FITZGERALD, Ga., Jan. 26, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Colony Bankcorp, Inc. (Nasdaq:CBAN), today reported net income available to shareholders of $1,584,000, or $0.19 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to $1,310,000, or $0.16 per diluted share for the comparable 2014 period, while net income available to shareholders for calendar year 2015 was $5,998,000, or $0.71 per diluted share compared to $4,843,000, or $0.57 per share for the comparable 2014 period.  This increase of 23.85 percent in net income for the comparable twelve month period was primarily driven by a reduction in provision for loan losses, noninterest expense and preferred stock dividend payments.  "In addition to solid earnings for the year, we also had significant asset quality improvement.  Total non-performing assets were $23.25 million at December 31, 2015, which is a reduction of 19.10 percent from the prior year end.  Though modest, we also realized an increase in total loans, net of reserves to $749.68 million at December 31, 2015 compared to $736.93 a year ago," said Ed Loomis, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "The highlight during the quarter was approval by regulatory agencies to redeem another 5,146 shares of preferred stock at par.   Total redemption in 2015 was $9.979 million which reduces our preferred stock by 35.64 percent from a year ago.  On an annual basis this reduces our dividend payment by $898 thousand.  We intend to further reduce our preferred stock during 2016 which will be immediately accretive to earnings."

Capital

Colony continues to maintain a strong regulatory capital position to be categorized as "well-capitalized" by regulatory benchmarks.  At December 31, 2015, the Company's tier one leverage ratio, tier one and total risk-based capital ratios were 10.69 percent, 15.51 percent and 16.59 percent, respectively, compared to 11.18 percent, 16.78 percent and 17.95 percent, respectively, at December 31, 2014 and to 10.57 percent, 15.81 percent and 17.06 percent, respectively, at December 31, 2013.  Effective January 1, 2015, new regulatory regulations (commonly referred to as Basel III capital regulation) required new risk-weighting of certain assets and an additional capital ratio to be calculated.  The common equity tier one capital ratio at December 31, 2015 of 10.29 percent exceeded the minimum requirement of 4.50 percent.   The Company's capital ratios were all in excess of regulatory minimums required to be classified as "well-capitalized".

Net Interest Margin 

During the fourth quarter of 2015, the Company reported net interest income of $9.76 million and a net interest margin of 3.63 percent compared to $9.50 million and 3.59 percent, respectively, for fourth quarter 2014, while net interest income for twelve months ended December 31, 2015 was $37.71 million and a net interest margin of 3.52 percent compared to $37.96 million and 3.60 percent, respectively, for the comparable 2014 period.  The low interest rate environment continues to be challenging for the banking industry.  In December, Federal Reserve initiated their first interest rate hike since 2006 and we anticipate further rate increases by the Federal Reserve in 2016.  This action should positively impact our margin going forward.

Asset Quality

The Company continues to monitor our substandard and non-performing assets and focus on problem asset resolution.  Substandard assets that include non-performing assets totaled $41.24 million at December 31, 2015 compared to $43.29 million and $53.45 million, respectively, at December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013.  Substandard assets adjusted for SBA guarantees to tier one capital plus loan loss reserve ratio was 31.36%, 32.39% and 39.22%, respectively, at December 31, 2015, December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013.  The current quarter was slightly impacted due to the reduction in capital associated with the $5.146 million preferred stock redemption. Non-performing assets decreased from the previous quarter end to $23.25 million or 3.03 percent of total loans and other real estate owned as of December 31, 2015.  This compares to $28.74 million or 3.80 percent and $39.61 million or 5.17 percent, respectively, as of December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013.       

Other real estate ("OREO") totaled $8.84 million at December 31, 2015 compared to $10.40 million and $15.50 million, respectively, at December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013.  Activity during the fourth quarter resulted in a decrease of $2.16 million, or 19.63 percent reduction from the previous quarter end.  Colony has established a target of twelve months to liquidate improved properties due to the high carrying cost of taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs associated with holding these properties on our books. 

In the fourth quarter of 2015 net charge-offs (recoveries) were ($77) thousand, or (0.01) percent of average loans as compared to net charge-offs of $986 thousand, or 0.13 percent of average loans in fourth quarter 2014, while year to date 2015 net charge-offs were $1.06 million, or 0.14 percent of average loans as compared to net charge-offs of $4.31 million, or 0.58 percent of average loans for the comparable 2014 period.  The loan loss reserve was $8.60 million or 1.13 percent of total loans on December 31, 2015 compared to $8.80 million or 1.18 percent and $11.81 million or 1.57 percent, respectively, at December 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013.  Loan loss reserve methodology resulted in three months ended December 31, 2015 provision for loan losses of $125 thousand compared to $0 for the comparable 2014 period, while year to date 2015 provision for loan losses was $866 thousand compared to $1.31 million for the comparable 2014 period.

Noninterest Income

Total noninterest income declined modestly in the comparable periods as noninterest income for twelve months ended December 31, 2015 was $9.05 million compared to $9.13 million in the comparable 2014 period, or a decrease of 0.88 percent.  Service charge income on deposits decreased by $300 thousand or 6.57 percent while mortgage fee income increased by $107 thousand or 25.48 percent and other fee income increased $158 thousand or 6.40 percent to partially offset the service charge decline.

Noninterest Expense

Total noninterest expense decreased in the comparable periods as noninterest expense for twelve months ended December 31, 2015 was $33.73 million compared to $34.98 million for the comparable 2014 period, or a decrease of 3.59 percent.  Improved asset quality is attributable for much of the reduction with a significant decrease in credit-related expenses.  Repossession and foreclosure expense decreased from $850 thousand to $639 thousand for the comparable periods and loss on sale of OREO properties decreased from $1.85 million to $1.04 million.  Salaries and employee benefit expenses remained relatively flat with an increase of 0.47 percent.  Occupancy expense was also relatively flat with a decrease of 1.82 percent.  The efficiency ratio improved to 71.92 percent for twelve months ended December 31, 2015 compared to 74.16 percent for the comparable 2014 period, or a decrease of 3.02 percent.   The company continues to explore opportunities to further improve its operating efficiency.

Colony Bankcorp, Inc. is a bank holding company headquartered in Fitzgerald, Georgia that consists of one operating subsidiary, Colony Bank.  Colony Bank conducts a general full service commercial, consumer and mortgage banking business through twenty-nine offices located in the central, southern and coastal Georgia cities of Albany, Ashburn, Broxton, Centerville, Chester, Columbus, Cordele, Douglas, Eastman, Fitzgerald, Leesburg, Moultrie, Pitts, Quitman, Rochelle, Savannah, Soperton, Sylvester, Thomaston, Tifton, Valdosta and Warner Robins, Georgia. 

Colony Bankcorp, Inc. Common Stock is quoted on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol "CBAN".

Certain statements contained in the preceding release that are not statements of historical fact constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "Act"), notwithstanding that such statements are not specifically identified.  In addition, certain statements may be contained in the Company's future filings with the SEC, in press releases, and in oral and written statements made by or with the approval of the Company that are not statements of historical fact and constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Act.  Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) projections of revenues, income or loss, earnings or loss per share, the payment or nonpayment of dividends, capital structure and other financial items; (ii) statement of plans and objectives of Colony Bankcorp, Inc. or its management or Board of Directors, including those relating to products or services; (iii) statements of future economic performance; and (iv) statements of assumptions underlying such statements.  Words such as "believes," "anticipates," "expects," "intends," "targeted" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements.

Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those in such statements.  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which such statements are made.  The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.   Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
COLONY BANKCORP, INC.
FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS (UNAUDITED)
DOLLARS IN THOUSANDS, EXCEPT PER SHARE DATA
               
  QUARTER ENDED   YEAR-TO-DATE
EARNINGS SUMMARY 12/31/15   12/31/14   12/31/15   12/31/14
Net Interest Income $ 9,761     $ 9,503     $ 37,707     $ 37,963  
Provision for Loan Losses   125       0       866       1,308  
Non-interest Income   2,242       2,407       9,045       9,125  
Non-interest Expense   8,784       9,289       33,725       34,980  
Income Taxes   989       643       3,788       3,268  
Net Income   2,105       1,978       8,373       7,532  
Preferred Stock Dividend   521       668       2,375       2,689  
Net Income Available to Common Shareholders   1,584       1,310       5,998       4,843  
               
  QUARTER ENDED   YEAR-TO-DATE
PER COMMON SHARE SUMMARY   12/31/15     12/31/14     12/31/15     12/31/14
Common Shares Outstanding   8,439,258       8,439,258       8,439,258       8,439,258  
Weighted Average Basic Shares   8,439,258       8,439,258       8,439,258       8,439,258  
Weighted Average Diluted Shares   8,486,672       8,439,258       8,458,461       8,439,258  
Earnings Per Basic Share (b) $ 0.19     $ 0.16     $ 0.71     $ 0.57  
Earnings Per Diluted Share (b) $ 0.19     $ 0.16     $ 0.71     $ 0.57  
Common Book Value Per Share $ 9.18     $ 8.42     $ 9.18     $ 8.42  
Tangible Common Book Value Per Share $ 9.16     $ 8.40     $ 9.16     $ 8.40  
               
  QUARTER ENDED   YEAR-TO-DATE
OPERATING RATIOS (1) 12/31/15   12/31/14   12/31/15   12/31/14
Net Interest Margin (a)   3.63 %     3.59 %     3.52 %     3.60 %
Return on Average Assets (b)   0.55 %     0.46 %     0.52 %     0.43 %
Return on Average Total Equity (b)   6.26 %     5.37 %     5.90 %     5.11 %
Efficiency (c)   72.81 %     78.01 %     71.92 %     74.16 %
               
(1)  Annualized
(a)  Computed using fully taxable-equivalent net income
(b)  Computed using net income available to shareholders
(c ) Computed by dividing non-interest expense by the sum of fully taxable-equivalent net interest income and non-interest income and excluding security gains/losses.
               
  QUARTER ENDED        
ENDING BALANCES   12/31/15      12/31/14        
Total Assets $ 1,174,149     $ 1,146,898          
Loans, Net of Reserves   749,675       736,930          
Allowance for Loan Losses   8,604       8,802          
Intangible Assets   116       152          
Deposits   1,011,554       979,303          
Common Shareholders' Equity   77,436       71,027          
Common Equity to Total Assets   6.60 %     6.19 %        
Total Equity   95,457       99,027          
Total Equity to Total Assets   8.13 %     8.63 %        
               
  QUARTER ENDED   YEAR-TO-DATE
AVERAGE BALANCES   12/31/15     12/31/14     12/31/15     12/31/14
Total Assets $ 1,150,797     $ 1,132,317     $ 1,146,984     $ 1,128,052  
Loans, Net of Reserves   756,549       736,797       748,367       730,643  
Deposits   981,299       960,043       976,352       959,059  
Common Shareholders' Equity   78,080       69,650       75,380       66,751  
Total Equity   101,135       97,650       101,710       94,751  
               
  QUARTER ENDED   YEAR-TO-DATE
ASSET QUALITY 12/31/15    12/31/14    12/31/15   12/31/14
Nonperforming Loans $ 14,415     $ 18,341     $ 14,415     $ 18,341  
Nonperforming Assets   23,254       28,743       23,254       28,743  
Substandard Assets   41,236       43,285       41,236       43,285  
Net Loan Chg-offs (Recoveries)     (77 )     986       1,064       4,312  
Reserve for Loan Loss to Total Loans   1.13 %     1.18 %     1.13 %     1.18 %
Reserve for Loan Loss to Non-performing Loans   59.69 %     47.99 %     59.69 %     47.99 %
Reserve for Loan Loss to Non-performing Assets   37.00 %     30.62 %     37.00 %     30.62 %
Net Loan Chg-offs (Recoveries) to Avg. Total Loans   (0.01 )%     0.13 %     0.14 %     0.58 %
Nonperforming Loans to Total Loans   1.90 %     2.46 %     1.90 %     2.46 %
Nonperforming Assets to Total Assets   1.98 %     2.51 %     1.98 %     2.51 %
Nonperforming Assets to Total Loans And Other Real Estate   3.03 %     3.80 %     3.03 %     3.80 %
Substandard Assets to Tier One Capital and Allowance for Loan Losses   31.36 %     32.39 %     31.36 %     32.39 %
                               

 
Quarterly Comparative Data (in thousands, except per share data)
 
    4Q2015      3Q2015      2Q2015      1Q2015      4Q2014
Assets $ 1,174,149     $ 1,127,320     $ 1,139,050     $ 1,156,711     $ 1,146,898  
Loans   749,675       755,447       751,210       744,866       736,930  
Deposits   1,011,554       958,034       968,634       985,856       979,304  
Common Shareholders' Equity   77,436       77,907       74,658       74,363       71,027  
Total Equity   95,457       101,074       102,658       102,363       99,027  
Net Income   2,105       2,200       2,185       1,883       1,978  
Net Income Available to Common Shareholders   1,584       1,606       1,555       1,253       1,310  
Net Income Per Share   0.19       0.19       0.18       0.15       0.16  
                   
                   
Key Performance Ratios   4Q2015     3Q2015     2Q2015     1Q2015     4Q2014
Return on Average Assets (1)   0.55 %     0.57 %     0.54 %     0.44 %     0.46 %
Return on Average Total Equity (1)   6.26 %     6.28 %     6.05 %     4.98 %     5.37 %
Common Equity to Total Assets   6.60 %     6.91 %     6.55 %     6.43 %     6.18 %
Total Equity to Total Assets   8.13 %     8.97 %     9.01 %     8.85 %     8.62 %
Net Interest Margin   3.63 %     3.58 %     3.44 %     3.43 %     3.59 %
 
(1) Computed using net income available to shareholders
 

Consolidated Balance Sheets Colony Bankcorp, Inc.
(in thousands)
           
  Dec. 31, 2015   Dec. 31, 2014   Dec. 31, 2013
  (unaudited)    (audited)    (audited)
ASSETS          
Cash and Cash Equivalents          
Cash and Due from Banks $ 22,257     $ 24,473     $ 25,692  
Federal Funds Sold     -        20,132       20,495  
    22,257       44,605       46,187  
Interest-Bearing Deposits   38,615       21,206       21,960  
Investment Securities          
Available for Sale, at Fair Value   296,149       274,594       263,258  
Held for Maturity, at Cost (Fair Value of $0, $30 and $37 as of Dec. 31, 2015, Dec. 31, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2013, Respectively)     -        30       37  
    296,149       274,624       263,295  
Federal Home Loan Bank Stock, at Cost     2,731         2,831         3,164  
Loans     758,636         746,094         751,218  
Allowance for Loan Losses     (8,604 )       (8,802 )       (11,806 )
Unearned Interest and Fees     (357 )       (362 )       (360 )
      749,675         736,930         739,052  
Premises and Equipment     26,454         24,960         24,877  
Other Real Estate     8,839         10,402         15,502  
Other Intangible Assets     116         152         188  
Other Assets   29,313       31,188       34,326  
Total Assets $ 1,174,149     $ 1,146,898     $ 1,148,551  
           
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY          
           
Deposits          
Noninterest-Bearing $ 133,886     $ 128,340     $ 115,261  
Interest-Bearing   877,668       850,963       872,269  
    1,011,554       979,303       987,530  
Borrowed Money          
Subordinated Debentures   24,229       24,229       24,229  
Other Borrowed Money   40,000       40,000       40,000  
    64,229       64,229       64,229  
           
Other Liabilities   2,909       4,339       6,838  
           
Stockholders' Equity          
Preferred Stock, Stated Value $1,000 a Share;          
Authorized 10,000,000 Shares, Issued 18,021 Shares as of Dec. 31, 2015 and 28,000 Shares as of Dec. 31, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2013, Respectively   18,021       28,000       28,000  
Common Stock, Par Value $1 a share; Authorized 20,000,000 Shares, Issued 8,439,258 Shares as of Dec. 31, 2015, Dec. 31, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2013, Respectively     8,439         8,439         8,439  
Paid in Capital     29,145         29,145         29,145  
Retained Earnings     44,286         38,288         33,445  
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss, Net of Tax     (4,434 )       (4,845 )       (9,075 )
      95,457         99,027         89,954  
Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity $ 1,174,149     $ 1,146,898     $ 1,148,551  
           

 
Consolidated Statements of Income Colony Bankcorp, Inc.
(in thousands except per share data)
             
  Quarter    Year-to-Date
  Three Months Ended   Twelve Months Ended
  12/31/15   12/31/14   12/31/15   12/31/14
   (unaudited)     (audited)   (unaudited)   (audited)
Interest Income              
Loans, Including Fees $ 10,153     $ 9,920     $ 39,716     $ 39,735  
Federal Funds Sold     -        9       15       32  
Deposits with Other Banks   22       10       80       42  
Investment Securities              
U. S. Government Agencies   1,127       1,164       4,235       4,738  
State, County and Municipal   30       25       108       100  
Dividends on Other Investments   31       30       122       115  
    11,363       11,158       44,276       44,762  
Interest Expense              
Deposits   1,209       1,244       4,857       5,113  
Borrowed Money   393       411       1,712       1,686  
    1,602       1,655       6,569       6,799  
Net Interest Income   9,761       9,503       37,707       37,963  
Provision for Loan Losses   125         -        866       1,308  
Net Interest Income After Provision for Loan Losses   9,636       9,503       36,841       36,655  
               
Noninterest Income              
Service Charges on Deposits   1,084       1,199       4,268       4,568  
Other Service Charges, Commissions and Fees     664         627         2,627         2,469  
Mortgage Fee Income     142         109         527         420  
Securities Gains (Losses)     (23 )       23         (11 )       24  
Other     375         449         1,634         1,644  
      2,242         2,407         9,045         9,125  
Noninterest Expense              
Salaries and Employee Benefits     4,320         4,359         17,590         17,508  
Occupancy and Equipment     953         994         3,989         4,063  
Other     3,511         3,936         12,146         13,409  
      8,784         9,289         33,725         34,980  
               
Income Before Income Taxes     3,094         2,621         12,161         10,800  
Income Taxes     989         643         3,788         3,268  
 Net Income     2,105         1,978         8,373         7,532  
               
Preferred Stock Dividends   521       668       2,375       2,689  
               
Net Income Available to Common Shareholders $ 1,584     $ 1,310     $ 5,998     $ 4,843  
Net Income Per Share of Common Stock              
Basic $ 0.19     $ 0.16     $ 0.71     $ 0.57  
Diluted $ 0.19     $ 0.16     $ 0.71     $ 0.57  
Weighted Average Basic Shares Outstanding   8,439,258       8,439,258       8,439,258       8,439,258  
Weighted Average Diluted Shares Outstanding   8,486,672       8,439,258       8,458,461       8,439,258  
             
Contact: Terry L. HesterChief Financial Officer(229) 426-6000 (Ext 6002)