There will be an annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the Loudermilk Conference Center, 40 Courtland Street, NE Atlanta, Georgia.
Message to Our Stockholders
2012 marked a year of meaningful improvement in the financial performance and strategic operational direction of Citizens Bancshares Corporation. The most notable success was the strides made in improving the Company’s overall risk profile.
We began 2012 on a strategic mission to improve our asset quality metrics and reduce the risk on the Company’s balance sheet. The primary objective was to remove assets whose holding cost and devaluations continued to have a negative impact on earnings. As a result, the Company’s non-performing assets declined by 18% and the provision for loan losses were reduced by $1.5 million year over year.
Removing the non-performing assets from the Company’s balance sheet also had an impact on the Company’s net outstanding loans which declined by approximately $7.9 million to $187 million when compared to the prior year. However, our actions not only strengthened but improved the performance of the balance sheet by shifting a significant portion of the non-performing assets into earning assets with only a $1.6 million decline in total assets from the previous year. We are extremely pleased with the execution of our plan.
We are optimistic that the improving trend in our asset quality metrics will continue and that the Company’s performance and financial outlook is stronger. In light of the strategic and definitive actions taken to strengthen our balance sheet and improve our risk profile, Citizens Bancshares Corporation earned net income of $769,000 and net income available to common shareholders of $532,000 which exceeded net income and net income available to common shareholders of $269,000 and $32,000, respectively, reported in 2011. Though earnings are substantially improved over the prior year, the Company’s performance was tempered by $3.4 million in Other Real Estate Owned (OREO) holding and disposition cost. Nonetheless, our position has improved and we do not anticipate the same level of cost going forward.
Further, we continue to implement strategies to maximize operational efficiencies and continue to realize operational benefits from our ongoing investment and efforts. Expenses remain tightly managed and as a result our core operational expenses were down again this year by $483,000, exclusive of OREO related cost and write-downs.
Lastly, Citizens Bancshares Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary Citizens Trust Bank continue to be well capitalized and poised to move forward with a solid Tier I common equity ratio of 11%.
THE VISION TO MOVE FORWARD
Looking forward, we continue to build a more effective and efficient Company. Our associates are focused and committed to executing our strategic priorities to drive continuing improvement in the Company’s performance. Our strategies will encompass ways that will continue to optimize the performance and mix of our balance sheet. We will continue to improve our asset quality metrics and focus on shifting the mix of our balance sheet which will improve our earnings outlook. A priority in this strategy is extending our lending footprint and expanding our current relationships. Augmenting these efforts will be the acquisition of sales and business development team members. We are optimistic about our execution but remain aware of the impact of changes in a recovering economy.
While the lower interest rate environment remains a challenge for all banks to enhance net interest income, we will focus on opportunities to enhance non-interest income and mitigate slippage from the effects of regulations. We continue to analyze our product line-up and delivery of services to ensure that our product offerings are premier financial solutions for our customers and will maximize the Company’s revenue opportunities. Cost management will remain a top priority as our team challenges ourselves to continue to leverage technology and utilize effective process management to deliver more efficient services across all business lines. We are proud of our efforts in this area which have resulted in approximately $1.8 million or 11% in cost improvements, excluding OREO related cost, over the last two years.
Transforming our business model through a changing environment is key in positioning the Company for long-term success. Expanding relationships with our customers and their life circles are the center of our priorities. We will continue to invest in our technology infrastructure that will provide our associates the tools to strengthen those relationships. We will bring mobile banking and remote deposit capture into our suite of products and further our efforts in launching the Citizens Trust Bank A Better Choice
banking solution to fit the needs of a growing demographic of un-banked consumers. Our efforts to provide a total banking solution will also include a refocus on delivering home mortgage solutions for our customers to realize their dream of home ownership. We remain committed and will continue to seek ways to improve our service and to provide the financial solutions that will enhance the lives of our customers.
We applaud and appreciate the efforts of our associates for their spirit of excellence and commitment in executing our vision. We thank our board of directors for their strategic guidance and insight that continues to move us forward. Our collaborative efforts continue to build a valuable franchise of which we all can be proud of and supports our goal of enhancing shareholder value.
Thank you, our shareholders, for your continued investment and support.
Cynthia N. Day
President and CEO
Ray M. Robinson
Chairman of the Board