Bank of Sierra parent co. reports improved 3Q earnings

Sierra Bancorp (Nasdaq: BSRR), parent of Bank of the Sierra, today announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter and the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2015. Sierra Bancorp recognized net income of $4.410 million for the third quarter of 2015, an improvement of $859,000, or 24%, relative to the third quarter of 2014. The increase in net income is the result of higher net interest income driven by a large increase in average interest-earning assets, and improvement in non-interest income, partially offset by higher overhead expense and a higher tax accrual. The company’s return on average equity increased to 9.32% in the third quarter of 2015 from 7.51% in the third quarter of 2014, and diluted earnings per share increased to $0.33 from $0.25. For the first nine months of 2015 the company recognized net income of $12.704 million, which represents an increase of 10% relative to the same period in 2014. The company’s financial performance metrics for the first nine months of 2015 include an annualized return on average equity of 9.02%, a return on average assets of 1.01%, and diluted earnings per share of $0.93.

Total assets were up $80 million, or 5%, during the first nine months of 2015 due to net growth of $83 million, or 9%, in gross loan balances that was partially offset by lower levels of cash and investments. Loan growth for the first nine months was favorably impacted by increased utilization on mortgage warehouse lines, the purchase of $28 million in residential mortgage loans in March, and organic growth in other non-agricultural real estate loans. Total nonperforming assets, including nonperforming loans and foreclosed assets, were reduced by $7 million, or 28%, during the first nine months of 2015. Despite runoff in the third quarter, total deposits were still up $62 million, or 5%, for the year-to-date period due primarily to a $61 million organic increase in core non-maturity deposits. Non-deposit borrowings were increased by $22 million in the first nine months of 2015, in order to meet the funding requirements created by strong loan demand.

“The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly.” – Cecil B. DeMille

“As one of the most famous filmmakers of all time, Cecil B. DeMille offered simple yet profound advice in the quote above,” commented Kevin McPhaill, president and CEO. “In order to achieve success we recognize that we also must persistently press toward our goals, more specifically our primary objective of value enhancement for shareholders, customers, employees and our communities,” observed McPhaill. “For now, we feel that translates into loan and deposit growth, profitability improvement, and leveraging our capital,” he added. “Our year-to-date results indicate that our efforts are beginning to bear fruit, perhaps with the exception of better leveraging our capital which we feel will come with time. As we enter the fourth quarter our heightened business development efforts should help us achieve continued quality loan and deposit growth, which we hope will favorably impact our performance metrics and stock price, as well,” McPhaill concluded.

Sierra Bancorp is the holding company for Bank of the Sierra (, which is in its 38th year of operations and at $1.7 billion in total assets is the largest independent bank headquartered in the South San Joaquin Valley. The company has over 400 employees and conducts business through 28 full-service branches, a loan production office, an online branch, a real estate industries center, an agricultural credit center, and an SBA center.

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