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Benchmark sees earnings increase

Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based holding company for Benchmark Community Bank, announced unaudited earnings of $2,796,595 for the third quarter of 2020, representing a 17.1% increase over the $2,389,251 earned during the third quarter of 2019. Earnings per share increased from 52 cents to 63 cents, an increase of 20.7% for the quarter.

Net income through the first nine months of the year amounted to $7,441,474, a 7.9% increase from the $6,895,784 earned through the first nine months of 2019, while earnings per share increased by 16.9%, climbing from $1.42 to $1.66.

Notable Items:

• Net interest income grew from $21.5 million to $22.6 million, an increase of 5.4%, when comparing the first nine months of 2020 to the same period last year.

• Interest earned on the bank’s overnight funds declined from $1.1 million to $129,000 due to a decline in the federal funds interest rate.

• Non-interest income increased from $5.1 million to $5.6 million as the bank’s residential mortgage demand and financial services business remained strong.

• The bank made approximately $46 million in loans under the Paycheck Protection Program and has started the loan forgiveness process with the SBA. Year-to-date, the bank has recognized fee income of $847,918 from these loans.

• The bank currently holds $1.6 million in foreclosed property, compared to $2.4 million one year ago. Management has expensed $102,000 year-to-date, compared to $327,000 last year, to adjust the market value of properties the bank has owned for several years. In addition, non-accrual loans have declined from $1.3 million to $657,000.

• Net charge-offs for the first nine months of the year amounted to $158,000, down from $274,000 charged off in the first nine months of 2019.

• A total of $471,596 was provisioned to the loan loss reserve during the first nine months of 2020, compared to a provision of $544,706 during the same period last year. The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of net loans was 0.87% at September 30, compared to 0.99% last September.

• Interest expense on borrowings, used to support the company’s stock repurchase program, amounted to $204,927 year-to-date compared to a cost of $101,098 last year.

• A total of 63,567 common shares have been repurchased year-to-date at an average price of $16.15 per share. A total of 436,854 shares were repurchased at an average price of $19.89 during the first nine months of 2019. Total shares outstanding as of September 30 amounted to 4,458,525.

As of September 30, total assets were $807 million, an increase of $106.6 million, or 15.2%, over the September 30, 2019 balance of $700.4 million. Over the past 12 months loans held for investment have increased by $94.2 million, or 17.1%, while total deposits have increased by $101.5 million, or 16.4%. Shareholders’ equity, net of unrealized gains on investment securities, was $72.9 million at September 30, an increase of $4.5 million, or 6.5%, over the September 30, 2019 balance of $68.4 million. All capital ratios exceeded regulatory guidelines for a well-capitalized financial institution under the Basel III regulatory requirements at September 30.

The common stock of Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. trades on the OTC Pink marketplace under the symbol BMBN. Any stockbroker can assist with purchases of the company’s stock, as well as with sales of holdings.