First Bancshares, Inc., holding company for First National Bank of Bellevue and sole shareholder of First Bellevue Properties, reported a fourth quarter dividend of $0.32 per share. The board approved and distributed an additional $.05 payment for a total of thirty-seven ($.37) cents for the fourth quarter payout.
Net earnings were very close to the prior year due to additional benefit from the PPP loan program generating additional income for the bank. Much of this is reflected in the 7% increase in net interest income this year.
In addition, credit quality continued to improve and minimal loan loss provision was expensed in 2021 compared to 2020. Noninterest expense was 17% higher due to full year expenses of the new Perkins office that was opened in the third quarter of 2020. The company also expensed the write down of an OREO asset being held in the real estate holding subsidiary. This property is under contract to sell and the net value was appropriately charged down.
Total bank assets grew over 7% from the prior year end while loan totals dropped by over $20MM due to the forgiveness of the PPP loans that the bank made to help struggling businesses due to the COVID impact. With so much liquidity in the economy, deposit balances continued to grow reflecting over $15mm in increased balances.
First National Bank, a community bank with eight banking offices located in Bellevue, Catawba Island, Clyde, Fremont, Port Clinton, Put-In-Bay, Sandusky, and Perkins, is the primary operating company of First Bancshares.
For more information, visit www.fnblifetime.com or call 419-483-7340.