Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBSH) announced earnings of $.72 per share for the three months ended December 31, 2012 compared to $.66 per share in the fourth quarter of 2011, or an increase of 9.1%. Net income for the fourth quarter amounted to $66.8 million, compared to $61.5 million in the same quarter last year and $66.0 million in the prior quarter. For the quarter, the return on average assets totaled 1.25%, the return on average equity was 11.6% and the efficiency ratio was 59.6%.
For the year ended December 31, 2012, earnings per share totaled $2.90 compared to $2.69 in 2011, or an increase of 7.8%. Net income amounted to $269.3 million in 2012 compared to $256.3 million for the same period last year, or an increase of $13.0 million. In 2012, the return on average assets was 1.30%, the return on average equity was 12.0% and the efficiency ratio was 59.3%.
In making this announcement, David W. Kemper, Chairman and CEO, said, “We were pleased to report record earnings in 2012 of over $269 million, which represents an increase of 5%. Current quarter results compared to the previous quarter reflected growth in net interest income, low credit costs and solid growth in both trust and bankcard fees. Strong growth in deposits coupled with continued new loan volumes and higher interest on inflation-protected securities enabled our net interest income to increase this quarter. Non-interest income increased $2.4 million this quarter compared to the previous quarter, and was up 10% compared to last year as a result of growth in commercial card fees of 25% and double digit growth in credit card and trust fee income. Expense growth this quarter was mainly centered in salaries and technology costs where we continued to make investments in our fee businesses. Average loans grew $174.5 million, or 2%, this quarter over the previous quarter from growth in both consumer and commercial lending activities while average deposits increased $720.7 million, or 4%. Record earnings over the last two years have strengthened our capital and liquidity and allowed us to pay a special dividend in December of $1.50 per share in advance of the higher tax rates now in effect.”