Market Overview

Community Bank System Reports Solid Fourth Quarter and Full Year Operating Results

SYRACUSE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE: CBU) reported fourth quarter 2012 net income of $18.8 million, or $0.47 per share, compared with $19.0 million, or $0.51 per share reported for the fourth quarter of 2011. Current quarter results included $0.5 million of acquisition-related expenses and a $2.5 million litigation settlement charge, or $0.05 per share. The Company reported full year earnings of $77.1 million in 2012, an increase of 5.4% over the year ended December 31, 2011.

“Our fourth quarter and full year operating performance continued to be at very favorable levels and was characterized by solid revenue growth, strong organic loan generation, a continuation of our stable and favorable asset quality profile, and the successful completion of the branch acquisitions announced earlier in the year,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Tryniski. “We continue to focus on building additional value into our enterprise through selective acquisitions, disciplined lending and a consistent approach to business regardless of economic conditions. In September, we increased our quarterly dividend to $0.27 per share, or 3.8% higher, marking the twentieth consecutive year of dividend increases for the Company. We believe that this demonstrates the Company's commitment to the payment of a meaningful and growing dividend as an important component of providing consistent and favorable long-term returns to our shareholders.”

Total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $86.2 million, an increase of $8.7 million, or 11.2%, compared to the prior year fourth quarter. Net interest income increased 8.8% from the prior year quarter to $60.0 million, the result of an $897 million increase in average interest-earning assets, comprised of an additional $536 million of investment securities (including cash equivalents) and a $361 million increase in average loans, from both organic and acquired sources. On a linked quarter basis, ending loans grew $53.1 million, and consistent with the first three quarters of 2012, primarily in residential mortgage and consumer installment products. Although quarterly net interest income was up 8.8% over the fourth quarter of 2011, the completion of the branch acquisitions (and its associated net liquidity characteristics) in the third quarter of 2012 contributed to a reduction in the Company's net interest margin from 4.06% in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 3.83% in the current quarter, as expected. The fourth quarter's net interest income included the receipt of the Company's semi-annual dividend from the Federal Reserve Bank as well as certain loan-related fees which combined added approximately four basis points to the quarterly net interest margin. On a full year basis the Company's net interest income increased $21.0 million, or 10.0%, in 2012, a product of 15.4% growth in interest-earning assets partially offset by a 19 basis-point decline in the net interest margin.

Fourth quarter non-interest income increased $3.8 million to $26.2 million, compared with fourth quarter 2011, reflecting increased benefits administration and consulting fees, higher deposit services fees, and increased wealth management revenues. Employee benefits administration and consulting revenues were up 19.3% compared to fourth quarter 2011, principally from the December 2011 acquisition of Metro-New York based, CAI Benefits (CAI). Wealth management fees were up $0.6 million, or 21.8% over fourth quarter 2011, driven by solid gains in trust services and asset management. Deposit service fees of $12.6 million were up $1.6 million, or 14.3% from fourth quarter of 2011, and included the activities of the branches acquired in the third quarter.

Fourth quarter core operating expenses (excluding acquisition expenses and the litigation settlement charge) of $53.9 million, increased $6.2 million over the fourth quarter of 2011, and included the recurring operating expenses of the acquired branches as well as CAI. Year-to-date core operating expenses (excluding acquisition expenses and the litigation settlement charge) of $203.5 million were 9.7% higher than 2011, and reflect the aforementioned branch and CAI transactions, as well as the acquisition of the Wilber Corporation in April 2011. The results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2012 included an accrual of $2.5 million with respect to the settlement of a class action lawsuit, similar to other actions filed against more than 100 other financial institutions in the United States over the last three years. The litigation settlement related to the processing of retail debit card transactions and its impact on overdraft fees. The Company had considerable affirmative defenses to the claims, however, the settlement the Company was able to achieve was, in its judgment, a superior outcome for shareholders when measured against the cost and the staff resources required for litigation.

The full year 2012 effective income tax rate of 29.2% was consistent with the 29.4% rate in 2011, reflecting proportionately similar levels of income being generated from fully taxable and non-taxable sources.

Financial Position

Average earning assets for the fourth quarter were $6.67 billion, an increase of $39.0 million compared to third quarter of 2012, and up $897.3 million over the fourth quarter of 2011. Ending loans increased $394.6 million year-over-year, reflecting strong organic growth from consumer mortgage and installment products and loans from the acquired branches. Average investment securities (including cash equivalents) of $2.83 billion for the fourth quarter were down 3.0% from the third quarter, reflective of contractual cash flows. Average deposits increased $167.0 million, or 3.1%, compared to the third quarter of 2012, and were up $835.9 million from the fourth quarter of 2011, principally from the branch transactions. Quarter-end borrowings were $830.1 million, consistent with both the end of the third quarter of 2012 and the end of last year.

Year-end shareholders' equity of $902.8 million was $128.2 million, or 16.6%, higher than December 31, 2011. The year-over-year increase was driven by the January 2012 issuance of 2.1 million additional shares in support of the Company's branch acquisitions completed in the third quarter, appreciation in the available-for-sale investment portfolio, and continued solid growth in retained earnings due to record levels of net income generation. Despite the completion of the branch acquisitions in the third quarter, the Company continued to strengthen its capital position as was evidenced by the 50 basis-point increase in the net tangible equity to net tangible assets ratio from the end of 2011.

Asset Quality

The Company's asset quality metrics continue to be markedly better than comparative peer and industry averages and illustrate the long-term effectiveness of the Company's disciplined risk management and underwriting standards. Net charge-offs were $2.6 million for the fourth quarter, compared to $1.7 million for the third quarter of 2012 and $1.8 million for fourth quarter of 2011. Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans at December 31, 2012 were 0.75%, down from the 0.81% at September 30, 2012, and down from 0.90% of total loans at the end of last year. The total delinquency ratio of 1.92% at the end of the fourth quarter was up 13 basis points from the end of the third quarter 2012, but 13 basis points lower than the 2.05% level at December 31, 2011. The fourth quarter provision for loan losses of $2.7 million was consistent with the third quarter and $1.1 million higher than the fourth quarter of last year. The allowance for loan losses to nonperforming loans was 148% at December 31, 2012, compared to 139% at September 30, 2012, and 135% as of December 31, 2011.

Upstate New York Branch Banking Expansion

The Company completed the acquisition and conversion of 16 HSBC branches (July 20, 2012) and three First Niagara branches (September 7, 2012) in its core Upstate New York markets in the third quarter. In total, approximately $160 million of loans and $800 million of deposits were acquired in these transactions.

Increased Cash Dividend/Stock Repurchase Authorization

In September, the Company increased its quarterly cash dividend to shareholders by 3.8%, to $0.27 per share, marking its twentieth (20th) consecutive year of annual increases. The increase earned the Company the distinction of being one of only 14 companies to become a new member of the S&P 1500 Dividend Aristocrats Index in 2012, signifying it has raised its annual regular cash dividend payment for at least 20 consecutive years. Based upon the closing price for a share of Community Bank System, Inc. common stock of $28.49 on January 18, 2013, the $0.27 per share quarterly dividend represents an approximate annual yield of 3.8%.

In December, the Company's Board of Directors also approved a stock repurchase program authorizing the repurchase, at the discretion of senior management, of up to 2.0 million shares of the Company's common stock during a twelve-month period starting on January 1, 2013. The new repurchase authorization replaced an existing program which expired on December 31, 2012.

Conference Call Scheduled

Company management will conduct an investor call at 11:00 a.m. (ET) tomorrow (Wednesday) January 23, 2013 to discuss fourth quarter and full-year results. The conference call can be accessed at 1-877-551-8082 (1-904-520-5770 if outside United States and Canada). An audio recording will be available one hour after the call until March 31, 2013, and may be accessed at 1-888-284-7564 (1-904-596-3174 if outside the United States and Canada) and entering access code 2972591. Investors may also listen live via the Internet at: [http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=91497]. The recording will be archived until January 23, 2014 and can be accessed at any point during this time at no cost.

This earnings release, including supporting financial tables, is available within the press releases section of the Company's investor relations website at: http://ir.communitybanksystem.com. An archived webcast of the earnings call will be available on this site for one full year.

Headquartered in DeWitt, N.Y., Community Bank System, Inc. has $7.5 billion in assets and over 180 customer facilities. The Company's banking subsidiary, Community Bank, N.A. operates across Upstate New York and Northeastern Pennsylvania, where it conducts business as First Liberty Bank & Trust. Its other subsidiaries include: Benefit Plans Administrative Services, Inc., a national employee benefits consulting and trust administration firm with offices in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas; the CBNA Insurance Agency, with offices in five northern New York communities; Community Investment Services, Inc., a wealth management firm delivering a wide range of financial products throughout the Company's branch network; and Nottingham Advisors, an investment management and advisory firm with offices in Buffalo, N.Y. and North Palm Beach, Florida. For more information, visit: www.communitybankna.com or www.firstlibertybank.com.

               
Summary of Financial Data
(Dollars in thousands, expect per share data)                    
Quarter Ended Year Ended
      December 31,     December 31,
Earnings     2012     2011     2012     2011
Loan income $49,405 $50,511 $192,710 $192,981
Investment income 22,545 19,903 88,690 77,988
Total interest income 71,950 70,414 281,400 270,969
Interest expense 11,981 15,279 50,976 61,556
Net interest income 59,969 55,135 230,424 209,413
Provision for loan losses 2,666 1,593 9,108 4,736
Net interest income after provision for loan losses 57,303 53,542 221,316 204,677
Deposit service fees 12,603 11,027 46,064 42,334
Mortgage banking revenues 161 37 843 1,735
Other banking services 613 694 3,226 2,916
Wealth management services 3,449 2,831 12,876 10,697
Benefit trust, administration, consulting and actuarial fees 9,397 7,879 35,946 31,601
Investment securities and debt extinguishment gains/(losses), net 0 (69) 291 (61)
Total noninterest income 26,223 22,399 99,246 89,222
Salaries and employee benefits 29,639 27,093 112,034 102,278
Occupancy and equipment and furniture 6,665 6,089 25,799 24,502
Amortization of intangible assets 1,264 1,130 4,607 4,381
Acquisition expenses & litigation settlement 3,027 142 8,247 4,831
Other 16,304 13,383 61,070 54,380
Total operating expenses 56,899 47,837 211,757 190,372
Income before income taxes 26,627 28,104 108,805 103,527
Income taxes 7,823 9,116 31,737 30,385
Net income $18,804 $18,988 $77,068 $73,142
Basic earnings per share $0.47 $0.51 $1.95 $2.03
Diluted earnings per share     $0.47     $0.51     $1.93     $2.01
                   

Summary of Financial Data

(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)                      
2012 2011
      4th Qtr     3rd Qtr     2nd Qtr     1st Qtr 4th Qtr
Earnings                          
Loan income $49,405 $48,590 $47,077 $47,638 $50,511
Investment income 22,545 22,804 23,468 19,873 19,903
Total interest income 71,950 71,394 70,545 67,511 70,414
Interest expense 11,981 12,619 12,774 13,602 15,279
Net interest income 59,969 58,775 57,771 53,909 55,135
Provision for loan losses 2,666 2,643 2,155 1,644 1,593
Net interest income after provision for loan losses 57,303 56,132 55,616 52,265 53,542
Deposit service fees 12,603 12,057 11,035 10,369 11,027
Mortgage banking revenues 161 128 234 320 37
Other banking services 613 1,277 662 674 694
Wealth management services 3,449 3,194 3,101 3,132 2,831
Benefit trust, administration, consulting and actuarial fees 9,397 8,912 8,664 8,973 7,879
Investment securities gains/(losses), net 0 291 0 0 (69)
Total noninterest income 26,223 25,859 23,696 23,468 22,399
Salaries and employee benefits 29,639 28,126 26,844 27,425 27,093
Occupancy and equipment and furniture 6,665 6,541 6,130 6,463 6,089
Amortization of intangible assets 1,264 1,212 1,045 1,086 1,130
Acquisition expenses & litigation settlement 3,027 4,796 164 260 142
Other 16,304 15,410 15,187 14,169 13,383
Total operating expenses 56,899 56,085 49,370 49,403 47,837
Income before income taxes 26,627 25,906 29,942 26,330 28,104
Income taxes 7,823 7,539 8,871 7,504 9,116
Net income $18,804 $18,367 $21,071 $18,826 $18,988
Basic earnings per share $0.47 $0.46 $0.53 $0.49 $0.51
Diluted earnings per share     $0.47     $0.46     $0.53     $0.48 $0.51
Profitability                          
Return on assets 1.00% 0.98% 1.20% 1.14% 1.16%
Return on equity 8.20% 8.12% 9.82% 9.22% 9.96%
Return on tangible equity(3) 13.55% 13.27% 16.01% 15.59% 17.91%
Noninterest income/operating income (FTE) (1) 29.0% 28.8% 27.6% 28.8% 27.6%
Efficiency ratio (2)     58.2%     56.5%     56.1%     59.0% 57.2%
Components of Net Interest Margin (FTE)                          
Loan yield 5.16% 5.25% 5.42% 5.58% 5.80%
Cash equivalents yield 0.26% 0.26% 0.34% 0.26% 0.25%
Investment yield 3.85% 3.82% 3.97% 4.33% 4.49%
Earning asset yield 4.54% 4.54% 4.78% 4.89% 5.11%
Interest-bearing deposit rate 0.34% 0.40% 0.44% 0.56% 0.65%
Borrowing rate 3.89% 3.56% 2.85% 3.79% 4.21%
Cost of all interest-bearing funds 0.89% 0.94% 0.99% 1.13% 1.27%
Cost of funds (includes DDA) 0.74% 0.78% 0.84% 0.96% 1.08%
Net interest margin (FTE) 3.83% 3.79% 3.96% 3.96% 4.06%
Fully tax-equivalent adjustment     $4,209     $4,332     $4,335     $4,031 $3,851
                   
Summary of Financial Data
(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)                      
2012 2011
      4th Qtr     3rd Qtr     2nd Qtr     1st Qtr 4th Qtr
Average Balances                          
Loans $3,834,068 $3,708,143 $3,512,427 $3,454,240 $3,473,366
Cash equivalents 106,851 138,251 10,017 251,828 233,984
Taxable investment securities 2,035,651 2,065,121 2,091,575 1,565,215 1,495,590
Nontaxable investment securities 691,525 717,608 692,839 613,947 567,835
Total interest-earning assets 6,668,095 6,629,123 6,306,858 5,885,230 5,770,775
Total assets 7,506,371 7,426,818 7,058,473 6,618,812 6,474,722
Interest-bearing deposits 4,545,347 4,409,813 4,003,213 3,964,062 3,929,231
Borrowings 830,149 918,789 1,182,707 859,774 830,344
Total interest-bearing liabilities 5,375,496 5,328,602 5,185,920 4,823,836 4,759,575
Noninterest-bearing deposits 1,098,193 1,066,689 907,153 884,451 878,443
Shareholders' equity     912,321     900,147     862,747     821,043 756,334
Balance Sheet Data                          
Cash and cash equivalents $228,558 $287,753 $130,902 $132,055 $324,878
Investment securities 2,818,527 2,895,285 2,931,918 2,765,145 2,151,370
Loans:
Business lending 1,233,944 1,233,928 1,216,309 1,210,773 1,226,439
Consumer mortgage 1,448,415 1,390,130 1,289,155 1,245,217 1,214,621
Consumer installment - indirect 647,518 642,196 591,249 542,605 556,955
Home equity 364,225 372,493 310,555 317,716 323,840
Consumer installment - direct 171,474 173,710 154,402 144,428 149,170
Total loans 3,865,576 3,812,457 3,561,670 3,460,739 3,471,025
Allowance for loan losses 42,888 42,817 41,828 41,809 42,213
Intangible assets 387,133 388,398 358,435 359,480 360,564
Other assets 239,894 229,297 225,234 236,848 222,651
Total assets 7,496,800 7,570,373 7,166,331 6,912,458 6,488,275
Deposits:
Noninterest-bearing 1,110,994 1,098,135 944,695 911,131 894,464
Non-maturity interest-bearing 3,501,630 3,533,837 2,942,333 2,974,191 2,776,532
Time 1,015,415 1,076,657 1,023,324 1,066,685 1,124,249
Total deposits 5,628,039 5,708,629 4,910,352 4,952,007 4,795,245
Borrowings 728,061 728,116 1,157,872 910,427 728,281
Subordinated debt held by unconsolidated subsidiary trusts 102,073 102,067 102,060 102,054 102,048
Other liabilities 135,849 126,962 110,988 107,297 88,118
Total liabilities 6,594,022 6,665,774 6,281,272 6,071,785 5,713,692
Shareholders' equity 902,778 904,599 885,059 840,673 774,583
Total liabilities and shareholders' equity     7,496,800     7,570,373     7,166,331     6,912,458 6,488,275
Capital                          
Tier 1 leverage ratio 8.40% 8.32% 8.98% 9.37% 8.38%
Tangible equity/net tangible assets (3) 7.62% 7.54% 8.09% 7.70% 7.12%
Diluted weighted average common shares O/S 40,179 40,139 40,057 39,323 37,491
Period end common shares outstanding 39,626 39,571 39,472 39,439 36,986
Cash dividends declared per common share $0.27 $0.27 $0.26 $0.26 $0.26
Book value $22.78 $22.86 $22.42 $21.32 $20.94
Tangible book value(3) $13.72 $13.73 $14.00 $12.84 $11.85
Common stock price (end of period)     $27.36     $28.19     $27.12     $28.78 $27.80
                 
Summary of Financial Data
(Dollars in thousands, except per share data)                  
2012 2011
      4th Qtr     3rd Qtr     2nd Qtr     1st Qtr 4th Qtr
Asset Quality                          
Nonaccrual loans $26,318 $27,370 $28,571     $27,757 $28,285
Accruing loans 90+ days delinquent 2,748 3,349 3,437 3,889 3,090
Total nonperforming loans 29,066 30,719 32,008 31,646 31,375
Other real estate owned (OREO) 4,788 3,384 2,899 2,690 2,682
Total nonperforming assets 33,854 34,103 34,907 34,336 34,057
Net charge-offs 2,596 1,654 2,136 2,048 1,844
Allowance for loan losses/loans outstanding 1.11% 1.12% 1.17% 1.21% 1.22%
Nonperforming loans/loans outstanding 0.75% 0.81% 0.90% 0.91% 0.90%
Allowance for loan losses/nonperforming loans 148% 139% 131% 132% 135%
Net charge-offs/average loans 0.27% 0.18% 0.24% 0.24% 0.21%
Delinquent loans/ending loans 1.92% 1.79% 1.71% 1.78% 2.05%
Loan loss provision/net charge-offs 103% 160% 101% 80% 86%
Nonperforming assets/total assets     0.45%     0.45%     0.49%     0.50% 0.52%
Asset Quality (excluding loans acquired since 1/1/09)                          
Nonaccrual loans $21,938 $21,733 $22,395 $20,178 $17,585
Accruing loans 90+ days delinquent 2,356 3,038 3,070 2,700 2,878
Total nonperforming loans 24,294 24,771 25,465 22,878 20,463
Other real estate owned (OREO) 1,397 1,671 1,577 1,778 1,734
Total nonperforming assets 25,691 26,442 27,042 24,656 22,197
Net charge-offs 1,863 1,754 1,217 752 1,844
Allowance for loan losses/loans outstanding 1.21% 1.24% 1.28% 1.30% 1.36%
Nonperforming loans/loans outstanding 0.71% 0.74% 0.79% 0.74% 0.69%
Allowance for loan losses/nonperforming loans 170% 167% 161% 175% 197%
Net charge-offs/average loans 0.19% 0.21% 0.16% 0.10% 0.24%
Delinquent loans/ending loans 1.82% 1.65% 1.62% 1.61% 1.77%
Loan loss provision/net charge-offs 102% 119% 180% 37% 79%
Nonperforming assets/total assets     0.36%     0.37%     0.40%     0.38% 0.36%

 

(1)

 

Excludes gain (loss) on investment securities.

(2)

Excludes intangible amortization, acquisition expenses, litigation settlement, and gain (loss) on investment securities.

(3)

Includes deferred tax liabilities (of approximately $27.9 million at 12/31/12) generated from tax deductible goodwill.

 

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The following factors, among others, could cause the actual results of CBU's operations to differ materially from CBU's expectations: the successful integration of operations of its acquisitions; competition; changes in economic conditions, interest rates and financial markets; and changes in legislation or regulatory requirements. CBU does not assume any duty to update forward-looking statements.

Community Bank System, Inc.
Scott A. Kingsley, 315-445-3121
EVP & Chief Financial Officer

 

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