There will be an annual shareholders' meeting on Monday, April 18, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at the Loudermilk Conference Center, 40 Courtland Street, NE Atlanta, Georgia.
To Our Stockholders
Through the focused and diligent efforts of our team, 2014 was another successful year in our continuing journey of delivering value to our shareholders. At the center of this success is our commitment to enhancing the lives of our customers, our community and our associates. Maintaining this priority has created results of which we are very proud and has yielded enhanced value to all our stakeholders.
We are pleased to report that the Company’s operations, competitive posture and foundation for growth are all stronger today than a year ago. In 2014, we continued to make great strides in implementing our strategic initiatives, including improving the financial solutions that we offer our customers. We saw meaningful growth in key components of our balance sheet and continued growth in earnings through improvement in asset quality and prudent expense management. These strategic victories are highly celebrated as they were accomplished with the continued headwinds of the low interest rate environment and the pressure it has on our net interest margin.
We remain committed to the execution of our strategy, continuing to drive value to our shareholders through Company performance. Our efforts are producing positive returns.
Net income and net income available to common shareholders continue showing positive trends with growth of approximately 34% and 41% to $1.8 million and $1.3 million, respectively, over prior year.
These results were driven by the:
››Continued improvement in the overall risk profile of the Company- Non-performing assets and loans charged-off declined by 42% and 9%, respectively, which allowed for a notable reduction year over year in the provision for credit losses.
››Continued focus on operational efficiencies and execution of asset quality initiatives, resulting in an approximate 5% decline in non-interest expense or 4%, excluding OREO related expenses, when compared to prior year. We also experienced over a 3% growth in our loan portfolio for the first time, post-recession, as we worked through de-risking our balance sheet and improving the quality of our portfolio.
Further, we continue to maintain a strong capital position, with our Tier I capital ratio at 19%, which allows us the flexibility and strength to expand and pursue opportunities.
FOCUSING ON OUR PRIORITIES
In 2015, we will maintain our focus on five key priorities that drive our mission, values and success:
››Deepened Customer Relationships
We recognize that our strong connection and partnership with our customers are the primary drivers to a successful company. Our commitment to our customers is to provide solutions for today with tomorrow in mind. We will continue our strategy of innovation and growth to ensure that we are an active partner in their journey to financial well-being.
We are striving to be a one-stop experience in meeting our customers’ needs. We continue to evolve our delivery and communication channels. We have expanded our website, www.ctbconnect.com, with enhanced financial and management tools to provide assistance and guidance in managing our customers’ everyday financial goals. We also encourage and support our customers’ desires to fulfill the American Dream of home ownership.
Our website makes it easy and convenient to realize that dream with a few simple clicks on our newly piloted mortgage page. Lastly, we will launch the anticipated suite of mobile banking solutions for banking anytime or anyplace. Our end goal is to allow an enhanced customer relationship by providing multiple financial solutions.
››Optimization of the Balance Sheet
Optimizing the mix of our balance sheet is key to sustained and enhanced profitability. We will continue to focus on utilizing the liquidity on our balance sheet to fund higher-earning consumer and business loans. The shift will be driven by investments in human capital that will drive revenue expansion along with market and product expansion to mitigate concentration and business risks.
›› Efficient Company Operations
We will continuously strive to maintain an expense discipline that will not compromise the delivery of service to our customers. We will challenge ourselves to utilize technology to continue to drive operational efficiencies while providing more options and a better experience for our customers. We do remain mindful that revenue is also a key driver in the improvement of the Company’s efficiency. We will use a measured approach in seeking the ultimate balance to enhance overall performance.
››Balance Sheet Risk Profile
We will maintain our focus on mitigating the risk on our balance sheet while generating growth opportunities in quality assets. We will not significantly depart from our current lending strategy but will add diversification through product and expanded territories within our market footprint.
››Utilization of Capital
The strength of the Company’s capital position provides flexibility to pursue strategic opportunities.
We will continue our focus on identifying and seeking these opportunities as a prudent means of deploying our capital for the greatest return to our shareholders.
It is our expectation that as we continue executing on these priorities, we anticipate continued success for our Company as we move toward the future.
BUILDING THE FUTURE
We understand that when our shareholders and our customers partner with us, they trust us to help build a future for their families. Trust is the cornerstone of every relationship.
That’s why at Citizens Trust Bank, relationships, trust and financial well-being for all has been our guiding principle for over 90 years. Our commitment to you is this: We will act responsibly with the trust that you have placed in us.
We take seriously your desire to provide a secure future for your children and generations to come. We promise to keep innovating financial solutions for today with tomorrow in mind, because building futures is our business. Though our Company will continue to evolve in an ever-changing world to meet our customers’ needs, our values will remain the same.
We thank our associates for their hard work, diligence and customer focus that make our Company successful. We thank our Board of Directors for their commitment, guidance and support in our consistent pursuit of enhancing shareholder value and thank you, our shareholders, for your investment and continued support.
Lastly, we take a moment to celebrate the life and legacy of our Chairman Emeritus, Herman J. Russell, Sr. Our Company and the communities have lost an iconic business visionary and valued supporter. His efforts helped build the foundation and values on which this Company is built. We dedicate its many successes, past and future, to his invaluable contributions.
Cynthia N. Day
President and CEO
Ray M. Robinson
Chairman of the Board