Citizens Trust Bank celebrates its 100-year legacy. We could not be prouder of experiencing and celebrating this 100-year journey with you, our customers and our community. The legacy of Citizens Trust Bank was built on the essence of vision, courage and honor. In 1919, ‘The Fervent Five’, five African-American businessmen, pooled their intellect, capital and genuine love for community, to offer their neighbors access to resources that would help them realize the American Dream. They formed a community bank in Atlanta, headed by Heman E. Perry where they sought to emphasize the importance of fiscal responsibility, thriftiness, home ownership and equal access and equality in financial services for all.
Since inception, this mission has remained steadfast and continues to be the bedrock of the Bank’s commitment and long-term impact. Citizens Trust Bank is one of the country’s oldest and most firmly established community banks, yet the team is adaptable and nimble to ensure that the Bank stays relevant in a rapidly changing environment and continues to meet our customers’ needs and expectations.
The story of Citizens Trust Bank is extraordinary. It has been a beacon of purpose, impact and resiliency. It survived the devastation of the Great Depression, World War II, and became a vital institution for the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. It also survived the Great Recession and now the pandemic. Every part of the Bank’s story and history has made it stronger and more resilient, thus its long-term sustainability.
Although the fascinating and vital part of a legacy is what is left behind, perhaps the most dynamic part of our legacy is the road we pave forward.
Mission and Purpose in a Crisis
This time last year, our nation began navigating unchartered territory as we dealt with COVID-19, a global pandemic. Shortly thereafter, we were faced with the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd that generated a much needed national conversation on racial and economic inequalities. The challenges painfully reminded us that we must continue to fight for equality and financial access, the principles on which we were founded 100 years ago. It reinforced our commitment to social justice, economic equality and remaining a catalyst for providing solutions.
These national events impacted every aspect of our existence, affecting our teams, their families, our customers and their businesses. It required prayer and communication to assist our team and customers in finding healthy responses and solutions to these deeply rooted challenges. In direct response to the pandemic, our first priority was the safety and well-being of our customers and our team. It required us to swiftly react and be flexible while shifting our operations and fundamental way of doing business with a small window of time to respond. It challenged us to be innovative and transformative in how we engaged and served our customers. We rose to the challenge and are proud of how we supported all of our stakeholders. It is moments like these that our mission resonated stronger than ever, showcasing our unique value as a trusted, knowledgeable, caring and pivotal part of the community we serve. For our customers, we kept all our financial centers open from the onset to ensure that we were available and accessible when they needed us. We granted accommodations such as payment deferrals to aid our businesses in preserving liquidity to continue operations and save jobs.
We enhanced the digitization of our platforms to allow customers to open accounts and fund loans remotely through our e-signature options. We partnered with small businesses, supporting them in comprehending the eligibility requirements for the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and providing much needed funding that was, otherwise, difficult to obtain.
For our team, we quickly moved to a remote work environment. However, in support of our customer facing team members, we deployed personal protective equipment (PPE) for their protection and safety. In a spirit of care and appreciation, we provided lunch every Friday to show our gratitude for their commitment and dedication. For all team members, we provided paid leave for those who needed to care for family members or themselves due to the contraction of the virus. We also provided bonuses to demonstrate our understanding of their commitment and personal sacrifices to serve our customers.
For our community, we launched CTB Cares where we partnered with our customers to support the most vulnerable members of our communities. We matched dollar for dollar contributions from our customers and partners to provide meals to curtail food insecurities worsened by the pandemic.
Our 2020 Accomplishments
Though 2020 will go down in history as one of our most challenging years, we never lost focus of our vision and mission. We dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to supporting all of our stakeholders and had great successes in our Company, Citizens Bancshares Corporation.
Citizens Bancshares Corporation, the holding company for the single subsidiary Citizens Trust Bank, is proud to share the following highlights for 2020
- 32% increase in Net Income over 2019, which included a $5 million grant from Morgan Stanley mitigated by a $1.7 million loan loss provision.
- A $154 million or 37% increase in total assets year over year driven by growth in business, consumer and corporate relationships.
- The growth in assets was impacted by a 7% increase in gross loans and a 41% growth in deposits.
- We generated over $30 million in PPP loans, supporting small businesses, and also lent in excess of $46 million in other loans while successfully managing our credit risk as reflected by a delinquency ratio of 1.56% and a non-performing asset ratio of 0.69% as of December 31, 2020.
- Deposits grew substantially from $361 million to $510 million due to a significant increase in new customers and new corporate partners. We are excited about the new customers who recognized the value proposition of a relationship with us. Further, we were pleased to partner with many large corporations who are aligned with and supportive of our mission to address the economic wealth disparities in our communities.
- We executed the implementation of a new core system to enhance our customer experience and continue to evolve our digital platform.
- The Bank remains strong and well capitalized with a Tier I capital ratio of 17% as of December 31, 2020.
Small Business Administration:
Paycheck Protection Program
In a year of both significant challenges and opportunities, one of our greatest and most rewarding accomplishments was supporting small businesses through the bank’s participation in the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP provided financial assistance to many small businesses affected by COVID-19. Customers across every facet of our portfolio were impacted by government mandates intended to assure the safety of Americans. Schools were closed while students from kindergarten to universities were engaged in virtual learning. Places of religious worship were closed and forced to limit their congregation’s attendance.
Unemployment rates elevated and some businesses in the most heavily impacted industries such as hotels and restaurants closed their doors with no indication of whether they could reopen or even survive. We engaged each business to fully understand their needs. Our team committed and dedicated hours of time and resources to ensure that each eligible business gained access to PPP to sustain not only their business operations but the livelihood of their community.
This reiterated our promise to be more than just in the community but to be invested in it as well. Further, it solidified and reinforced, to our customers, the value proposition of having a banking relationship with a trusted partner.
The Impact Forward
Our commitment to you is to continue to champion our founders’ vision—to provide access to financial services that meet the needs of all communities, particularly communities of color. The vision has not changed but how we execute it continues to evolve. During 2021 and beyond, our number one priority is to diligently pursue innovation and cultivate partnerships that will enhance our digital footprint and transform our Company for generations to come. 100 years strong, we are Citizens Trust Bank and our strategic objective is to be the facilitator of a financial ecosystem that will impact businesses and communities across the nation.
We thank you our shareholders for your continued support and we applaud and thank this team for their commitment and sacrifice during a very challenging year.