Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. reports increased earnings

Published 5:45 pm Saturday, January 29, 2022

Benchmark Bankshares, Inc. (BMBN), the Kenbridge-based holding company for Benchmark Community Bank, announced unaudited results for the quarter and year ending December 31, 2021. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2021 amounted to $2,684,505, or $0.59 per share, compared to $2,777,307, or $0.61 per share, posted for the fourth quarter of 2020  Net income for the year amounted to $11,524,043, or $2.55 per share, a 12.8% increase over net income of $10,218,781, or $2.28 per share, earned in 2020. 

Notable Items:

• Net interest income increased by 8.4%, from $30.7 million to $33.3 million when comparing 2021 to 2020.

• Noninterest income for the year increased by 16.0%, from $7.5 million to $8.7 million, driven by an increase in debit card usage and fees from strong mortgage demand.

• The bank made 645 loans, totaling $27.9 million, under the Paycheck Protection Program during 2021. The bank earned $2.1 million in fees from these loans, compared to $1.5 million in fees earned during 2020.

• A total of $450,000 was expensed to the bank’s employee stock ownership plan during the fourth quarter of 2021 to allow for future stock repurchases. The bank expensed $105,000 to the plan during 2020.

• A total of $330,384 was provisioned to the loan loss reserve during the year, compared to a provision of $561,920 last year. The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of loans was 0.91% as of December 31, 2021, unchanged from last December.

• The bank did not hold any foreclosed property as of December 31, 2021, down from $1.1 million one year ago, while non-accrual loans increased from $535 thousand to $610 thousand.

• Interest expense on borrowings, used to support the company’s stock repurchase program, amounted to $188,412 for the year, compared to $259,753 recognized in 2020. Total borrowings were reduced from $4.9 million to $3.8 million as of December 31, 2021.

• A total of 33,172 common shares were repurchased during 2021 at an average price of $19.48 per share. A total of 79,515 shares were repurchased at an average price of $16.05 during 2020. The Company had 4,518,422 shares outstanding as of December 31, 2021.

As of December 31, 2021, total assets were $1.04 billion, an increase of $169.8 million, or 19.5%, over the December 31, 2020 balance of $870.8 million. Over the past twelve months, total loans held for investment have increased by $28.6 million, or 4.6%, while total deposits have increased by $161.9 million, or 20.7%. 

Shareholders’ equity, net of unrealized gains on investment securities, was $83.3 million as of December 31, 2021, an increase of $8.0 million, or 10.6%, over the December 31, 2020 balance of $75.3 million. All capital ratios exceeded regulatory guidelines for a well-capitalized financial institution under the Basel III regulatory requirements as of December 31, 2021.

Key Financial Ratios:

Comparing 2021 to 2020:

• Return on average equity increased from 14.00% to 14.12%.

• Return on average assets decreased from 1.31% to 1.18%.

• Earnings per share increased from $2.28 to $2.55.

• Yield on loans decreased from 5.37% to 5.33%.

• The bank’s cost of funds decreased from 0.50% to 0.30%.

• Net interest margin decreased from 4.25% to 3.63%.

• Book value of the company increased from $16.92 to $18.69 per share.

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.

Benchmark Community Bank, founded in 1971, is headquartered in Kenbridge. It is the company’s sole subsidiary which operates seventeen banking offices throughout central Southside Virginia and northern North Carolina. Additional information is available at the company’s website, www.BCBonline.com.