CHESAPEAKE, Va., Sept. 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Monarch Financial Holdings, Inc., parent of Monarch Bank, (Nasdaq:MNRK) announced it has been named one of the top performing small capitalization banks in the nation by investment banking firm Sandler O'Neill. Sandler O'Neill & Partners is a New York-based investment banking and advisory firm that specializes in financial institutions. In its "Class of 2013 Bank and Thrift Sm-All Stars" report, Sandler O'Neill recognized the 31 best performing small-capitalization institutions among a field of 450 publicly traded banks and thrifts in the U.S. with market capitalization less than $2.5 billion. This was the third time Monarch has been recognized with this award since 2007, and places Monarch in the top 7% of banks nationwide in terms of performance. "Inclusion among the top banks in the country validates our growth strategy and strategic plan. We were one of only two banks in Virginia recognized this year, and the only bank serving the Hampton Roads and Outer Banks markets to make the cut," stated Brad E. Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer. "Our commitment to sound banking practices, aided by a strong year for mortgage banking, resulted in record profits in 2012 that led to this recognition." Inclusion as a Sm-All Star was based on the company's absolute performance in each of eight financial variables. To assess fundamental momentum in the evaluation, growth trends in (1) Earnings per share, (2) Loans and (3) Deposits were evaluated. As a measure of profitability, (4) Return on average equity was included. In terms of asset quality, (5) Nonperforming assets to loans plus OREO ratio and the (6) Net charge-off ratio were analyzed. Finally, (7) Loan loss reserves to nonperforming assets ratio, and the (8) Tier 1 risk based capital ratio were evaluated as an indication of capital levels. Overall those banks recognized delivered better bottom line results that are markedly better than the industry as a whole.