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Community Bank System, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter And Full Year 2022 Results

SYRACUSE, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Community Bank System, Inc. (the “Company”) (NYSE: CBU) reported fourth quarter 2022 net income of $52.5 million, or $0.97 per fully-diluted share. This compares to $43.6 million of net income, or $0.80 per fully-diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2021. The $0.17, or 21.3%, increase in earnings per share was primarily attributable to an increase in net interest income and a decrease in fully-diluted average shares outstanding, offset, in part, by higher operating expenses, lower noninterest revenues and increases in the provision for credit losses and income taxes. The increase in net interest income was due primarily to an increase in the yield on earning assets and a significant increase in average loan balances, offset, in part, by higher funding costs. The decrease in noninterest revenues was due to lower financial services noninterest revenues that were reflective of the impact that lower financial market valuations had on the Company’s wealth management and employee benefit services businesses, which were partially offset by higher banking noninterest revenues.

Operating earnings per fully-diluted share, a non-GAAP measure, which excludes acquisition expenses, acquisition-related provision for credit losses, acquisition-related contingent consideration adjustments, unrealized gain (loss) on equity securities and litigation accrual, net of tax, was $0.96 for the fourth quarter of 2022, as compared to $0.81 for the fourth quarter of 2021. Comparatively, fully-diluted GAAP and non-GAAP operating earnings per share were both $0.90 for the linked third quarter of 2022. The improvements in GAAP and non-GAAP operating earnings per share on a linked quarter basis were driven by an increase in net interest income, a decrease in the provision for credit losses and lower operating expenses, partially offset by a decrease in noninterest revenues and higher income taxes.

Adjusted pre-tax, pre-provision net revenue per share, a non-GAAP measure, which excludes income taxes, the provision for credit losses, acquisition-related provision for credit losses, acquisition expenses, acquisition-related contingent consideration adjustments, unrealized gain (loss) on equity securities and litigation accrual from net income, was up $0.20, or 18.3%, from $1.09 in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $1.29 in the fourth quarter of 2022. Comparatively, the Company recorded adjusted pre-tax, pre-provision net revenue per share of $1.25 in the third quarter of 2022.

Full year 2022 diluted earnings per share was $3.46, a decrease of $0.02, or 0.6%, from $3.48 in 2021. Full year 2022 diluted operating earnings per share (non-GAAP) of $3.58 were $0.09, or 2.6%, higher than the $3.49 of operating earnings per share generated in 2021.

2022 Performance Highlights:

  • GAAP EPS

    • $0.97 per share for the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to $0.80 per share for the fourth quarter of 2021
    • $3.46 per share for full year 2022, down $0.02, or 0.6%, from $3.48 per share for full year 2021
  • Operating Diluted EPS (non-GAAP)

    • $0.96 per share for the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to $0.81 for the fourth quarter of 2021
    • $3.58 per share for full year 2022, up $0.09, or 2.6%, from $3.49 per share for full year 2021
  • Adjusted Pre-Tax, Pre-Provision Net Revenue Per Share (non-GAAP)

    • $1.29 per share for the fourth quarter of 2022, up $0.20, or 18.3%, from $1.09 per share for the fourth quarter of 2021
    • $4.78 per share for full year 2022, up $0.50, or 11.7%, from $4.28 per share for full year 2021
  • Return on Assets

    • 1.33% for the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to 1.12% for the fourth quarter of 2021
    • 1.21% for full year 2022, compared to 1.28% for full year 2021
  • Return on Equity

    • 14.12% for the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to 8.30% for the fourth quarter of 2021
    • 10.85% for full year 2022, compared to 9.19% for full year 2021
  • Return on Tangible Equity (non-GAAP)

    • 33.73% for the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to 13.71% for the fourth quarter of 2021
    • 21.18% for full year 2022, compared to 15.13% for full year 2021
  • Total Deposit Funding Costs

    • 0.18% for the fourth quarter of 2022, up from 0.08% for the fourth quarter of 2021
    • 0.11% for full year 2022, up from 0.09% for full year 2021
  • Loan Net Charge-Offs

    • 0.09% annualized for the fourth quarter of 2022 and fourth quarter of 2021
    • 0.04% for full year 2022 and full year 2021
  • Loan Growth

    • $265.8 million, or 3.1%, during the fourth quarter
    • $1.44 billion, or 19.5%, for full year 2022
    • $1.08 billion, or 14.9%, for full year 2022, excluding loans acquired during the year and Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans
  • Noninterest Revenues

    • $258.7 million for the full year of 2022, up from $246.2 million for the full year of 2021
    • 38.1% of total revenues for full year 2022, compared to 39.7% for full year 2021
  • Regulatory Capital

    • 8.79% Tier 1 leverage ratio, up one basis point in the quarter and down 30 basis points in the year

“Community Bank System, Inc. posted strong fourth quarter 2022 results with GAAP earnings per share of $0.97 that were up $0.17, or 21.3%, over the prior year’s fourth quarter GAAP earnings per share. Similarly, fourth quarter 2022 operating earnings per share (non-GAAP) of $0.96 were up $0.15, or 18.5%, over the prior year’s fourth quarter. In addition, adjusted pre-tax, pre-provision net revenue per share (non-GAAP) of $1.29, which was a new quarterly record for the Company, was up $0.20, or 18.3%, over the prior year and $0.04, or 3.2%, over the linked third quarter results,” said Mark E. Tryniski, President and CEO. “Total revenues were meaningfully higher than the prior year’s fourth quarter due to the continued improvements in net interest income driven by strong loan growth in the fourth quarter and throughout 2022. The combination of strong organic loan growth, the Elmira Savings Bank (“Elmira”) acquisition in the second quarter, relatively stable deposit costs and higher market interest rates contributing to higher yields being earned on new loan originations and existing variable rate loans drove a $16.5 million, or 17.2%, increase in net interest income over the prior year’s fourth quarter. The Company’s fully tax-equivalent net interest margin was up 28 basis points from the prior year’s fourth quarter, but down one basis point as compared to the linked third quarter fully tax-equivalent net interest margin of 3.03% due to higher funding costs. During the fourth quarter, the Company’s average total deposits decreased $154.4 million, or 1.2%, consistent with industry expectations, while average overnight borrowings increased from $189.0 million in the linked third quarter to $504.1 million in the fourth quarter. We anticipate receiving approximately $600 million in investment securities principal cash flows during 2023, which are expected to be used to pay down overnight borrowings or redeployed into new loans.”

Mr. Tryniski continued, “Although asset quality remains strong, the Company recorded $2.8 million in the provision for credit losses in the fourth quarter due to strong loan growth and continued weakening of the economic forecast. Comparatively, the Company recorded $5.1 million in the provision for credit losses in the linked third quarter and $2.2 million in the provision for credit losses in the fourth quarter of 2021. The Company’s net charge-offs were $2.1 million in the fourth quarter, or nine basis points annualized. Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans of 0.38% remained consistent with the third quarter, but was 24 basis points lower than the prior year’s fourth quarter ratio of 0.62%. The Company remains encouraged with the near term outlook for our business in spite of a less favorable outlook for certain components of the national economy. Regulatory capital levels remain strong and the commercial loan pipeline remains healthy. In addition, there continues to be an ample amount of new business opportunities for our financial services businesses.”

The Company recorded total revenues of $175.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, an increase of $16.2 million, or 10.2%, over the prior year’s fourth quarter. The increase in total revenues between the periods was driven by a $16.5 million, or 17.2%, increase in net interest income and a $2.9 million, or 18.0%, increase in deposit service and other banking fees, offset, in part, by a $1.3 million, or 7.5%, decrease in wealth management and insurance services revenues, a $1.4 million, or 4.5%, decrease in employee benefit services revenues and a $0.5 million decline in mortgage banking revenues. Comparatively, total revenues were up $0.3 million, or 0.2%, from third quarter 2022 results, due to a $1.8 million, or 1.7%, increase in net interest income, a $1.1 million, or 4.1%, increase in employee benefit services revenues and a $0.9 million, or 4.7%, increase in deposit service and other banking fees, partially offset by a $3.1 million, or 16.7%, decrease in wealth management and insurance services revenues and a $0.4 million decline in mortgage banking revenues.

The Company recorded net interest income of $112.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. This compares to $95.7 million of net interest income recorded in the fourth quarter of 2021. Between comparable periods, the combination of growth in interest-earning assets and the expansion of the net interest margin drove a $16.5 million, or 17.2%, increase in net interest income. The Company’s average interest-earning assets increased $905.5 million, or 6.5%, while the tax equivalent net interest margin increased 28 basis points from 2.74% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 3.02% in the fourth quarter of 2022. The tax equivalent yield on average interest-earning assets in the fourth quarter of 2022 of 3.34% was 51 basis points higher than the tax equivalent yield on average interest-earning assets of 2.83% in the fourth quarter of 2021. Comparatively, the Company recorded net interest income of $110.4 million during the third quarter of 2022, $1.8 million less than fourth quarter 2022 results, while the tax equivalent net interest margin was 3.03%, or one basis point higher.

Interest income and fees on loans increased $19.3 million, or 25.0%, from $76.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $96.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. Average total loans outstanding increased $1.41 billion, or 19.3%, between the comparable quarterly periods, while the tax equivalent loan yield increased 20 basis points from 4.19% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 4.39% in the fourth quarter of 2022, in spite of a $3.5 million decrease in PPP-related interest income from $3.6 million in the prior year’s fourth quarter to $0.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. The increase in the tax equivalent loan yields between the periods was due to market-related increases in interest rates on new loans, a significant increase in variable and adjustable rate loan yields driven by rising market interest rates, including the prime rate, and a high level of new loan originations. Comparatively, the Company recorded $88.4 million of interest income and fees on loans during the third quarter of 2022, including $0.5 million of PPP-related interest income, while the average tax equivalent yield on loans was 4.22%.

Interest income on investments, including cash equivalents, increased $6.0 million, or 27.5%, between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the fourth quarter of 2022. The increase in interest income on investments was driven primarily by a change in market interest rates and the proportion of investments and interest-earning cash equivalents. Since the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, the Company invested over $1.3 billion of cash equivalents that were earning a low yield into higher yield investment securities, which resulted in the tax-equivalent yield on investments, including cash equivalents, rising from 1.34% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 1.85% in the fourth quarter of 2022. The average book value of investment securities increased $1.29 billion, or 26.5%, between the comparable periods, while the average balance of cash equivalents decreased $1.79 billion. The average tax equivalent yield on the investment securities portfolio, excluding cash equivalents, increased seven basis points from 1.78% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 1.85% in the fourth quarter of 2022, while the average yield on cash equivalents increased 268 basis points from 0.15% to 2.83%. Although the tax equivalent average yield on the investment securities portfolio increased seven basis points between the periods, the tax equivalent average yield on investments, including cash equivalents, increased 51 basis points due to the large increase in the average outstanding balance of investment securities with a significantly higher yield than cash equivalents had in the prior year. Interest income on investments, including cash equivalents, increased $0.4 million, from $27.4 million in the third quarter to $27.8 million in the fourth quarter due primarily to an increase in the tax equivalent average yield on investments between the periods.

Interest expense increased from $3.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $11.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, an $8.8 million increase between the periods. The increase in interest expense was driven by a $650.5 million, or 7.1%, increase in average interest-bearing liabilities between the periods, and a 34 basis point increase in the cost of interest-bearing liabilities, from 0.13% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 0.47% in the fourth quarter of 2022. This included a $5.6 million increase in interest expense on borrowings due to both a $564.6 million increase in average borrowings and an increase in the average rate on borrowings from 0.32% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 2.63% in the fourth quarter of 2022. Average interest-bearing deposit balances also increased $85.9 million, or 1.0%, between the periods, and the average interest-bearing deposit cost of funds increased 14 basis points, from 0.12% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 0.26% in the fourth quarter of 2022, driving a $3.2 million increase in interest expense on deposits. The Company’s average cost of funds was up 24 basis points, from 0.09% in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 0.33% in the fourth quarter of 2022, while the average cost of total deposits remained low at 0.18% for the quarter.

During the fourth quarter of 2022, the Company recorded a provision for credit losses of $2.8 million driven by a $265.8 million increase in loans outstanding combined with a weaker economic forecast. Comparatively, the Company recorded a provision for credit losses of $2.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2021 when economic forecasts were generally stable and non-PPP loans outstanding increased $165.3 million during that quarter. During the third quarter of 2022, the Company recorded a provision for credit losses of $5.1 million, due in part to a $410.9 million increase in non-PPP loans outstanding, combined with a weaker economic forecast during that quarter. Exclusive of $3.9 million in acquisition-related provision for credit losses due to the Elmira acquisition, the Company recorded a provision for credit losses of $10.8 million for full year 2022 as compared to an $8.8 million net benefit in the provision for credit losses during the full year of 2021. The full year 2022 provision for credit losses was reflective of a $1.52 billion increase in non-PPP loans outstanding, while the full year 2021 net benefit in the provision for credit losses was reflective of the release of reserves in the first three quarters of 2021 as the economic outlook and the loan portfolio’s asset quality profile both steadily improved during that period.

Employee benefit services revenues for the fourth quarter of 2022 were $29.0 million, down $1.4 million, or 4.5%, in comparison to the fourth quarter of 2021. The decline in revenues was driven by decreases in employee benefit trust and custodial fees, reflecting the impact from market-related headwinds. Wealth management services revenues for the fourth quarter of 2022 were $7.4 million, down from $8.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021. The $1.1 million, or 13.0%, decrease in wealth management services revenues was primarily driven by more challenging investment market conditions. The Company recorded insurance services revenues of $8.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, which represents a $0.2 million, or 1.9%, decrease versus the prior year’s fourth quarter. Banking noninterest revenues increased $2.4 million, or 14.5%, from $16.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $19.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. This was driven by a $2.9 million, or 18.0%, increase in deposit service and other banking fees that benefitted from the continued post-pandemic recovery of economic activity, as well as incremental revenues from the Elmira acquisition, offset, in part, by a $0.5 million decrease in mortgage banking revenues. Comparatively, the Company recorded $27.9 million of employee benefit services revenues, $7.5 million of wealth management services revenues and $11.3 million of insurance services revenues during the third quarter of 2022, which on a combined basis were $2.0 million higher than the financial services revenues generated in the fourth quarter of 2022. Third quarter 2022 banking noninterest revenues were $18.5 million, $0.5 million, or 2.5%, lower than fourth quarter 2022 banking noninterest revenues.

The Company recorded $105.9 million in total operating expenses in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to $100.9 million of total operating expenses in the prior year’s fourth quarter. The $4.9 million, or 4.9%, increase in operating expenses was attributable to a $3.4 million, or 31.7%, increase in other expenses, a $1.0 million, or 1.6%, increase in salaries and employee benefits, a $0.9 million, or 8.9%, increase in occupancy and equipment expenses and a $0.7 million, or 5.9%, increase in data processing and communications expenses, partially offset by a $1.1 million decrease in acquisition-related expenses. Other expenses were up due to the general post-pandemic increase in the level of business activities, including increases in business development and marketing expenses, legal and professional fees, insurance and travel-related expenses, along with incremental expenses associated with operating an expanded franchise subsequent to the Elmira acquisition. The increase in salaries and benefits expense was driven by increases in merit-related employee wages, acquisition-related additions to staffing and higher payroll taxes, partially offset by lower employee benefit-related expenses. The increase in occupancy and equipment expense was driven by inflationary pressures, partially offset by branch office consolidations between the periods. The increase in data processing and communications expenses was due to the Company’s continued investment in customer-facing and back office digital technologies between the comparable periods. In comparison, the Company recorded $108.2 million of total operating expenses in the third quarter of 2022. The $2.3 million, or 2.2%, decrease in total operating expenses between the third quarter of 2022 and the fourth quarter of 2022 was largely attributable to a $2.1 million, or 3.2%, decrease in salaries and employee benefits, a $0.5 million, or 3.8%, decrease in data processing and communications expenses and a $0.8 million decrease in acquisition-related expenses, partially offset by a $0.8 million, or 5.9%, increase in other expenses and a $0.3 million, or 3.0%, increase in occupancy and equipment expenses.

The effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2022 was 22.0% and 21.7% on a full-year basis, as compared to 23.0% and 21.4%, respectively, in the equivalent prior year periods. Excluding the impact of tax benefits related to stock-based compensation activity, the effective tax rate was 22.0% on a full-year basis, down from 22.3% for full year 2021.

The Company also provides supplemental reporting of its results on an “operating,” “adjusted” and “tangible” basis, from which it excludes the after-tax effect of amortization of core deposit and other intangible assets (and the related goodwill, core deposit intangible and other intangible asset balances, net of applicable deferred tax amounts), accretion on non-purchased credit deteriorated (“PCD”) loans, expenses associated with acquisitions, acquisition-related provision for credit losses, acquisition-related contingent consideration adjustments, litigation accrual expenses and unrealized gain (loss) on equity securities. In addition, the Company provides supplemental reporting for “adjusted pre-tax, pre-provision net revenues,” which subtracts the provision for credit losses, acquisition expenses, acquisition-related contingent consideration adjustments, litigation accrual expenses and unrealized gain (loss) on equity securities from income before income taxes. The amounts for such items are presented in the tables that accompany this release. Although these items are non-GAAP measures, the Company’s management believes this information helps investors and analysts measure underlying core performance and improves comparability to other organizations that have not engaged in acquisitions. Diluted adjusted net earnings per share were $1.00 in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to $0.85 in the fourth quarter of 2021 and $0.94 in the third quarter of 2022. Adjusted pre-tax, pre-provision net revenue per share was $1.29 in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to $1.09 in the fourth quarter of 2021 and $1.25 in the third quarter of 2022.

Financial Position

The Company’s total assets were $15.84 billion at December 31, 2022, representing a $283.0 million, or 1.8%, increase from one year prior and a $241.1 million, or 1.5%, increase from the end of the third quarter of 2022. The increase in the Company’s total assets during the prior twelve-month period was primarily driven by organic loan growth and the Elmira acquisition, partially offset by a decline in the pre-tax market value adjustment on the investment securities portfolio due to higher market interest rates. The book value of average interest-earning assets was up from $13.96 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021 to $14.87 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, representing a $905.5 million, or 6.5%, increase. This included a $1.41 billion, or 19.3%, increase in average loans outstanding and a $1.29 billion, or 26.5%, increase in the average book value of investment securities, partially offset by a $1.79 billion decrease in average cash equivalents. Average deposit balances increased $348.4 million, or 2.7%, between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the fourth quarter of 2022.

On a linked quarter basis, the book value of average interest-earning assets increased $254.6 million, or 1.7%, due primarily to organic loan growth, partially offset by a decline in the book value of investment securities. The average book value of investment securities decreased $117.1 million, or 1.9%, during the quarter, as cash flows were used to pay down overnight borrowings, while average cash equivalents increased $0.8 million, or 3.0%, between linked quarters. Average loan balances increased $370.9 million, or 4.5%, during the quarter reflecting continued strong organic growth. Average loan balances for business lending, consumer indirect, consumer mortgage and home equity loans increased during the fourth quarter, while the average balance of consumer direct loans decreased.

Contacts

Joseph E. Sutaris, EVP & Chief Financial Officer

Office: (315) 445-7396

Read full story here

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