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Columbia Financial, Inc. Announces Financial Results for the Quarter Ended March 31, 2019

 

Fair Lawn, New Jersey (April 25, 2019):  Columbia Financial, Inc. (the “Company”) (NASDAQ: CLBK), the mid-tier holding company for Columbia Bank (the "Bank"), reported net income of $14.9 million, or $0.13 per basic and diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, as compared to net income of $11.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  No basic and diluted per share amounts were reported by the Company for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 as the Company did not become a public company until April 2018.  The March 31, 2019 quarterly earnings reflect higher net interest income and fees, lower loan loss provision as a result of improvement in credit metrics, and a decrease in income tax expense. 

Mr. Thomas J. Kemly, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented:  "We delivered strong operating results, despite continuing margin pressure in a challenging interest rate environment.  We have been successful in building upon our loan and deposit bases consistent with our strategy, and we intend to continue to innovate our product offerings to maintain these relationships as well as establish new ones."

 

Results of Operations for the Quarters Ended March 31, 2019 and March 31, 2018 

Net income of $14.9 million was recorded for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, an increase of $3.1 million, or 26.6%, compared to $11.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  The increase in net income was primarily attributable to a $3.3 million increase in net interest income, a $1.6 million decrease in provision for loan losses and a $1.5 million increase in total non-interest income, partially offset by a $3.5 million increase in total non-interest expense.

Net interest income was $42.4 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, an increase of $3.3 million, or 8.5%, from $39.1 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  The increase in net interest income was attributable to an $11.1 million increase in interest income, which was partially offset by a $7.8 million increase in interest expense.  The increase in interest income for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 was largely due to increases in both the average balances and yields on loans and securities. 

The Company's net interest margin for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 decreased 10 basis points to 2.70%, when compared to 2.80% for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  The weighted average yield on interest-earning assets increased 29 basis points to 4.00% for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 as compared to 3.71% for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  The average cost of interest-bearing liabilities increased 60 basis points to 1.69% for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 as compared to 1.09% for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  Increases in yields and costs for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 reflects the increase in market interest rates that occurred throughout 2018.

The average yield on loans for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 increased 29 basis points to 4.25%, as compared to 3.96% for the quarter ended March 31, 2018, and the yield on securities for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 increased 19 basis points to 2.93%, as compared to 2.74% for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  Increases in yields for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 reflects the increase in market interest rates that occurred throughout 2018.  The average yield on other interest-earning assets for the quarter ended March 31, 2019 increased 386 basis points to 6.62%, as compared to 2.76% for the quarter ended March 31, 2018. This was mainly a result of the 2019 average balance including mostly higher yielding Federal Home Loan Bank stock, while the 2018 average balance included higher cash deposits related to the subscriptions for the minority stock offering earning a lower rate of interest. 

Total interest expense was $20.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, an increase of $7.8 million, or 61.1%, from $12.7 million.  The increase in interest expense was primarily attributable to a $311.8 million increase in the average balance of certificates of deposit combined with a 61 basis point increase in the cost of deposits.  The increase in interest on deposits was driven by higher market rates and a shift in the mix from core deposits to higher costing certificates of deposit.  The increase in interest on borrowings was attributable to an increase in the average balance of Federal Home Loan Bank advances combined with a 64 basis point increase in the cost of these borrowings.

The provision for loan losses was $436,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, a decrease of $1.6 million, or 78.2%, from $2.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  The decrease was primarily driven by more favorable trends in qualitative factors considered in the quarterly review of the allowance for loan losses, coupled with nominal growth in our loan portfolio.  Net charge offs decreased to $7,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, as compared to $226,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.

Non-interest income was $6.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, an increase of $1.5 million, or 32.9%, from $4.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2018. The increase was attributable to: income from loan fees related to swap income increasing $347,000, or 73.4%, title insurance fee income increasing $267,000, or 34.5%, due to a higher overall volume of loan closings; income from bank-owned life insurance increasing $256,000, or 24.1%, due to the purchase of an additional $30 million of insurance in the third quarter of 2018; and other non-interest income increasing $291,000, or 24.8%, due to an increase in miscellaneous income.

Non-interest expense was $29.6 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, an increase of $3.5 million, or 13.6%, from $26.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  The increase was driven primarily by increases of $1.5 million, or 8.5%, in compensation and employee benefits, $541,000, or 63.9%, in advertising expense, $465,000, or 59.5%, in professional fees and $900,000, or 58.1%, in other non-interest expense.  The higher compensation and employee benefits expense was the result of the costs associated with a newly created employee stock ownership plan, new hires, and other performance-based compensation.   The increase in advertising expense was related to costs associated with the opening of our new branch in Newark, New Jersey and marketing of our competitive loan and deposit products.  The increase in professional fees was the result of higher legal and accounting fees commensurate with being a public company.  A new pension accounting standard, effective January 1, 2019, requires that other components of net periodic benefit costs be reported separately from the service cost component in the statements of income as a component of non-interest expense and is reflected in other non-interest expense.  The increase in other non-interest expense was mainly due to a decrease of $368,000 in the credit associated with these pension benefit costs, coupled with an increase of $395,000 in costs for amortization of software related to investments in new technology.

Income tax expense was $3.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, a decrease of $298,000, or 7.8%, from $3.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.  The Company's effective tax rate was 19.03% and 24.41% for the quarters ended March 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.  The decrease in the effective tax rate for the three months ended March 31, 2019 was primarily driven by maximizing the tax benefits related to a subsidiary of the Bank, along with other previously implemented tax strategies. 

 

Balance Sheet Summary 

Total assets increased $125.3 million, or 1.9%, to $6.8 billion at March 31, 2019 from $6.7 billion at December 31, 2018.  The increase in total assets was primarily attributable to increases in debt securities available for sale of $57.3 million, debt securities held to maturity of $25.4 million, and loans receivable, net of $31.7 million. 

Cash and due from banks increased $23.0 million, or 54.6%, to $65.0 million at March 31, 2019 from $42.1 million at December 31, 2018, as a portion of cash flows from a prepayment on a commercial loan at the end of the quarter was not yet deployed into higher yielding assets. 

Debt securities available for sale increased $57.3 million, or 5.5%, to $1.1 billion at March 31, 2019 from $1.0 billion at December 31, 2018.  The increase was mainly attributable to purchases of $65.4 million in mortgage-backed securities and corporate bonds, partially offset by maturities of $797,000 in municipal securities, and repayments on mortgage-backed securities.  Debt securities held to maturity increased $25.4 million, or 9.7%, to $287.5 million at March 31, 2019 from $262.1 million at December 31, 2018.  The increase was mainly attributable to purchases of $28.4 million in mortgage-backed securities and corporate bonds, partially offset by repayments on mortgage-backed securities. 

Loans receivable, net, increased $31.7 million, or 0.6%, to $4.9 billion at March 31, 2019 from $4.9 billion at December 31, 2018.   The increase was mainly attributable to increases in construction and commercial business loans of $46.0 million and $5.6 million, respectively, partially offset by decreases in  multifamily and commercial real estate loans and home equity loans and advances of $9.7 million and $10.3 million, respectively.  Residential one-to-four family mortgage loans remained flat due to lower originations and loan sales.  Overall loans increased nominally during the quarter, as the level of repayments on loans increased from previous quarters and competition for new loan originations remained strong. 

Office properties and equipment increased $6.2 million, or 12.0%, to $58.3 million at March 31, 2019 from $52.1 million at December 31, 2018.  The increase is primarily attributable to the purchase of a branch facility previously leased by the Bank, and increases in building improvements related to various banking office and corporate headquarter renovations.

Total liabilities increased $102.9 million, or 1.8%, to $5.8 billion at March 31, 2019 from $5.7 billion at December 31, 2018.  The increase is primarily attributable to an increase in total deposits of $192.8 million, or 4.4%, partially offset by a decrease in borrowings of $90.5 million, or 7.6%.  The increase in total deposits is primarily attributable to higher certificates of deposit and interest-bearing transaction account balances. 

Total stockholders’ equity increased $22.4 million, or 2.3%, to $994.5 million at March 31, 2019 from $972.1 million at December 31, 2018.  The net increase was primarily attributable to net income of $14.9 million, coupled with improved fair market values on debt securities within our available for sale portfolio.

 


Asset Quality

The Company's total non-performing loans at March 31, 2019 totaled $6.8 million, or 0.14% of total gross loans, as compared to $2.8 million, or 0.06% of total gross loans, at December 31, 2018.  The increase of $4.0 million in non-performing loans was mainly attributable to increases of $1.9 million in one-to-four family real estate loans, $1.7 million in construction loans and $438,000 in commercial business loans.  The current period increase in one-to-four family loans was mainly attributable to the addition of a $1.4 million real estate loan.  The $1.7 million construction loan and two non-performing commercial business loans totaling $660,000 are related to one borrower.  These three loans were placed into a non-accrual status as of March 31, 2019 as there were concerns regarding their collectability, despite the fact that these loans were not delinquent.  The Company had no real estate owned at March 31, 2019 compared to one property owned with a carrying value of $92,000, at December 31, 2018.   Non-performing assets as a percentage of total assets totaled 0.10% at March 31, 2019 as compared to 0.04% at December 31, 2018.

The Company's allowance for loan losses was $62.8 million, or 1.26% of total loans at March 31, 2019, compared to $62.3 million, or 1.26% of total loans, at December 31, 2018.


 

About Columbia Financial, Inc. 

The consolidated financial results include the accounts of Columbia Financial, Inc., its wholly-owned subsidiary Columbia Bank (the "Bank") and the Bank's wholly-owned subsidiaries.  Columbia Financial, Inc. is a Delaware corporation organized as Columbia Bank's mid-tier stock holding company.  Columbia Financial, Inc. is a majority-owned subsidiary of Columbia Bank MHC.   Columbia Bank is a federally chartered savings bank headquartered in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.  The Bank offers traditional financial services to consumers and businesses in our market areas.  We currently operate 50 full-services banking offices.

 


Forward Looking Statements 

Certain statements herein constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Exchange Act and are intended to be covered by the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Such statements may be identified by words such as “believes,” “will,” “would,” “expects,” “projects,” “may,” “could,” “developments,” “strategic,” “launching,” “opportunities,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “plans,” “targets” and similar expressions.  These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of the Company’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties.  Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements as a result of numerous factors.  Factors that could cause such differences to exist include, but are not limited to, adverse conditions in the capital and debt markets and the impact of such conditions on the Company’s business activities; changes in interest rates; competitive pressures from other financial institutions; the effects of general economic conditions on a national basis or in the local markets in which the Company operates, including changes that adversely affect borrowers’ ability to service and repay the Company’s loans; changes in the value of securities in the Company’s portfolio; changes in loan default and charge-off rates; fluctuations in real estate values; the adequacy of loan loss reserves; decreases in deposit levels necessitating increased borrowing to fund loans and securities; legislative changes and changes in government regulation; changes in accounting standards and practices; the risk that goodwill and intangibles recorded in the Company’s consolidated financial statements will become impaired; demand for loans in the Company’s market area; the Company’s ability to attract and maintain deposits; risks related to the implementation of acquisitions, dispositions, and restructurings; the risk that the Company may not be successful in the implementation of its business strategy or its deployment of the proceeds raised in its minority public offering; and changes in assumptions used in making such forward-looking statements which are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to, those set forth in Item 1A of  the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, as supplemented by its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), which are available at the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov.  Should one or more of these risks materialize or should underlying beliefs or assumptions prove incorrect, Columbia Financial, Inc.’s actual results could differ materially from those discussed.  Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release.  The Company disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect changes in underlying assumptions or factors, new information, future events or other changes, except as required by law.

 

Explanation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Reported amounts are presented in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP").  This press release also contains certain supplemental non-GAAP information that the Company’s management uses in its analysis of the Company’s financial results.  Specifically, the Company provides measures based on what it believes are its operating earnings on a consistent basis, and excludes material non-routine operating items which affect the GAAP reporting of results of operations.  The Company’s management believes that providing this information to analysts and investors allows them to better understand and evaluate the Company’s core financial results for the periods in question. 

The Company also provides measurements and ratios based on tangible stockholders' equity.  These measures are utilized by regulators and market analysts to evaluate a company’s financial condition and, therefore, the Company’s management believes that such information is useful to investors. 

For a reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP financial measures included in this press release, see "Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below.

 

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