Yadkin Bank’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 15 percent from a year ago but nonetheless fell a hair short of analysts’ estimates.
“We do feel like it was a very solid quarter,” CEO Scott Custer told analysts during a conference call. “We believe we are continuing to make great progress.”
The bank’s corporate parent, Raleigh-based Yadkin Financial, posted net operating earnings of $12.6 million, or 40 cents per share, versus $11 million a year ago. That was a penny per share less than the consensus forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg News.
Net operating earnings excludes a variety of income and expense items, including merger costs and an $88,000 gain on the sale of two branches during the quarter. Yadkin, which focused on cutting costs in the wake of the 2014 merger of equals between VantageSouth and Yadkin banks, announced last year that it planned to sell or close a half-dozen under-performing branches. None of those branches were in the Triangle.
Earnings were boosted by higher non-interest income and lower non-interest operating expenses. The year-ago earnings also were depressed by a $639,000 debt payment to the U.S. Treasury for Troubled Asset Relief Program money received during the financial crisis; Yadkin has paid off that debt in full.
Net operating earnings were flat compared to the third quarter.
Loans during the quarter rose at an annualized rate of 12.9 percent.
“We believe we’ve got one of the best asset-generating machines around for a company our size,” Custer said.
Yadkin shares closed Thursday at $22.42, up 62 cents. The shares have fallen from a 52-week high of nearly $27 in December.
Yadkin, which today has 68 branches in North and South Carolina, anticipates closing on its previously announced $456 million purchase of Greensboro-based NewBridge Bank before the end of March. NewBridge has 42 branches.
Yadkin, the largest community bank based in North Carolina, has grown from a series of mergers and acquisitions. The NewBridge deal is it’s largest deal yet.
For all of 2015, net operating income totaled $47.4 million, or $1.49 per share, up from $27.2 million in 2014.