Business First Bancshares Announces Q2 Financial Results

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BATON ROUGE – Business First Bancshares Inc., parent company of b1BANK, announced its unaudited results for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, including net income of $2.1 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, decreases of $4.8 million and $0.39, respectively, from the quarter ended June 30, 2019. On a non-GAAP basis, core net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, which excludes certain income and expenses, was $7.4 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, an increase of $748,000 and decrease of $0.07, respectively, from the quarter ended June 30, 2019. Both net income and diluted earnings per share were adversely impacted for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, by additional provision for loan losses associated with the sustained pressure on the general economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and acquisition-related expenses. 

“The second quarter was simultaneously the most challenging, and in many ways, the most rewarding period we’ve experienced as a company,” said Jude Melville, president and CEO. “We stood with our clients during an economic crisis, we consummated a transformative merger during a time of market crisis, and we took care of our people in the midst of a health crisis. I could not be prouder of our team. We’ll continue to do our part as our region’s leading community bank as we recover together in the coming months.

On July 23, 2020, Business First’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend based upon financial performance for the second quarter in the amount of $0.10 per share, same as the prior quarter, to the common shareholders of record as of August 15, 2020. The dividend will be paid on August 31, 2020, or as soon thereafter as practicable. 

Quarterly Highlights 

  • Successful Acquisition and Conversion of Pedestal Bancshares Inc. Business First acquired Pedestal Bancshares Inc. (Pedestal), with approximately $1.4 billion in assets, $935.8 million in gross loans, and $1.2 billion in deposits, on May 1, 2020. The conversion of data processing was successfully completed during the weekend of May 23, 2020. 
  • COVID-19 Related Matters. Business First proactively assisted, and continues to assist, customers by deferring principal and/or interest payments on approximately 2,600 loans with an outstanding balance of $938.5 million as of June 30, 2020. Approximately $223.0 million of the deferrals were interest-only as of June 30, 2020. Additionally, Business First has funded approximately 2,800 loans with an aggregate outstanding balance of $395.4 million under the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), of which $86.1 million were acquired in the Pedestal acquisition. Business First also recorded $5.4 million of provision expense, of which a significant portion was associated with the continued impact the COVID-19 pandemic caused on the general economy. 
  • Stable Credit Quality. Ratios of nonperforming loans compared to loans held for investment and nonperforming assets compared to total assets decreased from 0.57% and 0.59%, respectively, at March 31, 2020, to 0.39% and 0.49% at June 30, 2020. The decreases were attributable to the increased size of the loan portfolio, including SBA PPP loans, and total assets associated with the acquisition of Pedestal on May 1, 2020. 
  • Net Interest Margin and Spread. Net interest margin and spread were negatively impacted due to the full effect of the federal funds rate cuts of 150 basis points during the month of March and lower-yielding SBA PPP loans, offset by a reduction in cost of funds, increased loan discount, deposit premium, and Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) premium accretion, and a higher-yielding loan portfolio due to the Pedestal acquisition, compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2020. Net interest margin and net interest spread were 3.89% and 3.59%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, compared to 3.93% and 3.55% for the quarter ended March 31, 2020. Excluding loan discount accretion, net interest margin and spread were 3.71% and 3.41%, respectively, for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, compared to 3.88% and 3.49% for the quarter ended March 31, 2020. 
  • Loan Growth. Total loans held for investment at June 30, 2020, were $3.0 billion, an increase of $1.2 billion compared to March 31, 2020. Loan growth was significantly impacted by the acquisition of Pedestal and origination of SBA PPP loans. Net organic loan growth, excluding the Pedestal acquisition and SBA PPP originated loans, was 3.22% annualized for the quarter ended June 30, 2020. 
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