. The Company's net interest margin was 3.18% for the fourth quarter of 2021, down from 3.22% reported for the third quarter of 2021 and 3.64% reported for the fourth quarter of 2020. The decrease in net interest margin in the current quarter is attributable to excess liquidity held on the balance sheet, as the average balance in interest-bearing deposits in banks continued to increase during the quarter. The yield on earning assets declined five basis points due to this excess liquidity, and the decline was partially offset by increases in average loans and improvement in the cost of interest-bearing liabilities of one basis point during the quarter. Accretion income for the fourth quarter of 2021 decreased to $2.8 million, compared with $2.9 million for the third quarter of 2021 and $4.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Yields on loans increased to 4.26% during the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with 4.24% for the third quarter of 2021 and 4.41% reported for the fourth quarter of 2020. Contributing to interest income on loans for the fourth quarter of 2021 was $4.8 million of interest income on loans from the recent Balboa Capital acquisition, as well as $8.2 million of accelerated fee income on Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") loan forgiveness, compared with $6.2 million in the third quarter of 2021. Loan production in the banking division during the fourth quarter of 2021 was $1.15 billion, with weighted average yields of 3.35%, compared with $913.3 million and 3.56%, respectively, in the third quarter of 2021 and $784.9 million and 3.86%, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2020. Loan production in the lines of business (including retail mortgage, warehouse lending, SBA and premium finance) amounted to an additional $5.5 billion during the fourth quarter of 2021, with weighted average yields of 3.43%, compared with $5.8 billion and 3.37%, respectively, during the third quarter of 2021 and $7.7 billion and 3.25%, respectively, during the fourth quarter of 2020.

Interest expense during the fourth quarter of 2021 increased to $11.5 million, compared with $11.4 million in the third quarter of 2021, but decreased from $15.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. The increase in interest expense was related to borrowings from the Balboa Capital acquisition, as the Company was not able to pay off all the debt until January 2022. The Company's total cost of funds moved one basis point lower to 0.23% in the fourth quarter of 2021 as compared with the third quarter of 2021. Deposit costs decreased one basis point during the fourth quarter of 2021 to 0.10%, compared with 0.11% in the third quarter of 2021. Costs of interest-bearing deposits decreased during the quarter from 0.18% in the third quarter of 2021 to 0.16% in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Noninterest Income
Noninterest income increased $5.2 million, or 6.8%, in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $81.8 million, compared with $76.6 million for the third quarter of 2021, primarily as a result of increased mortgage banking activity, which increased by $4.3 million, or 7.6%, to $60.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with $56.5 million for the third quarter of 2021. This increase was primarily the result of a net recovery of servicing right impairment of $4.5 million, compared with an impairment of $1.4 million for the third quarter of 2021. Gain on sale spreads increased to 3.27% in the fourth quarter of 2021 from 3.17% for the third quarter of 2021. Total production in the retail mortgage division decreased to $1.82 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with $2.06 billion for the third quarter of 2021. The retail mortgage open pipeline was $1.62 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with $1.93 billion at September 30, 2021.

Service charge revenue increased $298,000, or 2.59%, to $11.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with $11.5 million for the third quarter of 2021, resulting from an increase in volume. Other noninterest income increased $1.4 million, or 19.8%, in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $8.3 million, compared with $6.9 million for the third quarter of 2021, primarily as a result of noninterest income in our Balboa Capital division of $1.1 million. Also contributing to the increase were increases in trust services income of $167,000 and BOLI income of $207,000.

Noninterest income decreased $81.0 million, or 18.1%, to $365.5 million for 2021, compared with $446.5 million for 2020, primarily as a result of decreased mortgage banking activity, which declined by $88.2 million, or 23.6%, to $285.9 million in 2021, compared with $374.1 million in 2020. Production remained strong at $8.9 billion in 2021, compared with $9.8 billion in 2020, while gain on sale spreads narrowed to 3.31% in 2021 from 3.79% in 2020.

Noninterest Expense
Noninterest expense increased $1.2 million, or 0.85%, to $138.4 million during the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with $137.2 million for the third quarter of 2021. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the Company recorded merger and conversion charges of $4.0 million and a net gain of $126,000 related to bank premises, compared with a net loss on bank premises of $1.1 million and merger and conversion charges of $183,000 during the third quarter of 2021. Excluding these charges, adjusted expenses decreased approximately $1.4 million, or 1.03%, to $134.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, from $135.9 million in the third quarter of 2021. Operating expenses in the newly acquired Balboa Capital division were $1.35 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. A driving factor in the overall decrease in expenses was a reduction in salaries and employee benefits in the banking division of $4.8 million, offset by the $1.3 million of salaries and employee benefits in the Balboa Capital division. The adjusted efficiency ratio was 54.85% in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with 56.56% in the third quarter of 2021.

Noninterest expense decreased $38.5 million, or 6.4%, to $560.1 million in 2021, compared with $598.6 million in 2020. During 2021, the Company recorded $4.7 million of charges to earnings, the majority of which related to merger and conversion charges, compared with $9.9 million in charges in 2020 that were principally related to natural disaster and pandemic charges and certain legal expenses. Excluding these charges, adjusted expenses decreased $33.3 million, or 5.7%, to $555.4 million in 2021, from $588.7 million in 2020. The majority of this decrease is attributable to a $22.5 million reduction in salaries and employee benefits, primarily variable compensation related to mortgage production, and a $4.6 million reduction in amortization of intangible assets.

Income Tax Expense
The Company's effective tax rate for 2021 was 24.0%, compared with 23.0% in 2020. The Company's effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2021 was 23.8%, compared with 26.2% in the third quarter of 2021. The decreased rate for the fourth quarter of 2021 was primarily a result of a discrete charge to the Company's state tax liability in the third quarter of 2021.

Balance Sheet Trends
Total assets at December 31, 2021 were $23.86 billion, compared with $20.44 billion at December 31, 2020. Total loans, including loans held for sale, were $17.13 billion at December 31, 2021, compared with $15.65 billion at December 31, 2020. Total loans held for investment were $15.87 billion at December 31, 2021, compared with $14.48 billion at December 31, 2020, an increase of $1.39 billion, or 9.6%. Loan production in the banking division during the fourth quarter of 2021 totaled $1.15 billion, up 26% from the third quarter of 2021 and 46% from the fourth quarter of 2020.

At December 31, 2021, total deposits amounted to $19.67 billion, or 95.8% of total funding, compared with $16.96 billion and 96.8%, respectively, at December 31, 2020. At December 31, 2021, noninterest-bearing deposit accounts were $7.77 billion, or 39.5% of total deposits, compared with $6.15 billion, or 36.3% of total deposits, at December 31, 2020. Non-rate sensitive deposits (including noninterest-bearing, NOW and savings) totaled $12.52 billion at December 31, 2021, compared with $10.23 billion at December 31, 2020. These funds represented 63.6% of the Company's total deposits at December 31, 2021, compared with 60.3% at the end of 2020.

Shareholders' equity at December 31, 2021 totaled $2.97 billion, an increase of $319.4 million, or 12.1%, from December 31, 2020. The increase in shareholders' equity was primarily the result of earnings of $376.9 million during 2021, partially offset by dividends declared and share repurchases. Tangible book value per share was $26.26 at December 31, 2021, compared with $23.69 at December 31, 2020. Tangible common equity as a percentage of tangible assets was 8.05% at December 31, 2021, compared with 8.47% at the end of 2020.

Credit Quality
Credit quality remains strong in the Company. During the fourth quarter of 2021, the Company recorded a provision for credit losses of $2.8 million, compared with a provision reversal of $9.7 million in the third quarter of 2021. This provision was primarily attributable to growth in unfunded commitments, partially offset by an improvement in expected credit losses on loans. The Company has been prudently working with borrowers to support their credit needs during the current challenging economic conditions and is monitoring the level of modifications on an ongoing basis, such that loans remaining on deferral at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021 equaled approximately 0.4% of total loans, down from approximately 0.6% and 2.9% of total loans at the end of the third quarter of 2021 and the fourth quarter of 2020, respectively. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets increased 11 basis points to 0.43% during the quarter. This increase was primarily attributable to purchased credit deteriorated assets added from the Balboa Capital acquisition and certain GNMA and portfolio mortgages that completed COVID forbearances and the loan has not been either brought current or formally modified. The Company recorded net recoveries in the fourth quarter of 2021 of $556,000, such that the net charge-off ratio was negative one basis point for the quarter, compared with zero basis points in the third quarter of 2021 and 70 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Conference Call
The Company will host a teleconference at 9:00 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, January 28, 2022, to discuss the Company's results and answer appropriate questions. The conference call can be accessed by dialing 1-844-200-6205 (or 1-929-526-1599 for international participants). The conference call access code is 652601. A replay of the call will be available one hour after the end of the conference call until February 4, 2022. To listen to the replay, dial 1-866-813-9403. The conference replay access code is 554920. The financial information discussed will also be available on the Investor Relations page of the Ameris Bank website at ir.amerisbank.com.

About Ameris Bancorp
Ameris Bancorp is a bank holding company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The Company's banking subsidiary, Ameris Bank, had 165 locations in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina at the end of the most recent quarter.

This news release contains certain performance measures determined by methods other than in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"). The Company's management uses these non-GAAP measures in its analysis of the Company's performance. These measures are useful when evaluating the underlying performance and efficiency of the Company's operations and balance sheet. The Company's management believes that these non-GAAP measures provide a greater understanding of ongoing operations, enhance comparability of results with prior periods and demonstrate the effects of significant gains and charges in the current period. The Company's management believes that investors may use these non-GAAP financial measures to evaluate the Company's financial performance without the impact of unusual items that may obscure trends in the Company's underlying performance. These disclosures should not be viewed as a substitute for financial measures determined in accordance with GAAP, nor are they necessarily comparable to non-GAAP performance measures that may be presented by other companies.

This news release contains forward-looking statements, as defined by federal securities laws, including, among other forward-looking statements, certain plans, expectations and goals. Words such as "may," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "will," "should," "plan," "estimate," "predict," "continue" and "potential" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, as well as similar expressions, are meant to identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this news release are based on current expectations and are provided to assist in the understanding of potential future performance. Such forward-looking statements involve numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any such statements, including, without limitation, the following: general competitive, economic, unemployment, political and market conditions and fluctuations, including real estate market conditions, and the effects of such conditions and fluctuations on the creditworthiness of borrowers, collateral values, asset recovery values and the value of investment securities; movements in interest rates and their impacts on net interest margin; expectations on credit quality and performance; legislative and regulatory changes; changes in U.S. government monetary and fiscal policy; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the general economy, our customers and the allowance for loan losses; the benefits that may be realized by our customers from government assistance programs and regulatory actions related to the COVID-19 pandemic; the potential impact of the phase-out of the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") or other changes involving LIBOR; competitive pressures on product pricing and services; the cost savings and any revenue synergies expected to result from acquisition transactions, which may not be fully realized within the expected timeframes if at all; the success and timing of other business strategies; our outlook and long-term goals for future growth; and natural disasters, geopolitical events, acts of war or terrorism or other hostilities, public health crises and other catastrophic events beyond our control. For a discussion of some of the other risks and other factors that may cause such forward-looking statements to differ materially from actual results, please refer to the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 and the Company's subsequently filed periodic reports and other filings. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements.

AMERIS BANCORP AND SUBSIDIARIES

FINANCIAL TABLES















Financial Highlights

Table 1


Three Months Ended


Twelve Months Ended


Dec


Sep


Jun


Mar


Dec


Dec


Dec

(dollars in thousands except per share data)

2021


2021


2021


2021


2020


2021


2020

EARNINGS














Net income

$ 81,944


$ 81,680


$ 88,327


$ 124,962


$ 94,285


$ 376,913


$ 261,988

Adjusted net income

$ 81,544


$ 83,861


$ 87,548


$ 115,746


$ 101,995


$ 368,699


$ 300,501















COMMON SHARE DATA














Earnings per share available to common shareholders














Basic

$ 1.18


$ 1.18


$ 1.27


$ 1.80


$ 1.36


$ 5.43


$ 3.78

Diluted

$ 1.18


$ 1.17


$ 1.27


$ 1.79


$ 1.36


$ 5.40


$ 3.77

Adjusted diluted EPS

$ 1.17


$ 1.20


$ 1.25


$ 1.66


$ 1.47


$ 5.29


$ 4.33

Cash dividends per share

$ 0.15


$ 0.15


$ 0.15


$ 0.15


$ 0.15


$ 0.60


$ 0.60

Book value per share (period end)

$ 42.62


$ 41.66


$ 40.66


$ 39.56


$ 38.07


$ 42.62


$ 38.07

Tangible book value per share (period end)

$ 26.26


$ 27.46


$ 26.45


$ 25.27


$ 23.69


$ 26.26


$ 23.69

Weighted average number of shares














Basic

69,398,594


69,439,845


69,496,666


69,391,734


69,252,307


69,431,860


69,256,020

Diluted

69,738,426


69,756,135


69,791,670


69,740,860


69,493,105


69,761,394


69,426,185

Period end number of shares

69,608,228


69,635,435


69,767,209


69,713,426


69,541,481


69,608,228


69,541,481

Market data














High intraday price

$ 56.64


$ 53.63


$ 59.85


$ 57.81


$ 39.53


$ 59.85


$ 43.79

Low intraday price

$ 46.20


$ 44.92


$ 47.44


$ 36.60


$ 22.37


$ 36.60


$ 17.12

Period end closing price

$ 49.68


$ 51.88


$ 50.63


$ 52.51


$ 38.07


$ 49.68


$ 38.07

Average daily volume

350,119


392,533


429,233


460,744


394,641


407,447


420,874















PERFORMANCE RATIOS














Return on average assets

1.41 %


1.47 %


1.64 %


2.44 %


1.89 %


1.73 %


1.36 %

Adjusted return on average assets

1.40 %


1.51 %


1.63 %


2.26 %


2.04 %


1.69 %


1.56 %

Return on average common equity

11.06 %


11.27 %


12.66 %


18.80 %


14.30 %


13.33 %


10.35 %

Adjusted return on average tangible common equity

16.88 %


17.65 %


19.46 %


27.66 %


25.04 %


20.19 %


19.77 %

Earning asset yield (TE)

3.39 %


3.44 %


3.58 %


3.85 %


3.98 %


3.56 %


4.21 %

Total cost of funds

0.23 %


0.24 %


0.26 %


0.30 %


0.36 %


0.25 %


0.54 %

Net interest margin (TE)

3.18 %


3.22 %


3.34 %


3.57 %


3.64 %


3.32 %


3.70 %

Noninterest income excluding securities transactions, as a percent of total revenue (TE)

31.31 %


30.32 %


33.78 %


39.71 %


38.37 %


34.01 %


37.90 %

Efficiency ratio

55.66 %


57.59 %


54.07 %


52.59 %


54.83 %


54.87 %


55.21 %

Adjusted efficiency ratio (TE)

54.85 %


56.56 %


54.07 %


54.62 %


52.67 %


55.00 %


52.17 %















CAPITAL ADEQUACY (period end)














Shareholders' equity to assets

12.43 %


12.87 %


12.96 %


12.87 %


12.95 %


12.43 %


12.95 %

Tangible common equity to tangible assets

8.05 %


8.88 %


8.83 %


8.62 %


8.47 %


8.05 %


8.47 %















EQUITY TO ASSETS RECONCILIATION














Tangible common equity to tangible assets

8.05 %


8.88 %


8.83 %


8.62 %


8.47 %


8.05 %


8.47 %

Effect of goodwill and other intangibles

4.38 %


3.99 %


4.13 %


4.25 %


4.48 %


4.38 %


4.48 %

Equity to assets (GAAP)

12.43 %


12.87 %


12.96 %


12.87 %


12.95 %


12.43 %


12.95 %















OTHER DATA (period end)














Full time equivalent employees














Banking Division

2,008


1,821


1,817


1,815


1,816


2,008


1,816

Retail Mortgage Division

739


749


759


765


748


739


748

Warehouse Lending Division

12


12


12


12


12


12


12

SBA Division

34


29


30


29


24


34


24

Premium Finance Division

72


67


68


70


71


72


71

Total Ameris Bancorp FTE headcount

2,865


2,678


2,686


2,691


2,671


2,865


2,671















Assets per Banking Division FTE

$ 13,262


$ 12,374


$ 12,046


$ 11,806


$ 11,255


$ 13,262


$ 11,255...

Branch locations

165


165


165


165


164


165


164

Deposits per branch location

$ 119,185


$ 114,142


$ 110,655


$ 108,339...