National Penn Bancshares, Inc. reported earnings per diluted share of $0.15 in the fourth quarter of 2013, inclusive of a restructuring charge. This restructuring charge includes the consolidation of nine branch locations, the consolidation of administrative facilities including relocation to the new corporate headquarters, and reductions in staff.
The restructuring charge related to previously announced expense reduction initiatives, including the rationalization of the branch franchise. Adjusted earnings were $0.17 per diluted share, or $25.1 million, resulting in an adjusted return on average assets1 of 1.19%. For 2013, reported earnings were $0.37 per diluted share, while adjusted earnings1 were $98.1 million or $0.67 per diluted share, compared to $98.5 million or $0.66 per diluted share for 2012. The adjusted return on average assets1 for 2013 was 1.18%.
“The consistency of our financial performance with such a strong return on assets is a tribute to the efforts of our entire team,” said Scott V. Fainor, president and CEO of National Penn. “Our ability to maintain our net interest margin in a prolonged low interest rate environment, and our continued focus on asset quality and expense control distinguishes National Penn.”
The net interest margin was 3.51% for 2013, compared to 3.50% for 2012. In the fourth quarter, the net interest margin was 3.51%, compared to 3.49% in the prior quarter. The restructuring of longer term debt in the first quarter of 2013 and continued focus on deposit pricing resulted in the cost of interest bearing liabilities declining to 0.59% for 2013 from 1.00% for 2012. This reduction in interest expense, coupled with commercial loan growth of 3.5% for the year, offset the impact of lower asset yields due to the current rate environment.
Asset quality remained strong during the year with classified loans declining $27 million, or 12%, in the fourth quarter, and $70 million, or 27%, during 2013. Non-performing loans were less than 1% of total loans at December 31, 2013 and net loan charge-offs declined by approximately $4 million from the prior year. These trends supported a provision for loan losses of $5.3 million for 2013, compared to $8.0 million for 2012. The allowance for loan losses was 183% of non-performing loans and 1.81% of total loans at December 31, 2013.
Operating expenses1, excluding non-recurring items, increased by less than 1% year-over-year and declined by 3% during the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the prior quarter. Operating expenses have been managed to a stable level over the last three years. Other income grew modestly as wealth management revenue increases were offset by declining mortgage banking income as refinance activity slowed during the year.
At Dec. 31, 2013, the Company’s total risk based capital and tangible common equity1 to tangible assets ratios were 16.63% and 10.31%, respectively. This strong capital base resulted in the Board of Directors authorizing the repurchase of up to 5% of the Company’s outstanding shares during 2014 and the declaration of a first quarter 2014 cash dividend of ten cents per common share, payable on Feb. 14, 2014 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 1, 2014.
Scott V. Fainor stated, “I am optimistic that the loan growth we realized in the quarter provides momentum for 2014. The strength of National Penn’s balance sheet and the expense reduction initiatives provide us with a solid base from which to grow.”