Market Overview

Bank Mutual Corporation Reports Net Income for the Fourth Quarter of 2017

Share:

MILWAUKEE, Jan. 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bank Mutual Corporation (NASDAQ:BKMU) reported net income of $1.9 million or $0.04 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $4.1 million or $0.09 per diluted share in the same quarter of last year.  On a full-year basis Bank Mutual Corporation ("Bank Mutual") reported net income of $13.5 million or $0.30 per diluted share in 2017 compared to $17.0 million or $0.37 per diluted share in the same twelve-month period in 2016.  The fourth quarter and full-year results of operations in 2017 each include a negative adjustment of $4.4 million to Bank Mutual's net deferred tax asset as of December 31, 2017.  This adjustment resulted from recent legislation that reduced the corporate federal income tax rate, as more fully described later in this release.  Also included in Bank Mutual's fourth quarter and full-year results of operations were $472,000 and $1.7 million, respectively, in expenses related to its pending merger with Associated Banc-Corp ("Associated,") (NYSE:ASB), which was announced in a prior quarter. 

Excluding the after-tax impact of the merger related expenses and deferred tax adjustment noted in the previous paragraph, Bank Mutual's earnings during the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, would have been $6.6 million and $19.1 million, respectively.  Relative to the 2016 periods, Bank Mutual's results of operations in 2017 were positively impacted by higher net interest income, a favorable change in provision for (recovery of) loan losses, higher brokerage, advisory, and insurance revenue, increased gains on sales of real estate held for investment, lower occupancy, equipment, and data processing costs, and a decline in other non-interest expenses.  In addition, fourth quarter results in 2017 were favorably impacted by lower compensation-related expenses and the full-year results were favorably impacted by lower advertising and marketing expense compared to the prior year.  The favorable developments in the 2017 periods were partially offset by a decrease in mortgage banking revenue and a decrease in loan-related fees compared to the same periods in 2016.  In addition, the fourth quarter of 2017 was unfavorably impacted by higher advertising and marketing expense compared to the same period in the prior year.  Finally, the full-year results in 2017 included a $197,000 loss on the sale of five retail branch offices, as well as an increase in compensation-related expenses and higher net losses and expenses on foreclosed real estate.

David A. Baumgarten, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank Mutual, commented, "Our core operating results were strong in the fourth quarter due in part to continued declines in our non-performing and other classified assets."  He continued, "We feel very good about the quality of the loan portfolio we are bringing into the pending merger with Associated."  Mr. Baumgarten added, "We also feel good about the profitability of the existing book of business we are bringing to Associated, as evidenced by the improvement in net interest margin to 3.15% in the fourth quarter."  He concluded, "We believe the future is bright for the combination of these two exceptional financial institutions and we look forward to working with Associated to complete the integration."

Bank Mutual's net interest income increased by $1.3 million or 7.0% and $4.7 million or 6.5% during the three- and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2017, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2016.  Included in the three- and twelve-month periods in 2016 were $221,000 and $1.3 million, respectively, in call premiums that Bank Mutual received on mortgage-related securities that were called by the issuer in those periods.  Excluding these call premiums, net interest income in the three- and twelve-month periods of 2017 increased by $1.5 million or 8.3% and $6.0 million or 8.4% compared to the same periods in 2016.  This increase was caused in part by an increase in Bank Mutual's average earning assets, which increased by $109.4 million or 4.6% during the twelve months ended December 31, 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.  This increase was primarily attributable to an increase in average loans receivable.  Also contributing to the increase in net interest income in the 2017 periods was an improvement in Bank Mutual's net interest margin, excluding the impact of the aforementioned call premiums.  Finally, an increase in funding from non-interest bearing checking accounts also contributed to the increase in net interest income in the 2017 periods. 

Bank Mutual's net interest margin was 3.15% and 3.09% during the three- and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2017, respectively, which compared to 3.00% and 2.98% during the same periods in 2016 (excluding three and five basis points of benefit related to the aforementioned call premiums in the three- and twelve-month periods of 2016, respectively).  Management has noted in recent periods that increases in the yield on Bank Mutual's earning assets have exceeded the increases in its cost of funds.  This has occurred in an environment of rising interest rates, due in part to increases in the fed funds rate by the Federal Reserve.  Management attributes the increases in Bank Mutual's net interest margin to an overall interest rate risk exposure that is asset sensitive.  That is, management believes that the sensitivity of Bank Mutual's earning assets to changes in market interest rates is greater than its interest-bearing liabilities. 

Bank Mutual's provision for (recovery of) loan losses was $(722,000) in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $1.0 million in the same quarter last year.  On a full-year basis, provision for loan losses was $829,000 in 2017 compared to $3.0 million in 2016.  The recovery in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the lower loss provision during the full-year of 2017 was primarily attributable to a decrease in Bank Mutual's non-performing and other classified loans during the periods, as noted later in this release.  Also contributing was the nominal level of net charge-offs during these periods. 

Deposit-related fees and charges increased by $85,000 or 3.0% during the three months ended December 31, 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.  On a full-year basis, deposit-related fees declined by $108,000 or 0.9% in 2017 compared to 2016.  Deposit-related fees and charges consist of overdraft fees, ATM and debit card fees, merchant processing fees, account service charges, and other revenue items related to services performed by Bank Mutual for its retail and commercial deposit customers. 

Brokerage, advisory, and insurance revenue was $853,000 during the fourth quarter of 2017, which was $207,000 or 32.0% higher than the same quarter in the prior year.  On a full year basis this source of revenue was $3.2 million in 2017, which was $40,000 or 1.3% higher than 2016.  This revenue item generally consists of commissions earned on sales of tax-deferred annuities, mutual funds, and certain other securities, fees earned for investment advisory services, and commissions earned on sales of personal and business insurance products.  Management attributes the recent fluctuations in this revenue line item to changes in commissions earned from sales of tax-deferred annuities and other sources of transaction-based income.  In recent periods management has begun to shift the mix of revenue in this line of business from commission income, which tends to be transaction-based, to advisory fee income, which is generally based on assets under management rather than execution of individual transactions. 

Mortgage banking revenue, net, was $648,000 and $3.0 million during three- and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2017, respectively.  This compared to $926,000 and $4.2 million during the same periods in 2016, respectively.  The following table presents the components of mortgage banking revenue, net, for the periods indicated:

       

 
Three Months Ended
December 31
  Twelve Months Ended
December 31
    2017     2016       2017     2016  
  (Dollars in thousands)
Gross loan servicing fees $ 593   $ 625     $ 2,431   $ 2,540  
MSR amortization   (362 )   (522 )     (1,462 )   (2,158 )
  Loan servicing revenue, net   231     103       969     382  
Gain on loan sales activities, net   417     823       2,080     3,866  
   Mortgage banking revenue, net $ 648   $ 926     $ 3,049   $ 4,248  
                           

Loan servicing revenue, net, increased during the three- and twelve-month periods in 2017 compared to the same periods in 2016.  These increases were primarily caused by a decline in amortization of mortgage servicing rights ("MSRs").  These declines were caused by generally higher market interest rates for one- to four-family loans in 2017, which has resulted in reduced loan prepayment activity and slower amortization of the related MSRs compared to the prior year.  The favorable impact of this development was partially offset by declines in gross servicing fees in the 2017 periods due to an overall decline in loans serviced for third-party investors.  As of December 31, 2017, Bank Mutual serviced $943.3 million in loans for third-party investors compared to $997.0 million one year earlier.  

Gain on loan sales activities, net, was $417,000 and $2.1 million during the three- and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2017, respectively, compared to $823,000 and $3.9 million during the same periods in 2016.   Bank Mutual typically sells most of the fixed-rate, one- to four-family mortgage loans that it originates.  Market interest rates for one- to four-family loans have been higher in recent periods, which is a development that typically results in lower originations and sales of such loans. 

Loan-related fees were $443,000 and $1.9 million during the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, respectively.  These amounts compared to $1.8 million and $5.8 million during the same periods in 2016, respectively.  The largest source of fees in this revenue category has historically been interest rate swap fees related to commercial loan relationships.  Bank Mutual mitigates the interest rate risk associated with certain of its loan relationships by executing interest rate swaps, the accounting for which results in the recognition of a certain amount of fee income at the time the swap contracts are executed.  The decrease in loan-related fees in the 2017 periods was primarily due to reduced originations of multi-family, commercial real estate, and construction loans, which are the types of loans that generate most of Bank Mutual's interest rate swap fees.  

During the three- and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2017, Bank Mutual recorded $163,000 and $488,000 in gains on the disposition of real estate that it held for investment purposes, respectively.  This compared to $12,000 in the twelve-month period of the prior year. 

In the third quarter of 2017 Bank Mutual completed the sale of five retail branch offices to another financial institution, which included $46.1 million in deposits and $13.0 million in loans associated with the offices.  Bank Mutual recorded a loss of $197,000 on this transaction.  In addition, during the twelve months ended December 31, 2017, Bank Mutual also recorded $187,000 in one-time costs related to this transaction, as well as its decision to consolidate two other retail branch offices into other offices earlier in the year.  These costs consisted primarily of asset disposition costs, employment severance costs, data processing costs, and professional fees. 

Compensation-related expenses were $10.3 million and $42.8 million during the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2107, respectively, compared to $10.7 million and $41.8 million during the same periods in 2016, respectively.  The increase in compensation-related expenses for the full-year of 2017 was due in part to normal annual merit increases granted to most employees at the beginning of 2017.  Also contributing were certain signing bonuses and commission guarantees that Bank Mutual paid to a team of four experienced residential loan originators that it recruited from another financial institution earlier in the year.  Finally, contributing to a lesser degree was higher share-based compensation and employer 401k contributions in the 2017 periods compared to the same periods in the prior year.   These developments were partially offset by reduced staffing levels caused by the aforementioned sale of five retail banking offices, as well as the consolidation of two other retail banking offices earlier in the year.  Also contributing to the decrease in staffing levels in the fourth quarter of 2017 was a general decrease in the number of employees as a consequence of the pending merger with Associated, primarily through attrition.

Occupancy, equipment, and data processing expenses decreased by $590,000 or 16.6% and $66,000 or 0.5% during the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2016.  These declines were due in part to lower costs resulting from the aforementioned sale of five retail banking offices in the third quarter of 2017, as well as the consolidation of two other retail banking offices earlier in the year.  Also contributing to the decrease in the fourth quarter was lower real estate tax expense due to recent reassessments.

Advertising and marketing-related expense was $245,000 and $2.1 million during the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, respectively, compared to $100,000 and $2.4 million during the same periods in 2016.  Although spending on advertising and marketing in the fourth quarter was higher than the same period in 2016, spending in 2017 was lower on a full-year basis and was in line with management expectations for the year.    

Net losses and expenses on foreclosed real estate were $121,000 and $141,000 during the three-month periods ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively.  Net losses and expenses during the twelve-month periods ended as of those same dates were $408,000 and $222,000, respectively.   In general, Bank Mutual has experienced only modest gains, losses, and expenses on foreclosed real estate in recent periods due to relatively low levels of foreclosed properties and improved market conditions.  

During the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, Bank Mutual recorded $472,000 and $1.7 million in expenses related to its pending merger with Associated.  These expenses consisted primarily of professional advisory, consulting, and legal fees. 

Other non-interest expense was $1.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to $2.6 million in the same quarter of last year.   In the full-year comparison, these expenses were $8.3 million in 2017 compared to $9.6 million in 2016.  The 2016 quarter and full-year periods included $417,000 and $758,000, respectively, in prepayment penalties related to the early retirement of certain fixed-rate advances from the FHLB of Chicago in those periods.  Other non-interest expense also declined in the 2017 periods due in part to lower ATM and card processing charges compared to the same periods in 2016. 

Income tax expense was $7.9 million and $2.7 million during the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2016, respectively, and was $14.4 million and $10.1 million during the full year periods in 2017 and 2016, respectively.  In December of 2017 the U.S. Congress passed, and the President signed into a law, new tax reform legislation that, among other things, reduced the maximum corporate federal income tax rate from 35% to 21%.  Although this reduction is expected to benefit future earnings, it resulted in a negative adjustment to Bank Mutual's net deferred tax asset of $4.4 million because such asset had been valued using the former income tax rate of 35%. 

Excluding the impact of the $4.4 million deferred tax adjustment, Bank Mutual's income tax expense was $3.5 million and $10.0 million during the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, respectively.  Using these amounts, the effective tax rates ("ETRs") for the quarter periods were 36.1% and 39.9% in 2017 and 2016, respectively, and for the full-year periods were 35.9% and 37.4%, respectively.  Bank Mutual's ETR will vary from period to period because of certain tax deductions related to the impact of non-taxable revenue items, such as earnings from BOLI and tax-exempt interest income, as well as the impact of vesting of restricted stock grants and exercises of certain stock options by employees and directors.

Bank Mutual's total assets decreased by $9.5 million or 0.4% during the twelve months ended December 31, 2017.  This decrease was partially funded by a $26.4 million decline in other borrowings, which consist of advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank ("FHLB") of Chicago.  Also contributing to the decline in these borrowings was a $9.4 million increase in deposit liabilities during the year.  Bank Mutual's total shareholders' equity was $287.0 million at December 31, 2017, compared to $286.6 million at December 31, 2016.

Bank Mutual's loans receivable decreased by $3.7 million or 0.2% during the twelve months ended December 31, 2017.  During this period decreases in commercial real estate loans, construction loans (net of the undisbursed portion), and home equity loans were substantially offset by increases in multi-family loans, one- to four-family permanent loans, and commercial and industrial loans. 
                                                                                                                              
Bank Mutual's deposit liabilities increased by $9.4 million or 0.5% during the twelve months ended December 31, 2017.  During the year Bank Mutual increased brokered certificates of deposits by $61.8 million as an alternative funding source to borrowing from the FHLB of Chicago.  These brokered deposits funded a $45.2 million or 8.1% decrease in money market accounts in 2017, as well as a modest decrease in other deposit liabilities.   These latter decreases were due in part to the aforementioned purchase and assumption of $46.1 million in deposit liabilities by another financial institution in the third quarter of 2017.  

Bank Mutual's shareholders' equity was $287.0 million at December 31, 2017, compared to $286.6 million at December 31, 2016.  During the year the increase in equity caused by net income was almost entirely offset by regular cash dividends, as well as an increase in accumulated other comprehensive loss.  The latter change was primarily the result of an increase in Bank Mutual's pension obligation due to a decrease in the discount rate used to value such obligation.  The book value of Bank Mutual's common stock was $6.23 per share at December 31, 2017, compared to $6.27 at December 31, 2016.  This decline was principally due to an increase in the number of shares outstanding during the year.  

Bank Mutual's non-performing loans were $5.0 million or 0.26% of loans receivable as of December 31, 2017, compared to $8.2 million or 0.42% of loans receivable as of December 31, 2016.  Non-performing assets, which includes non-performing loans, were $5.7 million or 0.22% of total assets and $11.2 million or 0.42% of total assets as of these same dates, respectively.   Non-performing assets are classified as "substandard" in accordance with Bank Mutual's internal risk rating policy.  In addition to non-performing assets, at December 31, 2017, management was closely monitoring $47.6 million in additional loans that were classified as either "special mention" or "substandard" in accordance with Bank Mutual's internal risk rating policy.  This amount compared to $68.6 million at December 31, 2016.  As of December 31, 2017, most of Bank Mutual's additional classified loans were secured by commercial real estate, multi-family real estate, land, and certain commercial business assets.  Management does not believe any of these loans were impaired as of December 31, 2017. 

Bank Mutual's allowance for loan losses was $20.4 million or 1.05% of total loans at December 31, 2017, compared to $19.9 million or 1.03% of total loans at December 31, 2016.  As a percent of non-performing loans, Bank Mutual's allowance for loan losses was 406.0% at December 31, 2017, compared to 242.5% at December 31, 2016.  The increase in this percentage in 2017 was due primarily to the decrease in non-performing loans, as previously mentioned.  Management believes the allowance for loan losses at December 31, 2017, was adequate to cover probable and estimable losses in Bank Mutual's loan portfolio as of that date.  However, future increases to the allowance may be necessary and results of operations could be adversely affected if future conditions differ from the assumptions used by management to determine the allowance for loan losses as of the end of the period. 

Bank Mutual Corporation's stock is quoted on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker BKMU.  As of December 31, 2017,

View Comments and Join the Discussion!
 
Don't Miss Any Updates!
News Directly in Your Inbox
Subscribe to:
Benzinga Premarket Activity
Get pre-market outlook, mid-day update and after-market roundup emails in your inbox.
Market in 5 Minutes
Everything you need to know about the market - quick & easy.
Fintech Focus
A daily collection of all things fintech, interesting developments and market updates.
Thank You

Thank you for subscribing! If you have any questions feel free to call us at 1-877-440-ZING or email us at vipaccounts@benzinga.com