Mercantile Bank's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Mercantile Bank (MBWM)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

January 17, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Michael H. Price - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chairman of Mercantile Bank of Michigan and Chief Executive Officer of Mercantile Bank of Michigan

Charles E. Christmas - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer, Senior Vice President, Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer of Mercantile Bank of Michigan, Senior Vice President of Mercantile Bank of Michigan and Treasurer of Mercantile Bank of Michigan

Karen Keller -

Robert B. Kaminski - Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President, Secretary of Mercantile Bank of West Michigan, Chief Operating Officer Mercantile Bank of Michigan, Executive Vice President, President of Mercantile Bank of Michigan, Secretary and Director

Analysts

John Barber - Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc., Research Division

Stephen Geyen - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Daniel E. Cardenas - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Terence J. McEvoy - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Jonathan Evans

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the fourth quarter and full year 2011 earnings results conference call. [Operator Instructions] Please also note that today's event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference call over to Ms. Karen Keller. Ms. Keller, please go ahead.

Karen Keller

Thank you Jamie. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today for Mercantile Bank Corp.'s conference call and webcast to discuss the company's financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2011. I'm Karen Keller with Lambert, Edwards & Associates, Mercantile's Investor Relations firm. And joining me are members of their management team, including Michael Price, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; Robert Kaminski, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; and Chuck Christmas, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

We will begin the call with management's prepared remarks and then open the call up to questions. However, before we begin today's call, it is my responsibility to inform you that this call may involve certain forward-looking statements, such as projections of revenue, earnings and capital structure, as well as statements on the plans and objectives of the company's business. The company's actual results could differ materially from the forward-looking statements made today due to the important factors described in the company's latest Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made during the call. If anyone does not already have a copy of the press release issued by Mercantile today, you can access it at the company's website at www.mercbank.com.

At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to Mercantile's CEO, Mike Price. Mike?

Michael H. Price

Thank you, Karen, and good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. Earlier today, we released our fourth quarter and 2011 full year operating results, which completed a strong year comprised of 4 consecutive quarters of positive earnings. 2011 was a turning point for Mercantile marked by several key milestones that I'm pleased to share with you today. Net profit has increased substantially, nonperforming assets have decreased significantly and our bank has continued to grow stronger each quarter.

Over the past several years, we have communicated a number of strategic initiatives that have been our focus as we have managed through the effects of a Great Recession and returned the company to sustained profitability. Mercantile's officers and employees have work relentlessly to reduce nonperforming assets, protect and improve our net interest margin and reduce controllable costs, all while maintaining our well-capitalized position. We recognize there's still work to do, but we are very pleased with our progress and Mercantile's strengthened position as a result of our achievement. It is because of this effort, our improved operating performance and our belief that Mercantile should remain profitable that we were able to reverse the net deferred tax asset valuation allowance resulting in a federal income tax benefit of $27.4 million during the fourth quarter. We entered 2012 well-positioned to continue our success as a major competitor in our markets. With the support of our customers and hard work of our associates, we have greatly reduced our problem assets, returned to solid profitability and continued to build a well-capitalized balance sheet. Our primary focus is return to building our franchise and helping our communities prosper.

On the call today, our Chief Financial Officer, Chuck Christmas, will provide some of the details of our financial results, followed by Chief Operating Officer, Bob Kaminski and his comments regarding asset quality and other operational successes for the quarter.

At this time, I'll turn it over to Chuck.

Charles E. Christmas

Thanks, Mike. Good morning, everybody. This morning we announced net income of $30 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 compared to a net loss of $5.3 million during the fourth quarter of last year. Net income totaled $36.1 million for the full year 2011 compared to a net loss of $14.6 million for all of 2010. Our 2011 fourth quarter and full year operating results were positively affected by the reversal of the previously established net deferred tax asset valuation allowance resulting in a federal income tax benefit, as Mike mentioned, of $27.4 million during the fourth quarter. Our operating results on a pretax basis, which I'll refer to as our core operating results, also showed substantial improvement during 2011. Our income before federal income tax during the fourth quarter of 2011 was $3 million compared to a loss before federal income tax expense of $3 million during the fourth quarter of 2010.

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