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Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 


 

FORM 10-K

 

 

Annual Report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 or

 

 

Transition Report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

 

For the transition period from                    to                      

 

Commission File Number 0-32637

 

AMES NATIONAL CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Iowa 42-1039071
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization) (I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
   
   
405 5TH Street, Ames, Iowa 50010
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
   
(515) 232-6251
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

                           

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act:

 

Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $2.00 par valueATLOThe NASDAQ Capital Market

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.          Yes ☐ No ☒

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.          Yes ☐ No ☒

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

Yes ☒ No ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer ☐Accelerated filer ☐Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company Emerging growth company 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☐

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No ☒

 

As of June 30, 2020, the aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based upon the closing sale price for the registrant’s common stock in the NASDAQ Capital Market, was $176,877,408.

 

The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock on February 27, 2021, was 9,122,747.

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

 

Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or about March 12, 2021, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.

 

1

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Part I    
     
Item 1.    Business 3
Item 1A. Risk Factors 14
Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments 23
Item 2.  Properties  23
Item 3. Legal Proceedings 23
Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures 23
     
Part II    
     
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Shareholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities 24
Item 6. Selected Financial Data  25
Item 7.   Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 26
Item 7A.  Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk 51
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data 52
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure 93
Item 9A.   Controls and Procedures 93
Item 9B.  Other Information 93
     
Part III    
     
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance 93
Item 11. Executive Compensation  94
Item 12.  Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Shareholder Matters 94
Item 13.  Certain Relationships and Related Transactions and Director Independence 94
Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services 94
    94
Part IV    
     
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules 94

 

2

 

PART I

 

 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

 

General

 

Ames National Corporation (the "Company") is an Iowa corporation and bank holding company registered under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended. The Company owns 100% of the stock of six bank subsidiaries consisting of two national banks and four state-chartered banks, as described below. All of the Company’s operations are conducted in the State of Iowa and primarily within the central, north-central and south-central Iowa counties of Boone, Clarke, Hancock, Marshall, Polk, Story and Union where the Company’s banking subsidiaries are located. The Company does not engage in any material business activities apart from its ownership of its banking subsidiaries and the management of its own investment and loan portfolios. The principal executive offices of the Company are located at 405 5th Street, Ames, Iowa 50010. The Company’s telephone number is (515) 232-6251 and website address is www.amesnational.com.

 

The Company was organized and incorporated on January 21, 1975 under the laws of the State of Iowa to serve as a holding company for its principal banking subsidiary, First National Bank, Ames, Iowa ("First National") located in Ames, Iowa. In 1983, the Company acquired the stock of State Bank & Trust Co. ("State Bank") located in Nevada, Iowa; in 1991, the Company, through a newly-chartered state bank known as Boone Bank & Trust Co. ("Boone Bank"), acquired certain assets and assumed certain liabilities of the former Boone State Bank & Trust Company located in Boone, Iowa; in 1995, the Company acquired the stock of Reliance State Bank, (”Reliance Bank”) located in Story City, Iowa; in 2002, the Company chartered and commenced operations of a new national banking organization, United Bank & Trust NA (“United Bank”), located in Marshalltown, Iowa; and in 2019, the Company acquired the stock of Iowa State Savings Bank (“Iowa State Bank”) located in Creston, Iowa. First National, State Bank, Boone Bank, Reliance Bank, United Bank and Iowa State Bank are each operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. These six financial institutions are referred to in this Form 10-K collectively as the “Banks” and individually as a “Bank”.

 

The principal sources of Company revenue are: (i) interest and fees earned on loans made or held by the Company and Banks; (ii) interest on investments, primarily on bonds, held by the Banks; (iii) fees on wealth management services; (iv) service charges on deposit accounts maintained at the Banks; (v) merchant and card fees; (vi) gain on the sale of loans; and (vii) securities gains. The Company’s principal expenses are: (i) interest expense on deposit accounts and other borrowings; (ii) salaries and employee benefits; (iii) data processing costs primarily associated with maintaining the Banks’ loan and deposit functions; (iv) occupancy expenses for maintaining the Banks’ facilities; (v) professional fees; and (vi) business development. The largest component contributing to the Company’s net income is net interest income, which is the difference between interest earned on earning assets (primarily loans and investments) and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities (primarily deposit accounts and other borrowings). One of management’s principal functions is to manage the spread between interest earned on earning assets and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities in an effort to maximize net interest income while maintaining an appropriate level of interest rate risk.

 

The Banks’ lending activities consist primarily of short-term and medium-term commercial and agricultural real estate loans, residential real estate loans, agricultural and business operating loans and lines of credit, equipment loans, vehicle loans, personal loans and lines of credit, home improvement loans and origination of mortgage loans for sale into the secondary market. The Banks also offer a variety of checking, savings and time deposits, cash management services, merchant credit card processing, safe deposit boxes, wire transfers, direct deposit of payroll and social security checks and automated/video teller machine access. Five of the six Banks also offer trust services, which includes wealth management services.

 

The Company provides various services to the Banks which include, but are not limited to, management assistance, internal auditing services, human resources services and administration, compliance management, marketing assistance and coordination, loan review, support with respect to computer systems and related procedures, financial reporting, property appraisals, training and the coordination of management activities.

 

Banking Subsidiaries

 

First National Bank, Ames, Iowa. First National is a nationally-chartered, commercial bank insured by the FDIC. It was organized in 1903 and became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company in 1975 through a bank holding company reorganization whereby the then shareholders of First National exchanged all of their First National stock for stock in the Company. In 2014, First National completed the purchase of a bank with offices in West Des Moines and Johnston, Iowa. In 2018, First National completed the purchase of a bank with offices located in Osceola, Iowa (the “Clarke County Acquisition”). First National provides full-service banking to businesses and residents within the Ames community through its three Ames offices; the Greater Des Moines area through its four offices located in Ankeny, Johnston, and West Des Moines; and South Central Iowa through its two offices in Osceola. It provides a variety of products and services designed to meet the needs of the markets it serves. It has an experienced staff of bank officers including many who have spent the majority of their banking careers with First National and who emphasize long-term customer relationships.

 

3

 

As of December 31, 2020, First National had capital of $101,017,000 and 132 full-time equivalent employees. Full-time equivalents represent the number of people a business would employ if all its employees were employed on a full-time basis. It is calculated by dividing the total number of hours worked by all full and part-time employees by the number of hours a full-time individual would work for a given period of time. First National had net income for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 of approximately $9,758,000 and $10,280,000, respectively. Total assets as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were approximately $1,031,155,000 and $913,271,000, respectively.

 

State Bank & Trust Co., Nevada, Iowa. State Bank is an Iowa, state-chartered, FDIC insured commercial bank. State Bank was acquired by the Company in 1983 through a stock transaction whereby the then shareholders of State Bank exchanged all their State Bank stock for stock in the Company. State Bank was organized in 1939 and provides full-service banking to businesses and residents within the Nevada area from its Nevada location. It has a strong presence in agricultural, commercial and residential real estate lending.

 

As of December 31, 2020, State Bank had capital of $17,626,000 and 22 full-time equivalent employees. State Bank had net income for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 of approximately $2,571,000 and $2,069,000, respectively. Total assets as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were approximately $196,758,000 and $159,246,000, respectively.

 

Boone Bank & Trust Co., Boone, Iowa. Boone Bank is an Iowa, state-chartered, FDIC insured commercial bank. Boone Bank was organized in 1992 by the Company under a new state charter in connection with a purchase and assumption transaction whereby Boone Bank purchased certain assets and assumed certain liabilities of the former Boone State Bank & Trust Company in exchange for a cash payment. It provides full-service banking to businesses and residents within the Boone community and surrounding area. It is actively engaged in agricultural, consumer and commercial lending, including real estate, operating and equipment loans. It conducts business from its main office and a full-service office, both located in Boone.

 

As of December 31, 2020, Boone Bank had capital of $15,900,000 and 20 full-time equivalent employees. Boone Bank had net income for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 of approximately $1,643,000 and $1,502,000, respectively. Total assets as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were approximately $149,990,000 and $134,688,000, respectively.

 

Reliance State Bank, Story City, Iowa. Reliance Bank is an Iowa, state-chartered, FDIC insured commercial bank. Reliance Bank was organized in 1928. Reliance Bank was acquired by the Company in 1995 through a stock transaction whereby the then shareholders of Reliance Bank exchanged all their Reliance Bank stock for stock in the Company. In 2012, Reliance Bank completed the purchase of a bank office of Liberty Bank, F.S.B. located in Garner, Iowa. Reliance Bank provides full banking services to businesses and residents within the Story City and Garner communities and surrounding areas. While its primary emphasis is in agricultural lending, Reliance Bank also provides the traditional lending services typically offered by community banks. It conducts business from its main office located in Story City and a full-service office located in Garner.

 

As of December 31, 2020, Reliance Bank had capital of $29,789,000 and 33 full-time equivalent employees. Reliance Bank had net income for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 of approximately $2,578,000 and $2,750,000, respectively. Total assets as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were approximately $259,077,000 and $229,907,000, respectively.

 

United Bank & Trust NA, Marshalltown, Iowa. United Bank is a nationally-chartered, commercial bank insured by the FDIC. It was chartered in 2002 and offers a broad range of deposit and loan products, as well as wealth management services to customers located in the Marshalltown and surrounding Marshall County area. It conducts business from its main office and a full-service office, both located in Marshalltown.

 

As of December 31, 2020, United Bank had capital of $11,357,000 and 21 full-time equivalent employees. United Bank had net income for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 of approximately $1,184,000 and $930,000, respectively. Total assets as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were approximately $117,513,000 and $100,443,000, respectively.

 

Iowa State Savings Bank, Creston, Iowa. Iowa State Bank is an Iowa, state-chartered, FDIC insured commercial bank. Iowa State Bank was organized in 1883. Iowa State Bank was acquired by the Company in 2019 through a stock transaction for cash (“Iowa State Bank Acquisition”). Iowa State Bank provides full banking services to businesses and residents within Creston, Iowa and the surrounding areas. While its primary emphasis is in agricultural lending, Iowa State Bank also provides the traditional lending services typically offered by community banks. It conducts business from its main office located in Creston and full-service offices located in Creston and Lenox.

 

As of December 31, 2020, Iowa State Bank had capital of $26,846,000 and 38 full-time equivalent employees. Iowa State Bank had net income for year ended December 31, 2020 of approximately $1,679,000 and net income for the period from October 25, 2019, acquisition date, through December 31, 2019 of approximately $303,000. Total assets as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 were approximately $237,009,000 and $215,407,000, respectively.

 

4

 

Business Strategy and Operations

 

As a multi-bank holding company for six community banks, the Company emphasizes strong personal relationships to provide products and services that meet the needs of the Banks’ customers. The Company seeks to achieve growth and maintain a strong return on equity. To accomplish these goals, the Banks focus on small-to-medium size businesses that traditionally wish to develop an exclusive relationship with a single bank. The Banks, individually and collectively, have the size to give the personal attention required by business owners, in addition to the credit expertise to help businesses meet their goals.

 

The Banks offer a full range of deposit services that are typically available in most financial institutions, including checking accounts, savings accounts and time deposits of various types, ranging from money market accounts to longer-term certificates of deposit. One major goal in developing the Banks' product mix is to keep the product offerings as simple as possible, both in terms of the number of products and the features and benefits of the individual services. The transaction accounts and time certificates are tailored to each Bank's principal market area at rates competitive in that Bank’s market. In addition, retirement accounts such as Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are available. The FDIC insures all deposit accounts up to the maximum coverage limits. The Banks solicit these accounts from small-to-medium sized businesses in their respective primary trade areas, from individuals who live and/or work within these areas, and from public entities within these areas. No material portion of the Banks' deposits has been obtained from a single person or from a few persons. Therefore, the Company does not believe that the loss of the deposits of any person or of a few persons would have an adverse effect on the Banks' operations or erode their deposit base.

 

Loans are provided to creditworthy borrowers regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, marital status, disability, receipt of public assistance or any other basis prohibited by law. The Banks intend to fulfill this commitment while maintaining prudent credit standards. In the course of fulfilling this obligation to meet the credit needs of the communities which they serve, the Banks give consideration to each credit application regardless of the fact that the applicant may reside in a low to moderate income neighborhood, and without regard to the geographic location of the residence, property or business within their market areas.

 

The Banks provide innovative, quality financial services, such as: Online Management, Mobile Banking, Private Banking and Wealth Management that meet the evolving banking needs of their customers and communities. The loan programs and acceptance of certain loans may vary from time-to-time depending on the funds available and regulations governing the banking industry. The Banks offer all basic types of credit to their local communities and surrounding rural areas, including commercial, agricultural and consumer loans. The types of loans within these categories are as follows:

 

Commercial and Construction Loans. Commercial loans are typically made to sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies and other business entities including municipalities where the loan is to be used primarily for business purposes. These loans are typically secured by assets owned by the borrower and often times involve personal guarantees given by the owners of the business. Approximately 58% of the loan portfolio consists of loans made for commercial purposes.

 

The types of loans the Banks offer include:

 

 

commercial real estate loans, including owner occupied properties

 

multi-family real estate loans

 

operating and working capital loans

 

loans to finance equipment and other capital purchases

 

business lines of credit

 

term loans

 

construction loans

 

financing guaranteed under Small Business Administration programs

 

letters of credit

 

Agricultural Loans. The Banks, by virtue of their location in central, north-central and south-central Iowa, are directly and indirectly involved in agriculture and agri-business lending. This includes short-term seasonal lending associated with cyclical crop and livestock production, intermediate term lending for machinery, equipment and breeding stock acquisition and long-term real estate lending. These loans are typically secured by the crops, livestock, equipment or real estate being financed. The basic tenets of the Banks' agricultural lending philosophy are strong, positive cash flows, adequate collateral positions, and sufficient liquidity to withstand short-term negative impacts if necessary. Applicable governmental subsidies and affiliated programs are utilized if warranted to accomplish these parameters. Approximately 22% of the loan portfolio consists of loans made for agricultural purposes.

 

1-4 Family Residential Loans. 1-4 family residential loans are typically available to finance homes, home improvements and home equity lines of credit. These loans are made on a secured basis. Approximately 19% of the loan portfolio consists of loans made for 1-4 family residential purposes.

 

5

 

Consumer Loans. Consumer loans are typically available to finance consumer purchases, such as automobiles, household furnishings and boats. These loans are made on both a secured and an unsecured basis. Approximately 1% of the loan portfolio consists of loans made for consumer purposes. The following types of consumer loans are available:

 

 

automobiles and trucks

 

boats and recreational vehicles

 

personal loans and lines of credit

 

Other types of credit programs, such as loans to nonprofit organizations, to public entities, for community development and to other governmental programs also are available.

 

First National, Boone Bank, State Bank, United Bank and Iowa State Bank offer wealth management services typically found in a commercial bank with trust powers, including the administration of estates, conservatorships, personal and corporate trusts and agency accounts. Assets under management amount to $345.8 million and $293.1 million as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The Banks also provide farm management, investment and custodial services for individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations.

 

The Banks earn income from the origination and referral of residential mortgages that are sold in the secondary real estate market without retaining the mortgage servicing rights.

 

The Banks offer traditional banking services, such as safe deposit boxes, wire transfers, direct deposit of payroll and social security checks, automated/video teller machine access and automatic drafts (ACH) for various accounts.

 

Lending Credit Management

 

The Company strives to achieve sound credit risk management. In order to achieve this goal, the Company has established uniform credit policies and underwriting criteria for the Banks’ loan portfolios. The Banks diversify the types of loans offered and are subject to regular credit examinations, annual internal audits and annual review of large loans, as well as quarterly reviews of loans experiencing deterioration in credit quality. The Company attempts to identify potential problem loans early, charge off loans promptly and maintain an adequate allowance for loan losses. The Company has established credit guidelines for the Banks’ lending portfolios which include guidelines relating to the more commonly requested loan types, as follows:

 

Commercial Real Estate Loans - Commercial real estate loans, including agricultural real estate loans, are normally based on loan to appraisal value ratios that do not exceed 80% and secured by a first priority lien position. Loans are typically subject to interest rate adjustments no less frequently than 5 years from origination. Fully amortized monthly repayment terms normally do not exceed twenty five years. Projections and cash flows that show ability to service debt within the amortization period are required. Property and casualty insurance is required to protect the Banks’ collateral interests. Commercial and agricultural real estate loans represent approximately 56% of the loan portfolio. Major risk factors for commercial real estate loans, as well as the other loan types described below, include a geographic concentration in our primary market areas in Iowa; the dependence of the local economy upon several large governmental entities, including Iowa State University and the Iowa Department of Transportation; and the health of Iowa’s agricultural sector that is heavily dependent on commodity prices, weather conditions, government programs and trade policies.

 

Commercial and Agricultural Operating Lines - These loans are typically made to businesses and farm operations with terms up to twelve months. The credit needs are generally seasonal with the source of repayment coming from the entity’s normal business cycle. Cash flow reviews are completed to establish the ability to service the debt within the terms of the loan. A first priority lien on the general assets of the business normally secures these types of loans. Loan-to-value limits vary and are dependent upon the nature and type of the underlying collateral and the financial strength of the borrower. Crop and hail insurance is required for most agricultural borrowers. Loans are generally guaranteed by the principal(s).

 

Commercial and Agricultural Term Loans – These loans are made to businesses and farm operations to finance equipment, breeding stock and other capital expenditures. Term loans are normally secured by the asset being financed and are often additionally secured with the general assets of the business. Loan-to-value ratios generally do not exceed 75% of the cost or value of the assets. Loans are normally guaranteed by the principal(s). In 2020, these loans also include Paycheck Protection Program loans originated as a part of the CARES Act. Commercial and agricultural operating and term loans represent approximately 20% of the loan portfolio.

 

Residential First Mortgage Loans – Proceeds of these loans are used to buy or refinance the purchase of residential real estate with the loan secured by a first lien on the real estate. Most of the residential mortgage loans originated by the Banks (including servicing rights) are sold in the secondary mortgage market due to the higher interest rate risk inherent in the 15 and 30 year fixed rate terms consumers prefer. Loans that are originated and not sold in the secondary market generally have fixed rates of up to fifteen years. The maximum amortization of first mortgage residential real estate loans is 30 years. First mortgage residential loans are also referred to an unaffilitated company that originates these loans in exchange for a fee. The loan-to-value ratios normally do not exceed 90% without credit enhancements such as mortgage insurance. Property insurance is required on all loans to protect the Banks’ collateral position. Loans secured by one-to-four family residential properties, home equity term loans and home equity lines of credit represent approximately 19% of the loan portfolio.

 

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Home Equity Term Loans – These loans are normally for the purpose of home improvement or other consumer purposes and are secured by a junior mortgage on residential real estate. Loan-to-value ratios normally do not exceed 90% of market value.

 

Home Equity Lines of Credit - The Banks offer a home equity line of credit generally with a maximum term of 60 months. These loans are secured by a junior mortgage on the residential real estate and normally do not exceed a loan-to-market value ratio of 90% with the interest adjusted quarterly. Residential first mortgage loans, home equity term loans and home equity lines of credit represent approximately 19% of the loan portfolio.

 

Consumer Loans – Consumer loans are normally made to consumers under the following guidelines. Automobiles - loans on new and used automobiles generally will not exceed 90% and 75% of the value, respectively. Recreational vehicles and boats will not exceed 90% and 66% of the value, respectively. Each of these loans is secured by a first priority lien on the assets and requires insurance to protect the Banks’ collateral position. Unsecured - Terms for unsecured loans generally do not exceed 12 months. Consumer and other loans represent approximately 1% of the loan portfolio.

 

Investments available-for-sale

 

The investment policy of the Company generally is to invest funds among various categories of investments and maturities based upon the Company’s need for liquidity, to achieve the proper balance between its desire to minimize risk and maximize yield, and to fulfill the Company’s asset/liability management policies. The Company’s investment portfolios are managed in accordance with a written investment policy adopted by the Board of Directors. It is the Company’s general policy to purchase investment securities which are U.S. Government securities, U.S. government agency, state and local government obligations, corporate debt securities and overnight federal funds.

 

Human Capital

 

At December 31, 2020, the Banks had a total of 265 full-time equivalent employees and the Company had an additional 15 full-time employees. The Company and Banks provide their employees with a comprehensive program of benefits, including comprehensive medical, vision and dental plans, long-term and short-term disability coverage, and a 401(k) profit sharing plan. Management considers its relations with employees to be satisfactory. The Company has not experienced any material employment-related issues or interruptions of service due to labor disagreements and none of the employees are represented by unions.

 

Market Area

 

The Company operates six commercial banks with locations in Boone, Clarke, Hancock, Marshall, Polk, Story, Taylor and Union Counties in central, north-central and south-central Iowa that all offer a full line of business and consumer loan and retail and commercial deposit services. All banks, but Reliance Bank, offer wealth management services.

 

First National is headquartered in Ames, Iowa with a population of 66,023. The major employers are Iowa State University, Ames Laboratory, Iowa Department of Transportation, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Ames Community Schools, City of Ames, Danfoss and McFarland Clinic. First National maintains four offices in the Des Moines metro area with a population of approximately 699,000. The major employers in the Des Moines metro market are State of Iowa, Principal Financial Group, Wells Fargo, UnityPoint Health, Mercy Medical Center, Nationwide Insurance, Corteva Agriscience, Hy-Vee Food Corp and John Deere. First National maintains two offices in Osceola, Iowa with a population of 5,103. Osceola is the county seat of Clarke County. The major employers in Clarke County are Hormel Foods, Miller Products Co., SIMCO Drilling Equipment, Inc., Clarke County Hospital, Lakeside Casino, Paul Mueller Company and Boyt Harness Company. First National has a small exposure to agricultural lending.

 

Boone Bank is located in Boone, Iowa with a population of 12,487. Boone is the county seat of Boone County. The major employers are Fareway Stores, Inc., Iowa National Guard, Union Pacific Railroad, Boone County Hospital and CDS Global. Boone Bank provides lending services to the agriculture, commercial and real estate markets.

 

State Bank is located in Nevada, Iowa with a population of 6,754. Nevada is the county seat of Story County. The major employers are Story County Medical Center, Mid-American Manufacturing, Mid-States Millwright & Builders, Inc., Burke Corporation and Almaco. State Bank provides various types of loans with a major agricultural presence.

 

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Reliance Bank is headquartered in Story City, Iowa with a population of 3,377. The major employers in the Story City area are Bethany Manor, American Packaging, M.H. Eby, Inc. and Record Printing. The Bank also maintains an office in Garner, Iowa with a population of 3,059. Garner is the county seat of Hancock County. The major employers in the Garner area are Iowa Mold & Tooling and Stellar Industries. All locations are in agricultural areas and the Bank has a strong presence in this type of lending. 

 

United Bank is located in Marshalltown, Iowa with a population of 27,053. The major employers are Iowa Veterans Home, Marshalltown School District, JBS Swift & Co., Emerson Process Management/Fisher Division, Lennox Industries and UnityPoint Health. Marshalltown is the county seat of Marshall County. Loan services include primarily commercial and consumer types of credit including operating lines, equipment loans and real estate loans.

 

Iowa State Bank is headquartered in Union County in Creston, Iowa with a population of 7,784. Iowa State Bank has one additional office in Creston and an additional office located in Taylor Country in Lenox, Iowa. The major employers are Bunn-O-Matic Corporation, Wellman Dynamics Corporation, Southwestern Community College, Greater Regional Medical Center and Michael Foods, Inc. Creston is the county seat of Union County. All locations are in agricultural areas and the Bank has a strong presence in this type of lending. 

 

Competition

 

The geographic market area served by the Banks is highly competitive with respect to both loans and deposits. The Banks compete principally with other commercial banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, mortgage companies, finance divisions of auto and farm equipment companies, agricultural suppliers and other financial service providers. Some of these competitors are local, while others are statewide or nationwide. The major commercial bank competitors include Great Western Bank, U.S. Bank National Association and Wells Fargo Bank, each of which maintains an office or offices within the Banks’ primary central Iowa trade areas. Among the advantages such larger banks have are their ability to finance extensive advertising campaigns and to allocate their investment assets to geographic regions of higher yield and demand. These larger banking organizations have much higher legal lending limits than the Banks and thus are better able to finance large regional, national and global commercial customers.

 

In order to compete with the other financial institutions in their primary trade areas, the Banks use, to the fullest extent possible, the flexibility which is accorded by independent status. This includes an emphasis on specialized services, local promotional activity and personal contacts by the Banks' officers, directors and employees. In particular, the Banks compete for deposits principally by offering depositors a wide variety of deposit programs, convenient office locations, hours and other services. The Banks compete for loans primarily by offering competitive interest rates, experienced local lending personnel and quality products and services.

 

As of December 31, 2020, there were 54 FDIC insured institutions having approximately 135 locations within Boone, Clarke, Hancock, Marshall, Polk, Story, Taylor and Union County, Iowa where the Banks' offices are located. First National, State Bank and Reliance Bank together have the largest percentage of deposits in Story County. Reliance Bank has the largest percentage of deposits in Hancock County.

 

The Banks also compete with the financial markets for funds. Yields on corporate and government debt securities and commercial paper affect the ability of commercial banks to attract and hold deposits. Commercial banks also compete for funds with equity, money market, and insurance products offered by brokerage and insurance companies. This competitive trend will likely continue in the future.

 

The Company anticipates bank competition will continue to change materially over the next several years as more financial institutions, including the major regional and national banks, continue to consolidate. Credit unions, which are not subject to income taxes, have a significant competitive advantage and provide additional competition in the Company’s local markets.

 

Supervision and Regulation

 

The following discussion refers to certain statutes and regulations affecting the banking industry in general. These references provide brief summaries and therefore do not purport to be complete and are qualified in their entirety by reference to those statutes and regulations. In addition, due to the numerous statutes and regulations that apply to and regulate the banking industry, many are not referenced below.

 

The Company and the Banks are subject to extensive federal and state regulation and supervision. Regulation and supervision of financial institutions is primarily intended to protect depositors and the FDIC rather than shareholders of the Company. The laws and regulations affecting banks and bank holding companies have changed significantly over recent years. There is reason to expect that similar changes may continue in the future. Any change in applicable laws, regulations or regulatory policies may have a material effect on the business, operations and prospects of the Company. The Company is unable to predict the nature or the extent of the effects on its business and earnings that any fiscal or monetary policies or new federal or state legislation may have in the future.

 

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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”)

 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020 to provide national emergency economic relief measures. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (“CRRSAA”) was signed into law on December 27, 2020 to supplement and expand the CARES Act. Many of the CARES Act’s programs are dependent upon the direct involvement of U.S. financial institutions, such as the Company and the Banks, and have been implemented through rules and guidance adopted by federal departments and agencies, including the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Federal Reserve and other federal banking agencies, including those with direct supervisory jurisdiction over the Company and the Banks. Furthermore, as the on-going COVID-19 pandemic evolves, federal regulatory authorities continue to issue additional guidance with respect to the implementation, lifecycle, and eligibility requirements for the various CARES Act programs as well as industry-specific recovery procedures for COVID-19. In addition, it is possible that Congress will enact supplementary COVID-19 response legislation, including amendments to the CARES Act or new bills comparable in scope to the CARES Act. The Company continues to assess the impact of the CARES Act, CRRSA and other statues, regulations and supervisory guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Paycheck Protection Program. The CARES Act amended the SBA’s loan program, in which the Banks participate, to create a guaranteed, unsecured loan program to fund operational costs of eligible businesses, organizations and self-employed persons during COVID-19. In June 2020, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act was enacted, which among other things, gave borrowers additional time and flexibility to use Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loan proceeds. On December 27, 2020 the Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law and provided funding to reopen the PPP to new qualifying borrowers of “First Draw” PPP loans, provide opportunities for certain borrowers of existing PPP loans to increase their First Draw loan, and create an opportunity for certain businesses to obtain a “Second Draw” PPP loan. As a participating lender in the PPP, the Banks continue to monitor legislative, regulatory, and supervisory developments related thereto.

 

Troubled Debt Restructuring and Loan Modifications for Affected Borrowers. The CARES Act permits banks to suspend requirements under GAAP for loan modifications to borrowers affected by COVID-19 that would otherwise be characterized as Troubled Debt Restructuring (“TDRs”) and suspend any determination related thereto if (i) the loan modification is made between March 1, 2020 and the earlier of December 31, 2020, extended to January 1, 2022 under CRRSAA, or 60 days after the end of the COVID-19 emergency declaration and (ii) the applicable loan was not more than 30 days past due as of December 31, 2019. The federal banking agencies also issued guidance to encourage banks to make loan modifications for borrowers affected by COVID-19 and to assure banks that they will not be criticized by examiners for doing so. The Company is applying this guidance to qualifying loan modifications. See Note 5 to the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements,” which is included in Part II, Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further information about the COVID-19-related loan modifications completed by the Company.

 

Temporary Community Bank Leverage Ratio Relief. Pursuant to the CARES Act, the federal banking agencies adopted an interim rule, effective until the earlier of the termination of the coronavirus emergency declaration or December 31, 2020, to (i) reduce the minimum Community Bank Leverage Ratio from 9% to 8% percent for 2020 and (ii) give community banks a two-quarter grace period to satisfy such ratio if such ratio falls out of compliance by no more than 1%.

 

The Company

 

The Company is a bank holding company by virtue of its ownership of the Banks, and is registered as such with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the "Federal Reserve"). The Company is subject to regulation under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the "BHCA"), which subjects the Company and the Banks to supervision and examination by the Federal Reserve. Under the BHCA, the Company files with the Federal Reserve annual reports of its operations and such additional information as the Federal Reserve may require.

 

Source of Strength to the Banks. The Federal Reserve takes the position that a bank holding company is required to serve as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary banks and may not conduct its operations in an unsafe or unsound manner. In addition, it is the Federal Reserve's position that in serving as a source of strength to its subsidiary banks, bank holding companies should use available resources to provide adequate capital funds to its subsidiary banks during periods of financial stress or adversity. It should also maintain the financial flexibility and capital raising capacity to obtain additional resources for providing assistance to its subsidiary banks. A bank holding company's failure to meet its obligation or to serve as a source of strength to its subsidiary banks, will generally be considered by the Federal Reserve to be an unsafe and unsound banking practice, or a violation of the Federal Reserve's regulations, or both.

 

Federal Reserve Approval. Bank holding companies must obtain the approval of the Federal Reserve before they: (i) acquire direct or indirect ownership or control of any voting stock of any bank if, after such acquisition, they would own or control, directly or indirectly, more than 5% of the voting stock of such bank; (ii) merge or consolidate with another bank holding company; or (iii) acquire substantially all of the assets of any additional banks.

 

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Non-Banking Activities. With certain exceptions, the BHCA also prohibits bank holding companies from acquiring direct or indirect ownership or control of voting stock in any company other than a bank or a bank holding company unless the Federal Reserve finds the company's business to be incidental to the business of banking. When making this determination, the Federal Reserve in part considers whether allowing a bank holding company to engage in those activities would offer advantages to the public that would outweigh possible adverse effects. A bank holding company may engage in permissible non-banking activities on a de novo basis, if the holding company meets certain criteria and notifies the Federal Reserve within ten (10) business days after the activity has commenced.

 

Financial Holding Company. Under the Financial Services Modernization Act, eligible bank holding companies may elect (with the approval of the Federal Reserve) to become a "financial holding company." Financial holding companies are permitted to engage in certain financial activities through affiliates that had previously been prohibited activities for bank holding companies. Such financial activities include securities and insurance underwriting and merchant banking. At this time, the Company has not elected to become a financial holding company, but may choose to do so at some time in the future.

 

Control Transactions. The Change in Bank Control Act of 1978, as amended, requires a person or group of persons acquiring "control" of a bank holding company to provide the Federal Reserve with at least 60 days prior written notice of the proposed acquisition. Following receipt of this notice, the Federal Reserve has 60 days to issue a notice disapproving the proposed acquisition, but the Federal Reserve may extend this time period for up to another 30 days. An acquisition may be completed before the disapproval period expires if the Federal Reserve issues written notice of its intent not to disapprove the action. Under a rebuttable presumption established by the Federal Reserve, the acquisition of 10% or more of a class of voting stock of a bank holding company with a class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, would constitute the acquisition of control. In addition, any "company" would be required to obtain the approval of the Federal Reserve under the BHCA before acquiring 25% (or 5% if the "company" is a bank holding company) or more of the outstanding shares of the Company, or otherwise obtain control over the Company.

 

Affiliate Transactions. The Company and the Banks are deemed affiliates within the meaning of the Federal Reserve Act, and transactions between affiliates are subject to certain restrictions. Generally, the Federal Reserve Act: (i) limits the extent to which the financial institution or its subsidiaries may engage in "covered transactions" with an affiliate; and (ii) requires all transactions with an affiliate, whether or not "covered transactions," to be on terms substantially the same, or at least as favorable to the institution or subsidiary, as those provided to a non-affiliate. The term "covered transaction" includes the making of loans, purchase of assets, issuance of a guarantee and similar transactions.

 

State Law on Acquisitions. Iowa law permits bank holding companies to make acquisitions throughout the state. However, Iowa currently has a deposit concentration limit of 15% on the amount of deposits in the state that any one banking organization can control and continue to acquire banks or bank deposits (by acquisitions), which applies to all depository institutions doing business in Iowa.

 

Banking Subsidiaries

 

Applicable federal and state statutes and regulations governing a bank's operations relate, among other matters, to capital adequacy requirements, required reserves against deposits, investments, loans, legal lending limits, certain interest rates payable, mergers and consolidations, borrowings, issuance of securities, payment of dividends, establishment of branches and dealings with affiliated persons.

 

First National and United Bank are national banks subject to primary federal regulation and supervision by the Office of Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”). The FDIC, as an insurer of the deposits to the maximum extent permitted by law, also has some limited regulatory authority over First National and United Bank. State Bank, Boone Bank, Reliance Bank and Iowa State Bank are state banks subject to regulation and supervision by the Iowa Division of Banking. The four state Banks are also subject to regulation and examination by the FDIC, which insures their respective deposits to the maximum extent permitted by law. The federal laws that apply to the Banks regulate, among other things, the scope of their business, their investments, their reserves against deposits, the timing of the availability of deposited funds and the nature and amount of and collateral for loans. The laws and regulations governing the Banks generally have been promulgated to protect depositors and the deposit insurance fund of the FDIC and not to protect stockholders of such institutions or their holding companies.

 

The OCC and FDIC each have authority to prohibit banks under their supervision from engaging in what it considers to be an unsafe and unsound practice in conducting their business. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 ("FDICIA") requires federal banking regulators to adopt regulations or guidelines in a number of areas to ensure bank safety and soundness, including internal controls, credit underwriting, asset growth, management compensation, ratios of classified assets to capital and earnings. FDICIA also contains provisions which are intended to change independent auditing requirements, restrict the activities of state-chartered insured banks, amend various consumer banking laws, limit the ability of "undercapitalized banks" to borrow from the Federal Reserve's discount window, require regulators to perform periodic on-site bank examinations and set standards for real estate lending.

 

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Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the Dodd-Frank Act). Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the Banks are subject to regulations promulgated by the consumer protection bureau housed within the Federal Reserve, known as the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (the “Bureau” or “BCFP”). The Bureau promulgates rules and orders with respect to consumer financial products and services and has substantial power to define the rights of consumers and responsibilities of lending institutions, such as the Banks. The Bureau will not, however, examine or supervise the Banks for compliance with such regulations; rather, enforcement authority will remain with the Banks’ primary federal regulator although the Banks may be required to submit reports or other materials to the Bureau upon its request. 

 

Borrowing Limitations. Each of the Banks is subject to limitations on the aggregate amount of loans that it can make to any one borrower, including related entities. Subject to numerous exceptions based on the type of loans and collateral, applicable statutes and regulations generally limit loans to one borrower of 15% of total equity and reserves. Each of the Banks is in compliance with applicable loans to one borrower requirements.

 

FDIC Insurance. The deposit insurance coverage limit is $250,000 per depositor, per insured depository institution for each account ownership category. The FDIC has adopted a risk-based insurance assessment system under which depository institutions contribute funds to the FDIC insurance fund based on their risk classification. In 2019, the FDIC announced the deposit insurance fund reserve ratio was above 1.35%. Since the reserve ratio remained 1.35% in 2020, the Banks received a small bank assessment credit in the third and fourth quarter of 2019 and the first and second quarter of 2020. The FDIC may terminate the deposit insurance of any insured depository institution if it determines after an administrative hearing that the institution has engaged or is engaging in unsafe or unsound practices, is in an unsafe or unsound condition to continue operations or has violated any applicable law.

 

Capital Adequacy Requirements. The Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the OCC (collectively, the "Agencies") have adopted risk-based capital guidelines for banks and bank holding companies that are designed to make regulatory capital requirements more sensitive to differences in risk profiles among banks and bank holding companies and account for off-balance sheet items. The Agencies have also provided an optional community bank leverage ratio framework to provide a simple measure of capital adequacy for certain community banking organizations. Failure to achieve and maintain adequate capital levels may give rise to supervisory action through the issuance of a capital directive to ensure the maintenance of required capital levels. Each of the Banks is in compliance with capital level requirements as of December 31, 2020.

 

Basel III Capital Requirements. Basel III Capital Rules: (i) introduce a capital measure called “Common Equity Tier 1” (“CET1”) and related regulatory capital ratio of CET1 to risk-weighted assets; (ii) specify that Tier 1 capital consists of CET1 and “Additional Tier 1 capital” instruments meeting certain revised requirements; (iii) mandate that most deductions/adjustments to regulatory capital measures be made to CET1 and not to the other components of capital; and (iv) expand the scope of the deductions from and adjustments to capital as compared to prior regulations.  Under the Basel III Capital Rules, for most banking organizations, the most common form of Additional Tier 1 capital is non-cumulative perpetual preferred stock and the most common form of Tier 2 capital is subordinated notes and a portion of the allowance for loan and lease losses, in each case, subject to the Basel III Capital Rules’ specific requirements.

 

Pursuant to the Basel III Capital Rules, the Company and Banks are subject to regulatory capital adequacy requirements promulgated by the Federal Reserve and the OCC. Failure by the Company or Bank to meet minimum capital requirements could result in certain mandatory and discretionary actions by the regulators that could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial statements. Under the capital requirements and the regulatory framework for prompt corrective action, the Company and Banks must meet specific capital guidelines that involve quantitative measures of the Company and Banks’ assets, liabilities and certain off-balance-sheet items as calculated under regulatory accounting practices. The Company’s and Banks’ capital amounts and classifications are also subject to qualitative judgments by regulators about components, risk weightings and other factors.

 

With respect to the Banks, the Basel III Capital Rules revise the Prompt Corrective Action (“PCA”) regulations adopted pursuant to Section 38 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, by: (i) introducing a CET1 ratio requirement at each PCA category (other than critically undercapitalized), with the required CET1 ratio being 6.5% for well capitalized status; (ii) increasing the minimum Tier 1 capital ratio requirement for each category, with the minimum Tier 1 capital ratio for well capitalized status being 8%; and (iii) eliminating the provision that provides that a bank with a composite supervisory rating of 1 may have a 3% leverage ratio and still be adequately capitalized. The Basel III Capital Rules do not change the total risk-based capital requirement for any PCA category.

 

The Basel III Capital Rules prescribe a standardized approach for risk weightings for a large and risk-sensitive number of categories, depending on the nature of the assets, generally ranging from 0% for U.S. Government and agency securities to 600% for certain equity exposures, and resulting in high-risk weights for a variety of asset classes.

 

Should the Company or Banks not meet the requirements of the Basel III Capital Rules, the Company and Banks would be subject to adverse regulatory action by their regulators, which action could result in material adverse consequences for the Company, Banks, and Company shareholders.

 

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As a result of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, the federal banking agencies were required to develop a “Community Bank Leverage Ratio” (the ratio of a bank’s tangible equity capital to average total consolidated assets) for financial institutions with assets of less than $10 billion.  A “qualifying community bank” that exceeds this ratio will be deemed to be in compliance with all other capital and leverage requirements, including the capital requirements to be considered “well capitalized” under Prompt Corrective Action statutes.  The federal banking agencies may consider a financial institution’s risk profile when evaluating whether it qualifies as a community bank for purposes of the capital ratio requirement. A financial institution could elect to be subject to this new definition as of March 31, 2020.

 

Community Bank Leverage Ratio Requirements. The Community Bank Leverage Ratio is an optional method to compute regulatory capital requirements. The Community Bank Leverage Ratio is designed to reduce the burden of BASEL III by removing requirements for calculating and reporting risk-based capital ratios for qualifying community banking organizations that opt into the framework. Qualifying community banking organizations that elect to use the CBLR framework and that maintain a leverage ratio of greater than 9 percent are considered to have satisfied the risk-based and leverage capital requirements in the agencies’ generally applicable capital rule. Additionally, such insured depository institutions are considered to have met the well capitalized ratio requirements for purposes of section 38 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. The Company has elected to use the CBLR framework. The 9 percent capital ratio has been reduced to 8 percent as of June 30, 2020 and will increase to 8.5 percent beginning on March 31, 2021.

 

As of December 31, 2020, the Banks exceeded all of their regulatory capital requirements and were designated as “well capitalized” under federal guidelines. See Note 16 to the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements,” which is included in Part II, Item 8 “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Prompt Corrective Action. Regulations adopted by the Agencies impose even more stringent capital requirements under prompt corrective action. The FDIC and other Agencies must take certain "prompt corrective action" when a bank fails to meet capital requirements. The regulations establish and define five capital levels: (i) "well capitalized," (ii) "adequately capitalized," (iii) "undercapitalized," (iv) "significantly undercapitalized" and (v) "critically undercapitalized." Increasingly severe restrictions are imposed on the payment of dividends and management fees, asset growth and other aspects of the operations of institutions that fall below the category of being "adequately capitalized." Undercapitalized institutions are required to develop and implement capital plans acceptable to the appropriate federal regulatory agency. Such plans must require that any company that controls the undercapitalized institution must provide certain guarantees that the institution will comply with the plan until it is adequately capitalized. As of December 31, 2020, each of the Banks was categorized as “well capitalized” under regulatory prompt corrective action provisions.

 

Restrictions on Dividends. The dividends paid to the Company by the Banks are the major source of Company cash flow. Various federal and state statutory provisions limit the amount of dividends banking subsidiaries are permitted to pay to their holding companies without regulatory approval. Federal Reserve policy further limits the circumstances under which bank holding companies may declare dividends. For example, a bank holding company should not continue its existing rate of cash dividends on its common stock unless its net income is sufficient to fully fund each dividend and its prospective rate of earnings retention appears consistent with its capital needs, asset quality and overall financial condition. In addition, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC have issued policy statements which provide that insured banks and bank holding companies should generally pay dividends only out of current operating earnings. Federal and state banking regulators may also restrict the payment of dividends by order.

 

First National Bank and United Bank, as national banks, generally may pay dividends, without obtaining the express approval of the OCC, in an amount up to its retained net profits for the preceding two calendar years plus retained net profits up to the date of any dividend declaration in the current calendar year. Retained net profits as defined by the OCC, consists of net income less dividends declared during the period. Boone Bank, Reliance Bank, State Bank and Iowa State Bank are also restricted under Iowa law to paying dividends only out of their undivided profits. Additionally, the payment of dividends by the Banks is affected by the requirement to maintain adequate capital pursuant to applicable capital adequacy guidelines and regulations, and the Banks generally are prohibited from paying any dividends if, following payment thereof, the Bank would be undercapitalized.

 

Reserves Against Deposits

 

The Federal Reserve, prior to March 26, 2020, requires all depository institutions to maintain reserves against their transaction accounts (primarily checking accounts) and non-personal time deposits. Generally, reserves of 3% had to be maintained against total transaction accounts of $127,500,000 or less (subject to an exemption not in excess of the first $16,900,000 of transaction accounts). A reserve of $3,318,000 plus 10% of amounts in excess of $127,500,000 had to be maintained in the event total transaction accounts exceeded $127,500,000. The balances maintained to meet the reserve requirements imposed by the Federal Reserve could be used to satisfy applicable liquidity requirements. Because required reserves must be maintained in the form of vault cash or a noninterest-bearing account at a Federal Reserve Bank, the effect of this reserve requirement was to reduce the earning assets of the Banks.

 

The Federal Reserve announced on March 15, 2020, that the reserve requirement ratios will be reduced to zero percent effective March 26, 2020. This action eliminated reserve requirements for all depository institutions. Currently the Board has no plans to re-impose reserve requirements but retains the right to do so.

 

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Regulatory Enforcement Authority

 

The enforcement powers available to federal and state banking regulators are substantial and include, among other things, the ability to assess civil monetary penalties, to issue cease-and-desist or removal orders and to initiate injunctive actions against banking organizations and institution-affiliated parties. In general, enforcement actions must be initiated for violations of laws and regulations and unsafe or unsound practices. Other actions, or inactions, may provide the basis for enforcement action, including misleading or untimely reports filed with regulatory authorities. Applicable law also requires public disclosure of final enforcement actions by the federal banking agencies.

 

National Monetary Policies

 

In addition to being affected by general economic conditions, the earnings and growth of the Banks are affected by the regulatory authorities’ policies, including the Federal Reserve. An important function of the Federal Reserve is to regulate the money supply, credit conditions and interest rates. Among the instruments used to implement these objectives are open market operations in U.S. Government securities, changes in reserve requirements against bank deposits and the Federal Reserve Discount Rate, which is the interest rate charged member banks to borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank. These instruments are used in varying combinations to influence overall growth and distribution of credit, bank loans, investments and deposits, and their use may also affect interest rates charged on loans or paid on deposits.

 

The monetary policies of the Federal Reserve have had a material impact on the operating results of commercial banks in the past and are expected to have a similar impact in the future. The U.S. Congress established three key objectives for monetary policy in the Federal Reserve Act: maximizing employment, stabilizing prices, and moderating long-term interest rates. The first two objectives are sometimes referred to as the Federal Reserve's dual mandate. Its duties have expanded over the years, and as of 2009 so include supervising and regulating banks, maintaining the stability of the financial system and providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions. The Federal Reserve conducts research into the economy and releases numerous publications. Also important in terms of effect on banks are controls on interest rates paid by banks on deposits and types of deposits that may be offered by banks. The Federal Open Market Committee (“FOMC”), a committee within the Federal Reserve System, is charged under the United States of America (“USA”) law with overseeing the nation's open market operations (i.e., the Federal Reserve Banks buying and selling of USA government securities). This Federal Reserve committee makes key decisions about interest rates and the growth of the USA money supply. The FOMC is the principal organization of USA national monetary policy. The Committee sets monetary policy by specifying the short-term objective for the Federal Reserve Bank's open market operations, which is usually a target level for the federal funds rate (the rate that commercial banks charge between themselves for overnight loans).

 

Availability of Information on Company Website

 

The Company files periodic reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. The Company makes available on or through its website free of charge all periodic reports filed by the Company with the SEC, including any amendments to such reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports have been electronically filed with the SEC. The address of the Company’s website on the Internet is: www.amesnational.com.

 

The Company will provide a paper copy of these reports free of charge upon written or telephonic request directed to John L. Pierschbacher, CFO, 405 5th Street, Ames, Iowa 50010 or (515) 232-6251 or by email request at info@amesnational.com. The information found on the Company’s website is not part of this or any other report the Company files with the SEC.

 

Information about our Executive Officers

 

The following table sets forth summary information about the executive officers of the Company and certain executive officers of the Banks. Each executive officer has served in his current position for the past five years with the exception of John P. Nelson, John L. Pierschbacher, Adam R. Snodgrass, and Robert A. Thomas. Mr. Nelson was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Company on June 29, 2018. Mr. Pierschbacher was appointed chief financial officer of the Company on June 29, 2018. Mr. Snodgrass was appointed as president of Iowa State Bank on October 25, 2019. Mr. Thomas was appointed as president of United Bank on July 1, 2020.

 

13

 

Name

 

Age

Position with the Company or Bank and Principal Occupation and Employment During the Past Five Years

     

 

 

 

Scott T. Bauer

58

President and Director of First National.

     

Stephen C. McGill

66

President and Director of State Bank.

     

John P. Nelson

54

Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of the Company. Director and Chairman of Boone Bank, Reliance Bank, State Bank and United Bank and Director of First National and Iowa State Bank; previously Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of the Company.

     

John L. Pierschbacher

61

Chief Financial Officer, Director and Secretary of the Company; previously Controller of the Company.

     

Jeffrey K. Putzier

59

President and Director of Boone Bank.

     

Richard J. Schreier

53

President and Director of Reliance Bank.

     

Adam R. Snodgrass

40

President and Director of Iowa State Bank; previously CEO, CFO and director of Iowa State Bank prior to the Iowa State Bank Acquisition.

     
Robert A. Thomas 61 President and Director of United Bank; previously Senior Loan Officer of United Bank.

 

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

 

Set forth below is a description of risk factors related to the Company’s business, provided to enable investors to assess, and be appropriately apprised of, certain risks and uncertainties the Company faces in conducting its business. An investor should carefully consider the risks described below and elsewhere in this Report, which could materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations or financial condition. The risks and uncertainties discussed below are also applicable to forward-looking statements contained in this Report and in other reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

 

Economic and Market Risk Conditions

 

Changes in general business, economic and political conditions may adversely affect the Companys business.

 

Our earnings and financial condition are affected by general business, economic and political conditions. For example, a depressed economic environment increases the likelihood of lower employment levels and recession, which could adversely affect our earnings and financial condition. General business and economic conditions that could affect us include short-term and long-term interest rates, inflation, fluctuations in both debt and equity capital markets and the strength of the national and local economies in which we operate. Political conditions can also affect our earnings through the introduction of new regulatory policies, changes in tax laws and changes in trade policies.

 

Our financial performance generally, and in particular the ability of customers to pay interest on and repay principal of outstanding loans and the value of collateral securing those loans, as well as demand for loans and other products and services we offer, is highly dependent upon the business environment not only in the markets where we operate but also in the state of Iowa generally and in the United States as a whole. A favorable business environment is generally characterized by, among other factors: economic growth; efficient capital markets; low inflation; low unemployment; high business and investor confidence; and strong business earnings. Unfavorable or uncertain economic and market conditions can be caused by: declines in economic growth, business activity, or investor or business confidence; limitations on the availability or increases in the cost of credit and capital; increases in inflation or interest rates; high unemployment; natural disasters; or a combination of these or other factors.

 

14

 

Economic conditions in our market, the state of Iowa, and the United States have been largely unfavorable and highly volatile in 2020 primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the COVID-19 pandemic wanes economic conditions may improve, but there can be no assurance that this improvement will continue or occur at a meaningful rate. Stagnant or declining economic conditions, whether due to continuing adverse effects of the pandemic or otherwise, could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

 

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting adverse economic conditions have adversely impacted, and could continue to adversely impact, our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the national, Iowa and local economies in which the Company conducts business, created significant volatility and disruption in financial markets, increased unemployment levels and created hardships for our customers. The spread of COVID-19 has caused illness, quarantines, cancellation of events and travel, business and school shutdowns, reduction in commercial activity and financial transactions, supply chain interruptions, increased unemployment, and overall economic and financial market instability.

 

Although the Company continued operating during the initial shutdowns, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruptions to our business and could continue to cause material disruptions in the future. Impacts to our business have included costs due to remote access for our employees and additional health and safety precautions implemented at our offices; increases in customers' inability to make scheduled loan payments; increases in requests for loan modifications; and an adverse effect on accounting estimates that we use to determine our provision and allowance for credit losses. A worsening or prolonged continuation of the current unfavorable economic conditions could further impact our provision and allowance for credit losses, and could impact the value of certain assets that we carry on our balance sheet such as goodwill.

 

While we have taken and are continuing to take precautions to protect the safety and well-being of our employees and customers, no assurance can be given that the steps being taken will be adequate or appropriate. The continued or renewed spread of COVID-19, including the new variants of the virus recently discovered, could negatively impact the availability of key personnel necessary to conduct our business, the business and operations of our third-party service providers who perform critical services for our business, or the businesses of many of our customers.

 

Among the factors outside our control that are likely to affect the impact the COVID-19 pandemic will ultimately have on our business are:

 

 

the pandemic's course, duration and severity;

 

the direct and indirect results of the pandemic, such as recessionary economic trends, including with respect to employment, wages and benefits, commercial activity, consumer spending and real estate market values;

 

the continuing impact of the pandemic on the ability of our loan customers to perform their loan obligations;

 

declines in collateral values;

 

political, legal and regulatory actions and policies in response to the pandemic, including the effects of restrictions on commerce and banking, such as moratoria and other suspensions of collections, foreclosures, and related obligations;

 

the timing, magnitude and effect of public spending, directly or through subsidies, its direct and indirect effects on commercial activity and incentives of employers and individuals to resume or increase employment, wages and benefits and commercial activity;

 

the timing and availability of direct and indirect governmental support for various financial assets;

 

potential longer-term effects of increased government spending on the interest rate environment and borrowing costs for non-governmental parties;

 

the ability of our employees and our third-party vendors to work effectively during the course of the pandemic; and

 

any increase in cyber and payment fraud related to COVID-19, as cybercriminals attempt to profit from disruption, given increased online banking, e-commerce and other online activity.

 

We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and related risks, although the rapid development and fluidity of the situation precludes any specific prediction as to its ultimate impact on us. However, if the pandemic continues to spread or otherwise result in a continuation or worsening of the current economic environment, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

 

15

 

Credit Risks

 

The Companys business depends on our ability to successfully manage credit risk.

 

The operation of our business requires us to manage credit risk. As a lender, we are exposed to the risk that our borrowers will be unable to repay their loans according to their terms, and that the collateral securing repayment of their loans, if any, may not be sufficient to ensure repayment. In addition, there are risks inherent in making any loan, including risks with respect to the period of time over which the loan may be repaid, risks relating to proper loan underwriting, risks resulting from changes in economic and industry conditions and risks inherent in dealing with individual borrowers. In order to successfully manage credit risk, we must, among other things, maintain disciplined and prudent underwriting standards, implement and observe appropriate procedures for monitoring our outstanding loans and ensure that our bankers follow those standards and procedures. The weakening of these standards or procedures for any reason, such as an attempt to attract higher yielding loans, a lack of discipline or diligence by our employees in underwriting and monitoring loans, our inability to adequately adapt policies and procedures to changes in economic or any other conditions affecting borrowers may negatively impact the quality of our loan portfolio, result in loan defaults, foreclosures and additional charge-offs and necessitate that we significantly increase our allowance for loan losses, therefore reducing our earnings. As a result, our inability to successfully manage credit risk, particularly during the period of economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

The commercial real estate loan portfolio is a significant part of the Companys business.

 

Commercial real estate loans were a significant portion of our total loan portfolio as of December 31, 2020. The market value of real estate securing these loans can fluctuate significantly in a short period of time as a result of market conditions in the geographic area in which the real estate is located. Adverse developments affecting real estate values in one or more of our markets could increase the credit risk associated with our loan portfolio. Additionally, real estate lending typically involves higher loan principal amounts, and the repayment of the loans generally is dependent, in large part, on sufficient income from the properties securing the loans to cover operating expenses and debt service. Economic events or governmental regulations outside of the control of the borrower or lender could negatively impact the future cash flow and market values of the affected properties.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the national, Iowa and local economies and in turn the Company’s borrowers. In particular, the Company’s management believes that the credit risk associated with the hospitality and entertainment loans included in the Company’s commercial real estate portfolio may be affected more quickly than other areas of the Company’s loan portfolio if the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The credit management team has remained in regular contact with these borrowers.

 

If the loans that are collateralized by real estate become troubled and the value of the real estate has been significantly impaired, then we may not be able to recover the full contractual amount of principal and interest that was anticipated at the time of originating the loan, which could cause an increase in charge-offs, resulting in the need to increase our provision for loan losses and adversely affecting our operating results and financial condition.

 

If the Companys actual loan losses exceed the allowance for loan losses or increase significantly, the Companys net income will decrease.

 

We maintain an allowance for loan losses at a level believed to be adequate to absorb estimated losses inherent in the existing loan portfolio. The level of the allowance reflects management’s continuing evaluation of industry concentrations; specific credit risks; credit loss experience; current loan portfolio quality; present economic, political and regulatory conditions; and unidentified losses inherent in the current loan portfolio.

 

Determination of the allowance is inherently subjective, and has become more challenging with the uncertainty of the effects and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it requires significant estimates and management’s judgment of credit risks and future trends, all of which may undergo material changes. Continuing deterioration in economic conditions affecting borrowers, new information regarding existing loans, identification of additional problem loans and other factors, both within and outside of our control, may require an increase in the allowance for loan losses. In addition, bank regulatory agencies periodically review our allowance and may require an increase in the provision for loan losses or the recognition of additional loan charge-offs, based on judgments different from those of management. Also, if charge-offs in future periods exceed the allowance for loan losses or increase significantly; we will need additional provisions to increase the allowance. Any increases in provisions will result in a decrease in net income and capital and may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

16

 

Loans to agricultural-related borrowers are subject to factors beyond the Companys control, including fluctuations in commodity and livestock prices, government trade policies and other risks, which could negatively impact the Companys loan portfolio.

 

A significant portion of our loan portfolio consists of loans to borrowers who are directly or indirectly affected by the health of the Iowa agricultural economy. During 2019 and 2020, the agricultural economy has experienced low grain prices which placed downward pressure on cash flow and profits from agricultural activities. Grain prices have recovered during the 4th quarter of 2020 and should relieve some of the pressure on cash flow and profits from agricultural activities. An extended period of low commodity and/or livestock prices, together with other risks to which our agricultural borrowers are subject, including poor weather conditions, higher input costs, changes in governmental support programs and uncertainty regarding governmental mandates affecting ethanol production, could result in reduced cash flows and profit margins, negatively affecting these borrowers and making it more difficult for them to repay their loan obligations to us. Moreover, recent changes in the U.S. trade policy, including uncertainty as to the imposition of tariffs, together with current tariffs, on products that our agricultural borrowers export to foreign markets could result in further volatility and deterioration of the price of agricultural products, providing further challenges and risk to our portfolio of agricultural loans. A general decline in the agricultural economy could also negatively affect us by reducing the value of agricultural real estate which secures some of our agricultural loans, creating the potential for greater losses if these borrowers are unable to repay their loans and we are forced to rely on this collateral. Moreover, a general decline in the agricultural economy could also negatively impact some of our commercial borrowers whose businesses are directly or indirectly dependent on the health of the agricultural economy. All of these risks, which are beyond our control, could produce losses in our loan portfolio and adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations.

 

Credit risk related to PPP loans.

 

There is credit risk on PPP loans if a determination is made by the SBA that there is a deficiency in the manner in which the loan was originated, funded, or serviced by the Company, such as an issue with the eligibility of a borrower to receive a PPP loan, which may or may not be related to the ambiguity in the laws, rules, and guidance regarding the operation of the PPP, or if the borrowers fraudulently obtained a PPP loan. In the event of a loss resulting from a default on a PPP loan and a determination by the SBA that there is a deficiency in the manner in which the PPP loan was originated, funded, or serviced by us, the SBA may deny its liability under the guaranty, reduce the amount of the guaranty, or if it has already paid under the guaranty, seek recovery of any loss related to the deficiency from us.

 

Liquidity and Interest Rate Risks

 

Fair values of investments in the Companys securities portfolio may adversely change.

 

As of December 31, 2020, the fair value of our securities portfolio was approximately $597.0 million. Factors beyond our control can significantly influence the fair value of securities in our portfolio and can cause potential adverse changes to the fair value of those securities. These factors include, but are not limited to, changes in interest rates, an unfavorable change in the liquidity of an investment, rating agency downgrades of the securities, reinvestment risk, liquidity risk, defaults by the issuer or individual mortgagors with respect to the underlying securities, and instability in the credit markets. Any of the foregoing factors could cause us to recognize an other-than- temporary impairment (OTTI) in future periods and result in realized losses that negatively impact earnings. The success of any investment activity is affected by general economic conditions. Unexpected volatility or illiquidity in the markets in which we hold securities could reduce our liquidity and stockholders' equity. To mitigate these risks, we have access to lines of credit that provide additional liquidity, if needed.

 

Our investment securities are analyzed quarterly to determine whether, in the opinion of management, any of the securities have OTTI. To the extent that any portion of the unrealized losses in our portfolio of investment securities is determined to have OTTI and is credit loss related, we will recognize a charge to our earnings in the quarter during which such determination is made, and our earnings and capital ratios will be adversely impacted. Generally, a fixed income security is determined to have OTTI when it appears unlikely that we will receive all of the principal and interest due in accordance with the original terms of the investment. In addition to credit losses, losses are recognized for a security having an unrealized loss if we have the intent to sell the security or if it is more likely than not that we will be required to sell the security before collection of the principal amount.

 

Changes in interest rates could adversely affect the Companys results of operations and financial condition.

 

Short-term federal funds interest rates have fallen 1.50% in 2020 after falling 0.75% in 2019. Intermediate and longer-term rates have also decreased during the same period in 2020 and 2019. This decrease in rates put pressure on the Company’s net interest margin as our earning assets (primarily our loan and investment portfolio) have longer maturities than our interest-bearing liabilities (primarily our deposits and other borrowings). With interest rates now at historically low levels, the Company’s challenge will be that rates remain at these historical low levels for an extended period of time or there is a potential for quickly rising interest rates in the future. In an extended period of low interest rates, interest income may decrease more quickly than interest expense. In a rising interest rate environment, interest expense will increase more quickly than interest income, as the interest-bearing liabilities reprice more quickly than earning assets, placing downward pressure on the net interest margin. A reduction in the net interest margin could negatively affect our results of operations, including earnings. In response to this challenge, we model quarterly the changes in income that would result from various changes in interest rates. Management believes our earning assets have the appropriate maturity and repricing characteristics to optimize earnings and interest rate risk positions.

 

17

 

The inability to deploy excess liquidity may adversely affect the Companys business.

 

Maintaining adequate liquidity is essential to the banking business. Excess liquidity or the inability to maintain liquidity through deposits, borrowing, sale of securities or other sources could have a substantial negative impact on our liquidity.

 

We maintain liquidity primarily through customer deposits and through access to other short-term funding sources, including advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB), Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) overnight borrowings and purchased federal funds. If governmental programs or economic conditions change so that we continue to have excess liquidity due to increases in deposit balances, we might experience excess liquidity issues. Our efforts to monitor and manage liquidity risk may not be successful or sufficient to deal with dramatic or unanticipated increase or reductions in our liquidity. In such events, our cost of funds may decrease, but our investments options become limited thereby reducing our net interest income. This situation could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition.

 

The Company relies on dividends and other payments from its Banks for substantially all of its revenue.

 

We are a separate and distinct legal entity from our Banks, and we receive substantially all of our operating cash flows from dividends and other payments from our Banks. These dividends and payments are the principal source of funds to pay dividends on our common stock. Various federal and state laws and regulations limit the amount of dividends that our Banks may pay to us. In addition, our right to participate in a distribution of assets upon a subsidiary’s liquidation or reorganization is subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary’s creditors. In the event our Banks are unable to pay dividends to us, we may not be able to pay our obligations or pay dividends on our common stock. The inability to receive dividends from our Banks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

Operational Risks

 

The Company may not be able to attract and retain key personnel and other skilled employees.

 

Our success depends, in large part, on the skills of our management team and our ability to retain, recruit and motivate key officers and employees. Our senior management team has significant industry experience, and their knowledge and relationships would be difficult to replace. None of our executive officers have employment agreements in keeping with the past practice of the Company and the Banks. Leadership changes will occur from time to time, and we cannot predict whether significant resignations will occur or whether we will be able to recruit additional qualified personnel. Competition for senior executives and skilled personnel in the financial services and banking industry is considerable, which means the cost of hiring, incentivizing and retaining skilled personnel may continue to increase. We need to continue to attract and retain key personnel and to recruit qualified individuals to succeed existing key personnel to ensure the continued growth and successful operation of our business. In addition, as a provider of commercial and agricultural banking services, we must attract and retain qualified banking personnel to continue to grow our business, and competition for such personnel can be intense. Our ability to effectively compete for senior executives and other qualified personnel by offering competitive compensation and benefit arrangements may be restricted by applicable banking laws and regulations. The loss of the services of any senior executive or other key personnel, or the inability to recruit and retain qualified personnel in the future, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. In addition, to attract and retain personnel with appropriate skills and knowledge to support our business, we may offer a variety of benefits, which could reduce our earnings or have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

 

The Company is subject to certain operational risks, including, but not limited to, data processing system failures, errors, data security breaches and customer or employee fraud.

 

There have been a number of publicized cases involving errors, fraud or other misconduct by employees of financial services firms in recent years. Misconduct by our employees could include hiding unauthorized activities from us, improper or unauthorized activities on behalf of our customers or improper use of confidential information. Employee fraud, errors and employee and customer misconduct could subject us to financial losses or regulatory sanctions and seriously harm our reputation. It is not always possible to prevent employee errors and misconduct, and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not be effective in all cases. Employee errors or misconduct could also subject us to civil claims for negligence.

 

18

 

Although we maintain a system of internal controls and procedures designed to reduce the risk of loss from employee or customer fraud or misconduct and employee errors as well as insurance coverage to mitigate against some operational risks, including data processing system failures and errors and customer or employee fraud; these internal controls may fail to prevent or detect such an occurrence, or such an occurrence may not be insured or exceed applicable insurance limits.

 

In addition, there have also been a number of cases where financial institutions have been the victim of fraud related to unauthorized wire and automated clearinghouse transactions. The facts and circumstances of each case vary but generally involve criminals posing as customers (i.e., stealing bank customers’ identities) to transfer funds out of the institution quickly in an effort to place the funds beyond recovery prior to detection. Although we have policies and procedures in place to verify the authenticity of our customers and prevent identity theft, we can provide no assurances that these policies and procedures will prevent all fraudulent transfers.  In addition, although we have safeguards in place, it is possible that our computer systems could be infiltrated by hackers or other intruders resulting in loss, destruction or misuse of our data or confidential information about our customers. We can provide no assurances that these safeguards will prevent all unauthorized infiltrations or breaches.  Identity theft, successful unauthorized intrusions and similar unauthorized conduct could result in reputational damage and financial losses to the Company.

 

An impairment charge of goodwill or other intangibles could have a material adverse impact on the Companys results of operations and financial condition.

 

Because the Company has grown in part through acquisitions, goodwill and intangible assets are included in the consolidated assets. Goodwill and intangible assets were $15.6 million as of December 31, 2020. Under generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), we are required to test the carrying value of goodwill and intangible assets at least annually or sooner if events occur that indicate impairment could exist. These events or circumstances could include a significant change in the business climate, including a sustained decline in a reporting unit’s fair value, legal and regulatory factors, operating performance indicators, competition and other factors. GAAP requires us to assign and then test goodwill at the reporting unit level. If over a sustained period of time we experience a decrease in our stock price and market capitalization, which may serve as an estimate of the fair value of our reporting unit, this may be an indication of impairment. If the fair value of our reporting unit is less than its net book value, we may be required to record goodwill impairment charges in the future. In addition, if the revenue and cash flows generated from any of our other intangible assets is not sufficient to support its net book value, we may be required to record an impairment charge. The amount of any impairment charge could be significant and could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations for the period in which the charge is taken.

 

Changes in accounting policies or accounting standards, or changes in how accounting standards are interpreted or applied, could materially affect how the Company reports its results of operations and financial condition.

 

Our accounting policies are fundamental to determining and understanding our results of operation and financial condition.  Some of these policies require use of estimates and assumptions that may affect the value of our assets or liabilities and financial results.  Any changes in our accounting policies could materially affect our financial statements.  From time to time, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the “FASB”) and the SEC change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the preparation of our financial statements In addition, accounting standard setters and those who interpret the accounting standards (such as the FASB, the SEC, banking regulators and our outside auditors) may change positions on how these standards should be applied. Changes in financial accounting and reporting standards and changes in current interpretations may be beyond our control, can be difficult to predict and could materially affect how we report our results of operations and financial condition. We may be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively or apply an existing standard differently and retroactively, which may result in the Company being required to restate prior period financial statements in material amounts. In particular, the FASB issued a new accounting standard requiring companies to estimate current expected credit losses. The standard, which is a major change for banking organizations, becomes effective for the Company on January 1, 2023. The new standard is likely to result in more timely recognition of credit losses than under the previous incurred loss model, and the Company is evaluating the extent to which the new guidance will affect results of operations.

 

The Companys operations are concentrated in Iowa.

 

Our operations are concentrated primarily in central, north-central and south-central Iowa. As a result of this geographic concentration, our results of operations may correlate to the economic conditions in this area. Any deterioration in economic conditions in central, north-central or south-central Iowa, particularly in the industries on which the area depends (including agriculture which, in turn, is dependent upon commodity prices, weather conditions, trade policies and government support programs), may adversely affect the quality of our loan portfolio and the demand for our products and services, and accordingly, our financial condition and results of operations.

 

19

 

Damage to the Companys reputation could adversely affect our business.

 

Our business depends upon earning and maintaining the trust and confidence of our customers, investors, and employees. Damage to our reputation could cause significant harm to our business. Harm to our reputation could arise from numerous sources, including employee misconduct, compliance failures, litigation, breach of information security, or governmental investigations, among other things. In addition, a failure to deliver appropriate standards of service, or a failure or perceived failure to treat customers and clients fairly could result in customer dissatisfaction, litigation, breach of information security, and heightened regulatory scrutiny, all of which could lead to lost revenue, higher operating costs and harm to our reputation. Adverse publicity about us, whether or not true, may also result in harm to our business. Should any events or circumstances that could undermine our reputation occur, there can be no assurance that the additional costs and expenses that we may incur in addressing such issues would not adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Changes in technology could be costly.

 

The financial services industry is continually undergoing technological changes with frequent introductions of new technology-driven products and services. In addition to improving customer services, the effective use of technology increases efficiency and enables financial institutions to reduce costs. Our future success will depend, in part, on our ability to address the needs of our customers by using technology to provide products and services that will satisfy customer demands for convenience, as well as to create additional efficiencies in our operations. Many of our competitors have substantially greater resources to invest in technological improvements and there is a risk we could become less competitive if we are unable to take advantage of these improvements due to the cost limitations or otherwise.

 

A breach of information security, compliance breach, or error by one of the Companys agents or vendors could negatively affect the Companys reputation and business.

 

We depend on data processing, communication and information exchange on a variety of computing platforms and networks and over the Internet. A cyber-attack on our systems could result in the theft, loss or destruction of our information or the theft or improper use of confidential information about our customers, any of which could harm our reputation. We cannot be certain all of our systems are entirely free from vulnerability to attack, despite safeguards which have been installed. We also outsource certain key aspects of our data processing and communication to certain third-party providers. While we have selected these third-party providers carefully, we cannot control their actions or their degree of compliance with their own systems of internal control. If information security is breached, or one of our service providers or vendors breaches compliance procedures, our or our customers’ information could be lost or misappropriated, resulting in financial loss or costs to us or damage to our customers or others. If information security is breached either on our systems or those of our vendors, our financial condition, results of operations, reputation and future prospects could be adversely affected.

 

The Companys accounting policies and methods require management to make estimates about matters that are inherently uncertain.

 

Our accounting policies and methods are fundamental to how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. Our management must exercise judgment in selecting and applying many of these accounting policies and methods in order to ensure they comply with GAAP and reflect management's judgment as to the most appropriate manner in which to record and report our financial condition and results of operations. In some cases, management must select the accounting policy or method to apply from two or more alternatives, any of which might be reasonable under the circumstances. The application of that chosen accounting policy or method might result in us reporting different amounts than would have been reported under a different alternative. If management's estimates or assumptions are incorrect, we may experience a material loss.

 

We have identified three accounting policies as being "critical" to the presentation of our financial condition and results of operations because they require management to make particularly subjective and complex judgments about matters that are inherently uncertain and because of the likelihood that materially different amounts would be reported under different conditions or using different assumptions. These critical accounting policies relate to (1) the fair value and possible impairment losses on investment securities available for sale, (2) the allowance for loan losses, and (3) impairment of goodwill. Because of the inherent uncertainty of the estimates required to apply these policies, no assurance can be given that application of alternative policies or methods might not result in the reporting of different amounts of the fair value of securities available for sale, the allowance for loan losses, goodwill valuation and, accordingly, net income.

 

From time to time, the FASB and the SEC change the financial accounting and reporting standards or the interpretation of those standards that govern the preparation of our external financial statements. These changes are beyond our control, can be difficult to predict and could materially impact how we report our financial condition and results of operations.

 

20

 

Changes in these standards are continuously occurring, and given the current economic and regulatory environment, more significant changes may occur. The implementation of such changes could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

Strategic and External Risks

 

The Company may have difficulty continuing to grow, and even if we do grow, our growth may strain our resources and limit our ability to expand operations successfully.

 

Our future profitability will depend in part on our continued ability to grow both loans and deposits; however, we may not be able to sustain our historical growth rate or be able to grow at all. In addition, our future success will depend on competitive factors and on the ability of our senior management to continue to maintain an appropriate system of internal controls and procedures and manage a growing number of customer relationships. We may not be able to implement changes or improvements to these internal controls and procedures in an efficient or timely manner and may discover deficiencies in existing systems and controls. Consequently, continued growth, if achieved, may place a strain on our operational infrastructure, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

The Company faces competition from larger financial institutions.

 

The banking and financial services business in our market area continues to be a highly competitive field and is becoming more competitive as a result of:

 

 

changes in regulations;

 

changes in technology and product delivery systems; and

 

the accelerating pace of consolidation among financial services providers.

 

It may be difficult for us to compete effectively in the market, and our results of operations could be adversely affected by the nature or pace of change in competition. We compete for loans, deposits and customers with various bank and non-bank financial services providers, many of which are much larger in total assets and capitalization, have greater access to capital markets, offer a broader array of financial services or do not pay federal income taxes. Our strategic planning efforts continue to focus on capitalizing on our strengths in local markets while working to identify opportunities for improvement to gain competitive advantages.

 

Federal Government Spending and increase in monetary supply could adversely affect our business.

 

The banking and financial services business is negatively affected by increased federal government spending and the increased monetary supply. The increase in the balances of customers deposit accounts due to government stimulus programs and increase in the monetary supply puts a strain on the Company’s capital ratios. The increase in the money supply also keeps interest rates at historically low levels and may cause inflation. Our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by these changes if continued over a period of time.

 

The Company may be adversely affected by risks associated with completed and potential acquisitions.

 

We have in the past, and may in the future, acquire other financial institutions or bank offices when we believe such acquisitions support our business strategy. Acquisitions involve many risks including: (i) incurring time and expense associated with identifying, evaluating and negotiating potential acquisitions, resulting in management’s attention being diverted from operation of our existing business, (ii) the risk that the acquired business will not perform to our expectations, including a failure to realize anticipated synergies or costs savings, (iii) entering markets in which we have limited or no direct prior experience, (iv) difficulties or increased expenses associated with integrating the operations of the acquired business, (v) the potential for claims or unexpected liabilities arising out of the acquired business, and (vi) the potential loss of key employees or customers of the acquired business. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in overcoming these risks or any other problems encountered in connection with acquisitions we may undertake.

 

21

 

Current and future government regulations may increase the Companys costs of doing business.

 

Current and future legislation and the policies established by federal and state regulatory authorities will affect our operations. We are subject to extensive supervision of, and examination by, federal and state regulatory authorities which may limit our growth and the return to our shareholders by restricting certain activities, such as:

 

 

the payment of dividends to our shareholders;

 

the payment of dividends to the Company by the Banks;

 

possible mergers with or acquisitions of or by other institutions;

 

investment policies;

 

loans and interest rates on loans;

 

interest rates paid on deposits;

 

expansion of branch offices; and/or

 

the ability to provide or expand securities or trust services.

 

The Dodd-Frank Act represented a comprehensive overhaul of the financial services industry within the United States and, among many other things, established the federal BCFP and required the BCFP and other federal agencies to implement many significant rules and regulations. Compliance with the law and regulations has resulted in additional costs, and not all the rules and regulations have been finalized.

 

We cannot predict what changes, if any, will be made to existing federal and state legislation and regulations or the effect that any changes may have on future business and earnings prospects, although the pace of the new and proposed regulations have slowed. The cost of compliance with future regulatory requirements may adversely affect our net income.

 

Severe weather, natural disasters, pandemics, acts of war or terrorism or other adverse external events could significantly impact our business.

 

Severe weather, natural disasters, widespread disease or pandemics, acts of war or terrorism or other adverse external events could have a significant impact on our ability to conduct business. In addition, such events could affect the stability of our deposit base, impair the ability of borrowers to repay outstanding loans, impair the value of collateral securing loans, cause significant property damage, result in loss of revenue or cause us to incur additional expenses. The COVID-19 pandemic may have an adverse impact on our customers that are directly or indirectly engaged in industries that could be affected by the pandemic, such as, hospitality and entertainment. Their businesses may be adversely affected by quarantines and travel restrictions in areas most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, entire industries, such as agriculture, may be adversely impacted due to lower exports caused by reduced economic activity in the affected areas. As a result, the COVID-19 pandemic may materially and adversely impact various aspects of our operations and financial results, by requiring us to take certain responsive actions, including but not limited to, increasing our loan loss reserves, incurring costs for emergency preparedness, closing branch offices or branch operations and requiring that employees work remotely, which may lead to personnel shortages. The occurrence of any of the events in the future could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

 

Risks related to the Companys Stock

 

The Company may not pay dividends on its common stock in the future.

 

Holders of our common stock are entitled to receive only such dividends as our Board of Directors may declare out of funds legally available for such payments. However, our Board of Directors may, in its sole discretion, change the amount or frequency of dividends or discontinue the payment of dividends entirely. In addition, we are a bank holding company, and our ability to declare and pay dividends is dependent on certain federal regulatory considerations, including the guidelines of the Federal Reserve regarding capital adequacy and dividends. In addition, our ability to pay dividends depends primarily on our receipt of dividends from our Banks, the payment of which is subject to numerous limitations under federal and state banking laws, regulations and policies. See "Item 1. Business—Supervision and Regulation—Dividends." As a consequence of these various limitations and restrictions, we may not be able to make, or may have to reduce or eliminate, the payment of dividends on our common stock. Any change in the level of our dividends or the suspension of the payment thereof could have a material adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.

 

Risk related to volatility of the Companys stock.

 

The trading volume in our common stock on the NASDAQ Capital Market is relatively limited compared to those of companies with larger capitalization listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market, the NASDAQ Global Markets, the New York Stock Exchange or other consolidated reporting systems or stock exchanges. A change in the supply or demand for our common stock, or other events affecting our business, may have a more significant impact on the price of our stock than would be the case for more actively traded companies.

 

22

 

The Company’s common stock is currently included in the Russell 3000 index. Stocks that are to be included in the Russell 3000 index are determined annually based on market capitalization in May. Stocks that are no longer included in the Russell 3000 index when it is reconstituted in June of this year may have less market demand for the purchase of their stock, which may put downward pressure on their stock price. There is a possibility that the Company’s market capitalization will no longer qualify for its inclusion in the Russell 3000 index when it is reconstituted in June.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

None.

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

 

The Company's office is housed in the main office of First National located at 405 5th Street, Ames, Iowa and occupies approximately 4,200 square feet. There is a lease agreement between the Company and First National. The main office owned by First National, consists of approximately 45,000 square feet. In addition to its main office, First National conducts its business through eight full-service offices, the West Ames office, North Grand office, Ankeny office, West Glen office, Valley Junction office, Johnston office, Downtown Osceola office, and Jeffreys office. The West Ames and North Grand offices are located in Ames, Iowa. The office in Ankeny, Iowa occupies approximately 14,000 square feet, of which approximately 2,188 square feet is leased to three tenants for business purposes. The West Glenn office is located in West Des Moines, Iowa and occupies approximately 12,500 square feet and is leased from the Company. The West Glen office leases approximately 2,000 square feet to one tenant. The Valley Junction office is located in West Des Moines, Iowa. The Johnston office is leased and consists of 3,800 square feet. The Downtown Osceola and Jefferies offices are located in Osceola, Iowa. All of the properties owned by the Company and First National are free of any mortgages.

 

State Bank conducts its business from its main office located at 1025 Sixth Street, Nevada, Iowa. This property is owned by State Bank free of any mortgage.

 

Boone Bank conducts its business from its main office located at 716 Eighth Street, Boone, Iowa and from one additional office also located in Boone, Iowa. All properties are owned by Boone Bank free of any mortgage.

 

Reliance Bank conducts its business from its main office located at 606 Broad Street, Story City, Iowa. Approximately 11,400 square feet of the Story City office is leased to twelve individual tenants and one commercial tenant. Reliance also has a full-service office located in Garner, Iowa. All properties are owned by Reliance Bank free of any mortgage.

 

United Bank conducts its business from its main office located at 2101 South Center Street, Marshalltown, Iowa and from a full-service office also located in Marshalltown, Iowa. All properties are owned by United Bank free of any mortgage.

 

Iowa State Bank’s main office is located at 401 West Adams Street, Creston, Iowa. In addition to its main office, Iowa State Bank conducts its business through two full-service offices, the Highway 34 office and Lenox office. The Highway 34 office is located in Creston, Iowa. All properties are owned by Iowa State Bank free of any mortgage.

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

 

The Banks are from time-to-time parties to various legal actions arising in the normal course of business. The Company believes that there is no threatened or pending proceeding against the Company or the Banks, which, if determined adversely, would have a material adverse effect on the business or financial condition of the Company or the Banks.

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

 

Not applicable.

 

23

 

PART II

 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANTS COMMON EQUITY, RELATED SHAREHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

 

On February 26, 2021, the Company had approximately 285 shareholders of record and approximately 2,185 additional beneficial owners whose shares were held in nominee titles through brokerage or other accounts. The Company’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol “ATLO”. Trading in the Company’s common stock is, however, relatively limited. The closing price of the Company’s common stock was $22.86 on February 26, 2021.

 

The Company declared aggregate annual cash dividends in 2020 and 2019 of approximately $6,859,000 and $8,861,000, respectively, or $0.75 per share in 2020 and $0.96 per share in 2019. In January 2021, the Company declared a quarterly cash dividend of approximately $2,281,000 or $0.25 per share.

 

The decision to declare cash dividends in the future and the amount thereof rests within the discretion of the Board of Directors of the Company and will be subject to, among other things, the future earnings, capital requirements and financial condition of the Company and certain regulatory restrictions imposed on the payment of dividends by the Banks. Such restrictions are discussed in greater detail in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources and in Note 16 (Regulatory Matters) to the Company’s financial statements included herein.

 

The Company does not maintain or sponsor any equity compensation plans covering its executives or employees of the Company or the Banks.

 

No Stock Repurchase Plan is in place as of December 31, 2020, as the previous Stock Repurchase Plan was completed in 2020 and no new Stock Repurchase Plan was approved. In November 2019, the Board of Directors approved a Stock Repurchase Plan which provided for the repurchase of up to 100,000 shares of the Company’s common stock. This Stock Repurchase Plan replaced the previous Stock Repurchase Plan (approved in November 2018) that expired in November 2019. The Company purchased 100,000 shares in 2020 and 70,558 shares in 2019 under the Stock Repurchase Plans that were in effect during 2020 and 2019.

 

The following table provides information with respect to purchases made by or on behalf of the Company or any “affiliated purchaser” (as defined in rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934), of the Company’s common stock during the three months ended December 31, 2020.

 

                   

Total

         
                   

Number

   

Maximum

 
                   

of Shares

   

Number of

 
                   

Purchased as

   

Shares that

 
   

Total

           

Part of

   

May Yet Be

 
   

Number

   

Average

   

Publicly

   

Purchased

 
   

of Shares

   

Price Paid

   

Announced

   

Under

 

Period

 

Purchased

   

Per Share

   

Plans

   

The Plan

 
                                 

October 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020 (1)

    -     $ -       -       -  
                                 

November 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020 (1) and (2)

    -     $ -       -       -  
                                 

December 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 (2)

    -     $ -       -       -  
                                 

Total

    -               -          

 

(1)

The Stock Repurchase Plan adopted in November, 2019 expired in November, 2020 and no shares remain available for purchase under this plan. No purchases were made under this plan during October or November, 2020.

(2)

There is no Stock Repurchase Plan in effect after the Stock Repurchase Plan expired in November, 2020.

 

24

 

ITEM 6. SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

 

The following financial data of the Company for the five years ended December 31, 2016 through 2020 is derived from the Company's historical audited financial statements and related footnotes. The information set forth below should be read in conjunction with "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation" and the consolidated financial statements and related notes contained elsewhere in this Annual Report.

 

Selected Financial Data

 

   

Years Ended December 31,

 

(dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)

 

2020

   

2019

   

2018

   

2017

   

2016

 
                                         

STATEMENT OF INCOME DATA

                                       

Interest income

  $ 62,941     $ 56,177     $ 49,727     $ 45,794     $ 44,046  

Interest expense

    8,098       10,929       7,603       5,581       4,135  
                                         

Net interest income

    54,843       45,248       42,124       40,213       39,911  

Provision for loan losses

    5,681       1,314       639       1,520       524  
                                         

Net interest income after provision for loan losses

    49,162       43,934       41,485       38,693       39,387  

Noninterest income

    10,620       8,629       7,901       7,993       8,088  

Noninterest expense

    36,551       31,522       27,966       25,405       24,935  
                                         

Income before provision for income tax

    23,231       21,041       21,420       21,281       22,540  

Provision for income tax

    4,381       3,847       4,406       7,584       6,805  
                                         

Net income

  $ 18,850     $ 17,194     $ 17,014     $ 13,697     $ 15,735  
                                         
                                         

DIVIDENDS AND EARNINGS PER SHARE DATA

                                       

Cash dividends declared*

  $ 6,859     $ 8,861     $ 10,890     $ 8,194     $ 7,821  

Cash dividends declared per share*

  $ 0.75     $ 0.96     $ 1.17     $ 0.88     $ 0.84  

Basic and diluted earnings per share

  $ 2.06     $ 1.86     $ 1.83     $ 1.47     $ 1.69  

Weighted average shares outstanding

    9,148,244       9,236,989       9,309,649       9,310,913       9,310,913  
                                         

BALANCE SHEET DATA

                                       

Total assets

  $ 1,975,648     $ 1,737,183     $ 1,455,687     $ 1,375,060     $ 1,366,453  

Net loans

    1,129,505       1,048,147       890,461       771,500       752,182  

Deposits

    1,716,446       1,493,175       1,221,084       1,134,391       1,109,409  

Stockholders' equity

    209,486       187,579       172,865       170,753       165,105  

Equity to assets ratio

    10.60 %     10.80 %     11.88 %     12.42 %     12.08 %
                                         

FIVE YEAR FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE

                                       

Net income

  $ 18,850     $ 17,194     $ 17,014     $ 13,697     $ 15,735  

Average assets

    1,866,188       1,504,176       1,384,740       1,368,680       1,330,906  

Average stockholders' equity

    198,880       181,300       168,703       170,762       167,750  
                                         

Return on assets (net income divided by average assets)

    1.01 %     1.14 %     1.23 %     1.00 %     1.18 %

Return on equity (net income divided by average equity)

    9.48 %     9.48 %     10.09 %     8.02 %     9.38 %

Net interest margin (net interest income divided by average earning assets)**

    3.13 %     3.21 %     3.23 %     3.25 %     3.36 %

Efficiency ratio (noninterest expense divided by noninterest income plus net interest income)

    55.83 %     58.51 %     55.90 %     52.70 %     51.95 %

Dividend payout ratio (dividends per share divided by net income per share)*

    36.41 %     51.61 %     63.93 %     59.86 %     49.70 %

Dividend yield (dividends per share divided by closing year-end market price)*

    3.12 %     3.42 %     4.60 %     3.16 %     2.55 %

Equity to assets ratio (average equity divided by average assets)

    10.66 %     12.05 %     12.18 %     12.48 %     12.60 %

 

* Prior to 2020, dividends were declared in one quarter and then paid in the subsequent quarter. For the quarter ended December 31, 2020 the dividend was not declared until January 13, 2021 and will be paid in the first quarter of 2021.

** See page 32 for further discussion of this Non-GAAP financial measure.

 

25

 

ITEM 7. MANAGEMENTS DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

Overview

 

The following discussion is provided for the consolidated operations of the Company and its Banks. The purpose of this discussion is to focus on significant factors affecting the Company's financial condition and results of operations.

 

The Company does not engage in any material business activities apart from its ownership of the Banks. Products and services offered by the Banks are for commercial and consumer purposes, including loans, deposits and wealth management services. Some Banks also offer investment services through a third-party broker-dealer. The Company employs 15 individuals to assist with financial reporting, human resources, marketing, audit, compliance, technology systems, property appraisals, training and the coordination of management activities, in addition to 265 full-time equivalent individuals employed by the Banks.

 

The Company’s primary competitive strategy is to utilize seasoned and competent Bank management and local decision-making authority to provide customers with prompt response times and flexibility in the products and services offered. This strategy is viewed as providing an opportunity to increase revenues through the creation of a competitive advantage over other financial institutions. The Company also strives to remain operationally efficient to improve profitability while enabling the Banks to offer more competitive loan and deposit rates.

 

The principal sources of Company revenues and cash flows are: (i) interest and fees earned on loans made or held by the Company and Banks; (ii) interest on investments, primarily on bonds, held by the Banks; (iii) fees on wealth management services; (iv) service charges on deposit accounts maintained at the Banks; (v) merchant and card fees; (vi) gain on the sale of loans held for sale; and (vii) securities gains. The Company’s principal expenses are: (i) interest expense on deposit accounts and other borrowings; (ii) salaries and employee benefits; (iii) data processing costs primarily associated with maintaining the Banks’ loan and deposit functions; (iv) occupancy expenses for maintaining the Banks’ facilities; (v) professional fees; and (vi) business development. The largest component contributing to the Company’s net income is net interest income, which is the difference between interest earned on earning assets (primarily loans and investments) and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities (primarily deposit accounts and other borrowings). One of management’s principal functions is to manage the spread between interest earned on earning assets and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities in an effort to maximize net interest income while maintaining an appropriate level of interest rate risk.

 

The Company reported net income of $18,850,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $17,194,000 for the year ended December 31, 2019. This represents an increase in net income of 9.6% when comparing 2020 with 2019. The improvement in earnings in 2020 from 2019 is primarily the result of the Iowa State Bank Acquisition (the “Acquisition”) and a reduction in interest expense due to declines in market rates, offset in part by an increase in the provision for loan losses. Earnings per share for 2020 were $2.06 compared to $1.86 in 2019. All six Banks demonstrated profitable operations during 2020 and 2019.

 

The Company’s return on average equity for 2020 and 2019 was 9.48% for both periods. The return on average assets for 2020 was 1.01% compared to 1.14% in 2019. The decrease in return on return on average assets when comparing 2020 to 2019 was primarily a result of a higher asset base due to the increase in deposits.

 

The following discussion will provide a summary review of important items relating to:

 

 

Challenges and COVID-19 Status, Risks and Uncertainties

 

Key Performance Indicators

 

Industry Results

 

Critical Accounting Policies

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

 

Income Statement Review

 

Balance Sheet Review

 

Asset Quality Review and Credit Risk Management

 

Liquidity and Capital Resources

 

Interest Rate Risk

 

Inflation

 

Forward-Looking Statements and Business Risks

 

26

 

Challenges and COVID-19 Status, Risks and Uncertainties

 

Management has identified certain events or circumstances that have the potential to negatively impact the Company’s financial condition and results of operations in the future and is attempting to position the Company to best respond to those challenges.

 

 

If interest rates increase significantly over a relatively short period of time due to higher inflationary numbers or other factors, the interest rate environment may present a challenge to the Company. Increases in interest rates may negatively impact the Company’s net interest margin if interest expense increases more quickly than interest income, thus placing downward pressure on net interest income. The Company’s earning assets (primarily its loan and investment portfolio) have longer maturities than its interest-bearing liabilities (primarily deposits and other borrowings); therefore, in a rising interest rate environment, interest expense will tend to increase more quickly than interest income as the interest-bearing liabilities reprice more quickly than earning assets, resulting in a reduction in net interest income. In response to this challenge, the Banks model quarterly the changes in income that would result from various changes in interest rates. Management believes Bank earning assets have the appropriate maturity and repricing characteristics to optimize earnings and the Banks’ interest rate risk positions.

 

 

If market interest rates in the three to five year term remain at low levels as compared to the short term interest rates, the interest rate environment may present a challenge to the Company. The Company’s earning assets (typically priced at market interest rates in the three to five year range) will reprice at lower interest rates, but the deposits will not reprice at significantly lower interest rates, therefore the net interest income may decrease. Management believes Bank earning assets have the appropriate maturity and repricing characteristics to optimize earnings and the Banks’ interest rate risk positions.

 

 

The agricultural community is subject to commodity price fluctuations. Extended periods of low commodity prices, higher input costs or poor weather conditions could result in reduced profit margins, reducing demand for goods and services provided by agriculture-related businesses, which, in turn, could affect other businesses in the Company’s market area. Moreover, changes in U.S. trade policy could create further volatility for commodities prices as the volume of exports of agricultural products to these foreign markets could be adversely impacted. Lastly, uncertainty regarding governmental mandates affecting ethanol production could reduce the demand for corn in the Company’s trade area, thus introducing further price volatility for this commodity. Any combination of these factors could produce losses within the Company's agricultural loan portfolio and in the commercial loan portfolio with respect to borrowers whose businesses are directly or indirectly impacted by the health of the agricultural economy.

 

The Company conducts business in the State of Iowa and Iowa began to place significant restrictions on companies and individuals on March 9, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The State of Iowa has eased many of the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As an organization that focuses on community banking, we are concerned about the health of our customers, employees and local communities and keep that thought at the forefront of our decisions. The Company’s bank lobbies are open to the public, with business also being transacted through our drive up facilities, online, telephone or by appointment.

 

The onset and continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly heightened the level of challenges, risks and uncertainties facing our business and continuation of operations, including the following:

 

 

As the economic slowdown continues to evolve due to the pandemic, some of the Company’s customers may experience decreased revenues, which may correlate to an inability to make timely loan payments or maintain payrolls. This, in turn, could adversely impact the revenues and earnings of the Company by, among other things, requiring further increases in the allowance for loan losses and increases in the level of charge-offs in the loan portfolio. Management anticipates additional increases in the allowance if the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to negatively impact the loan portfolio.

 

 

Market interest rates have declined significantly and these reductions, especially if prolonged, could adversely affect our net interest income, net interest margin and earnings;

 

 

We may experience a potential slowdown in demand for our products and services, including the demand for traditional loans, although we believe the decline may be offset, in whole or in part, due to the new volume of PPP loans under the CARES Act and other governmental programs established in response to the pandemic;

 

 

We have experienced, and anticipate we will continue to experience, an increase in risk of delinquencies, defaults and foreclosures, as well as declining collateral values and further impairment of the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans, all of which may result in additional credit charges and other losses in our loan portfolio;

 

27

 

 

Goodwill is currently evaluated for impairment quarterly and goodwill has been determined to not be impaired as of December 31, 2020. In the future goodwill may be impaired if the effects of the economic slowdown negatively impacts our net income and fair value, particularly of our most recent acquisition. An impairment of goodwill would decrease the Company’s earnings during the period in which the impairment is recorded;

 

 

Declines in fair value of investment securities in our portfolio could result in impairment charges and reduce the unrealized gains reported as part of our consolidated comprehensive income (loss); and

 

 

In meeting our objective to maintain our capital levels and liquidity position through the COVID-19 pandemic, our Board of Directors could reduce or determine to altogether forego payment of future dividends in order to maintain and/or strengthen our capital and liquidity position.

 

Key Performance Indicators

 

Certain key performance indicators for the Company and the industry are presented in the following chart. The industry figures are compiled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and are derived from 5,001 commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the FDIC. Management reviews these indicators on a quarterly basis for purposes of comparing the Company’s performance from quarter to quarter against the industry as a whole.

 

Selected Indicators for the Company and the Industry

 

   

Years Ended December 31,

 
   

2020

   

2019

   

2018

 
   

Company

   

Industry

   

Company

   

Industry

   

Company

   

Industry

 
                                                 

Return on assets

    1.01 %     0.72 %     1.14 %     1.29 %     1.23 %     1.35 %
                                                 

Return on equity

    9.48 %     6.88 %     9.48 %     11.38 %     10.09 %     11.98 %
                                                 

Net interest margin

    3.13 %     2.82 %     3.21 %     3.36 %     3.23 %     3.40 %
                                                 

Efficiency ratio

    55.83 %     59.78 %     58.51 %     56.63 %     55.90 %     56.27 %
                                                 

Capital ratio

    10.66 %     8.81 %     12.05 %     9.66 %     12.18 %     9.70 %

 

Key performance indicators include:

 

 

Return on Assets

 

This ratio is calculated by dividing net income by average assets. It is used to measure how effectively the assets of the Company are being utilized in generating income. The Company’s return on assets ratio was higher than the industry average for 2020.

 

 

Return on Equity

 

This ratio is calculated by dividing net income by average equity. It is used to measure the net income or return the Company generated for the shareholders’ equity investment in the Company. The Company’s return on equity ratio was higher than the industry average for 2020.

 

 

Net Interest Margin

 

This ratio is calculated by dividing tax-equivalent net interest income by average earning assets. Earning assets consist primarily of loans and investments that earn interest. This ratio is used to measure how well the Company is able to maintain interest rates on earning assets above those of interest-bearing liabilities, which is the interest expense paid on deposit accounts and other borrowings. The Company’s net interest margin was higher than the industry average for 2020.

 

28

 

 

Efficiency Ratio

 

This ratio is calculated by dividing noninterest expense by net interest income and noninterest income. The ratio is a measure of the Company’s ability to manage noninterest expenses. The Company’s efficiency ratio was lower than the industry average for 2020.

 

 

Capital Ratio

 

The capital ratio is calculated by dividing average total equity capital by average total assets. It measures the level of average assets that are funded by shareholders’ equity. Given an equal level of risk in the financial condition of two companies, the higher the capital ratio, generally the more financially sound the company. The Company’s capital ratio was higher than the industry average for 2020.

 

Industry Results

 

The FDIC Quarterly Banking Profile reported the following results for the fourth quarter of 2020:

 

Full-Year 2020 Net Income Declines 36.5% to $147.9 Billion

 

For the 5,001 FDIC-insured commercial banks and savings institutions, full-year 2020 net income totaled $147.9 billion, a decline of $84.9 billion (36.5%) from 2019. The decline was primarily attributable to higher provision expenses in the first half of 2020 tied to pandemic-related deterioration in economic activity. Provision expenses increased by $77.1 billion (140%), and net interest income declined by $20 billion (3.7%). Average net interest margin (NIM) declined by 54 basis points from 2019 to 2.82%, as the yield on average earning assets declined at a faster rate than the cost of funds. The average return on assets (ROA) ratio declined from 1.29% in 2019 to 0.72% in 2020.

 

Quarterly Net Income Increases 9.1% From a Year Ago to $59.9 Billion

 

Fourth quarter 2020 quarterly net income totaled $59.9 billion, an increase of $5 billion (9.1%) from a year ago. The primary driver of higher net income this quarter was the reduction in provision expenses. More than half of all banks (57.4%) reported year-over-year increases in quarterly net income. The share of unprofitable institutions remained relatively stable from a year ago at 7.3%. The average ROA ratio was 1.11% during fourth quarter 2020, down 8 basis points from a year ago but below a recent high of 1.41% in third quarter 2018.

 

Net Interest Margin Remains Unchanged From Third Quarter and at a Record Low Level

 

The banking industry reported aggregate net interest income of $131.3 billion during the fourth quarter, a decline of $5.4 billion (3.9%) from a year ago. This marks the fifth consecutive quarter that net interest income declined. Almost 43% of all banks reported annual declines in net interest income. The average NIM was 2.68% in fourth quarter 2020, unchanged from the third quarter but down 60 basis points from fourth quarter 2019. Banks of all asset size groups featured in the Quarterly Banking Profile (QBP) reported average NIM compression relative to a year ago, as the contraction in earning asset yields exceeded the decline in funding costs. At fourth quarter 2020, both earning asset yields and funding costs dropped to the lowest levels ever reported in the QBP.

 

Noninterest Income Expands 6.5% From the Year-Ago Quarter

 

Noninterest income rose by $4.3 billion (6.5%) from a year ago, with nearly 61% of all banks reporting annual increases. The annual improvement in noninterest income was led by the growth in net gains on loan sales, which rose by $3.9 billion (104%), and net gains on sales of other assets, which increased by $1.6 billion. Trading revenue, which was the largest dollar contributor to the overall increase in noninterest income during second quarter 2020, declined for the second consecutive quarter and was down $799.7 million (11%) from fourth quarter 2019.

 

Noninterest Expense Increases Almost 3% From a Year Ago

 

Noninterest expense rose by $3.3 billion (2.7%) from a year ago, as almost two-thirds of all banks (66.4%) reported annual increases. The rise in noninterest expense was driven by higher salary and employee benefit expenses, which expanded by $3.7 billion (6.6%). The average assets per employee increased from $9 million in fourth quarter 2019 to $10.6 million in fourth quarter 2020.

 

Provisions for Credit Losses Decline to the Lowest Level Since Second Quarter 1995

 

With the improving economic outlook, provisions for credit losses decreased by $11.4 billion (76.5%) from a year ago to $3.5 billion, the lowest level since second quarter 1995. The decline in provisions for credit losses was not broad-based, as less than one-third (31.2%) of all banks reported year-over-year declines. In the fourth quarter, 279 banks used the current expected credit losses (CECL) accounting standard and reported an aggregate $1.4 billion in provisions for credit losses, down $ 11.2 billion (88.9%) from a year ago. For non-CECL adopters, provisions for credit losses totaled $2.1 billion, down $ 186.6 million (8.2%) from a year ago.

 

29

 

The Net Charge-Off Rate Falls 13 Basis Points From Fourth Quarter 2019

 

The net charge-off rate fell by 13 basis points from fourth quarter 2019 to 0.41%. Net charge-offs totaled $11.2 billion, down $2.8 billion (19.7%) from a year ago. The year-over-year decline in net charge-offs was driven by the reduction in credit card loan charge offs (down $3.4 billion, or 39.7%). Net charge-offs on nonfarm nonresidential (NFNR) properties increased by $657.9 million (348.3%) from a year ago. The net charge-off rate for NFNR properties increased by 17 basis points from a year ago to 0.22% but remained below the high of 1.40% in fourth quarter 2010. The net charge-off rate for the commercial and industrial (C&I) loan portfolio increased by 4 basis points from a year ago to 0.47%, below the recent high of 0.64% in second quarter 2020.

 

The Noncurrent Loan Rate Expands Modestly to 1.18%

 

The noncurrent rate rose by 1 basis point from third quarter 2020 to 1.18%. Noncurrent loan balances (90 days or more past due or in nonaccrual status) increased by $944.9 million (0.7%) from the previous quarter. One-third of all banks (33.3%) reported quarterly increases in noncurrent loan balances. The quarterly increase in noncurrent loan balances was led by NFNR properties (up $2.1 billion, or 15.7%) and credit card balances (up $1.4 billion, or 17%). The noncurrent rate for NFNR properties increased by 13 basis points to 1.00% in the fourth quarter 2020, while the noncurrent rate for credit card balances rose by 13 basis points to 1.16%.

 

Total Assets Increase 3.1% From the Previous Quarter

 

Total assets increased by $664 billion (3.1%) from third quarter 2020. The banking industry’s liquidity position continued to strengthen. Cash and balances due from depository institutions rose by $357 billion (12.6%), and security holdings posted a record high quarterly dollar increase of $321.4 billion (6.7%). Mortgage-backed securities increased by $244.9 billion (8.8%).

 

Loan Balances Decline From the Previous Quarter, Led by Lower Commercial and Industrial Lending Activity

 

Total loan and lease balances totaled $10.9 trillion in fourth quarter 2020, $47.7 billion (0.4%) less than third quarter 2020. The quarterly decline in total loan and leases balances was led by the C&I loan portfolio, which fell by $103.8 billion (4.1%). Small Business Administration-guaranteed Paycheck Protection Program loans declined by $83.9 billion (17.1%) from the previous quarter. The decline in the C&I loan portfolio was partially offset by increases in loans to nondepository financial institutions (up $30.2 billion, or 5.5%) and credit card balances (up $25.6 billion, or 3.2%). Total loan and lease balances increased by $345 billion (3.3%) from a year ago, the lowest annual growth rate since fourth quarter 2013. The annual increase in total loan and lease balances was driven by the C&I loan portfolio, which rose by $232.8 billion (10.6%), primarily in the first half of 2020.

 

Deposits Increase 4.1% From Third Quarter 2020

 

Total deposit balances rose by $706.9 billion (4.1%) between the third and fourth quarters of 2020. While the quarterly growth in deposits is below the levels reported in the first half of 2020, it is the third largest quarterly dollar increase ever reported in the QBP. Interest-bearing account balances rose by $399.2 billion (3.5%), and noninterest-bearing account balances expanded by $220.5 billion (5%). Deposits in accounts with balances larger than $250,000 increased by $467.5 billion (5.4%) from the previous quarter. Nondeposit liabilities fell by $124.2 billion (11.1%) from the previous quarter, led by Federal Home Loan Bank advances that declined by $48.5 billion (15.9%).

 

Equity Capital Increases Almost 2% From the Previous Quarter

 

Equity capital totaled $2.2 trillion in fourth quarter 2020, up $41.9 billion (1.9%) from the previous quarter. Declared dividends totaled $21.8 billion, down $27.4 billion (55.7%) from fourth quarter 2019. Seven insured institutions with $498.4 million in total assets were below the requirements for the well-capitalized category as defined for Prompt Corrective Action.

 

Three New Banks Open in Fourth Quarter 2020

 

The number of FDIC-insured commercial banks and savings institutions that filed quarterly Call Reports declined from 5,033 in third quarter 2020 to 5,001 in fourth quarter 2020. Three new banks were added, 31 institutions were absorbed by mergers, two banks failed, one bank sold most of its assets to a credit union, and one bank did not file in time for this analysis. For full-year 2020, six new banks were added, 168 institutions were absorbed by mergers, and four banks failed. The number of institutions on the FDIC’s “Problem Bank List” remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 56. Total assets of problem banks increased from $53.9 billion in third quarter 2020 to $55.8 billion in fourth quarter 2020.

 

30

 

Critical Accounting Policies

 

The discussion contained in this Item 7 and other disclosures included within this Annual Report are based on the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements which appear in Item 8 of this Annual Report. These statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). The financial information contained in these statements is, for the most part, based on the financial effects of transactions and events that have already occurred. However, the preparation of these statements requires management to make certain estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses.

 

The Company’s significant accounting policies are described in the “Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements” accompanying the Company’s audited financial statements. Based on its consideration of accounting policies that involve the most complex and subjective estimates and judgments, management has identified the allowance for loan losses, the fair value determination of investment securities and the assessment of goodwill to be the Company’s most critical accounting policies.

 

Allowance for Loan Losses

 

The allowance for loan losses is established through a provision for loan losses that is treated as an expense and charged against earnings. Loans are charged against the allowance for loan losses when management believes that collectability of the principal is unlikely. The Company has policies and procedures for evaluating the overall credit quality of its loan portfolio, including timely identification of potential problem loans. On a quarterly basis, management reviews the appropriate level for the allowance for loan losses, incorporating a variety of risk considerations, both quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative factors include the Company’s historical loss experience, delinquency and charge-off trends, collateral values, known information about individual loans and other factors. Qualitative factors include various considerations regarding the general economic environment in the Company’s market area. To the extent actual results differ from forecasts and management’s judgment, the allowance for loan losses may be greater or lesser than future charge-offs. Due to potential changes in conditions, including the economic disruption and uncertainties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is at least reasonably possible that change in estimates will occur in the near term and that such changes could be material to the amounts reported in the Company’s financial statements.

 

For further discussion concerning the allowance for loan losses and the process of establishing specific reserves, see the section of this Annual Report entitled “Asset Quality Review and Credit Risk Management” and “Analysis of the Allowance for Loan Losses”.

 

Fair Value of Investment Securities

 

The Company’s securities available-for-sale portfolio is carried at fair value with “fair value” being defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants. A fair value measurement assumes that the transaction to sell the asset or transfer the liability occurs in the principal market for the asset or liability or, in the absence of a principal market, the most advantageous market for the asset or liability. The price in the principal (or most advantageous) market used to measure the fair value of the asset or liability is not adjusted for transaction costs. An orderly transaction is a transaction that assumes exposure to the market for a period prior to the measurement date to allow for marketing activities that are usual and customary for transactions involving such assets and liabilities; it is not a forced transaction. Market participants are buyers and sellers in the principal market that are (i) independent, (ii) knowledgeable, (iii) able to transact, and (iv) willing to transact.

 

Declines in the fair value of available-for-sale securities below their cost that are deemed to be other-than-temporary are reflected in earnings as realized losses. In estimating other-than-temporary impairment losses, management considers (1) the intent to sell the investment securities and the more likely than not requirement that the Company will be required to sell the investment securities prior to recovery (2) the length of time and the extent to which the fair value has been less than cost and (3) the financial condition and near-term prospects of the issuer. Due to potential changes in conditions, including the economic disruption and uncertainties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is at least reasonably possible that changes in management’s assessment of other-than-temporary impairment will occur in the near term and that such changes could be material to the amounts reported in the Company’s financial statements.

 

31

 

Goodwill

 

Goodwill arose in connection with four acquisitions consummated in previous periods. Goodwill is tested annually for impairment or more often if conditions indicate a possible impairment. For the purposes of goodwill impairment testing, determination of the fair value of a reporting unit involves the use of significant estimates and assumptions. Impairment would arise if the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value. Due to the economic weakness resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company completed a quantitative assessment of goodwill as of May 31, 2020 which indicated that goodwill was not impaired. Subsequently, the Company determined there were no adverse changes in criteria and key considerations to the previous assessment. Accordingly, the Company concluded that there is no impairment of goodwill as of December 31, 2020. Goodwill may be impaired in the future if actual future test results differ from the present evaluation of impairment due to changes in the conditions used in the current evaluation. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact our net income, fair value and correspondingly goodwill. An impairment of goodwill would decrease the Company’s earnings during the period in which the impairment is recorded.

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

 

This Annual report contains references to financial measures that are not defined in GAAP. Such non-GAAP financial measures include the Company’s presentation of net interest income and net interest margin on a fully taxable equivalent (FTE) basis. Management believes these non-GAAP financial measures are widely used in the financial institutions industry and provide useful information to both management and investors to analyze and evaluate the Company’s financial performance. Limitations associated with non-GAAP financial measures include the risks that persons might disagree as to the appropriateness of items included in these measures and that different companies might calculate these measures differently. These non-GAAP disclosures should not be considered an alternative to the Company’s GAAP results. The following table reconciles the non-GAAP financial measures of net interest income and net interest margin on an FTE basis to GAAP (dollars in thousands).

 

Reconciliation of net interest income and annualized net interest margin on an FTE basis to GAAP:

 

   

2020

   

2019

 
                 

Net interest income (GAAP)

  $ 54,843     $ 45,248  

Tax-equivalent adjustment (1)

    965       1,076  

Net interest income on an FTE basis (non-GAAP)

    55,808       46,324  

Average interest-earning assets

  $ 1,784,285     $ 1,442,707  

Net interest margin on an FTE basis (non-GAAP)

    3.13 %     3.21 %

 

(1)

Computed on a tax-equivalent basis using an incremental federal income tax rate of 21 percent for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, adjusted to reflect the effect of the nondeductible interest expense associated with owning tax-exempt securities and loans.

 

32

 

Income Statement Review

 

The following highlights a comparative discussion of the major components of net income and their impact for the last two years.

 

Average Balances and Interest Rates

 

The following two tables are used to calculate the Company’s non-GAAP net interest margin on an FTE basis. The first table includes the Company’s average assets and the related income to determine the average yield on earning assets. The second table includes the average liabilities and related expense to determine the average rate paid on interest-bearing liabilities. The net interest margin is equal to the interest income less the interest expense divided by average earning assets. Refer to the net interest income discussion following the tables for additional detail. (dollars in thousands)

 

ASSETS

 

   

2020

   

2019

 
                                                 
   

Average

   

Revenue/

   

Yield/

   

Average

   

Revenue/

   

Yield/

 
   

balance

   

expense

   

rate

   

balance

   

expense

   

rate

 

Interest-earning assets

                                               

Loans (1)

                                               

Commercial

  $ 131,006     $ 6,441       4.92 %   $ 81,669     $ 4,440       5.44 %

Agricultural

    105,662       5,703       5.40 %     85,527       5,267       6.16 %

Real estate

    883,849       37,404       4.23 %     736,598       33,707       4.58 %

Consumer and other

    17,748       922       5.19 %     16,855       868       5.15 %
                                                 

Total loans (including fees)

    1,138,265       50,470       4.43 %     920,649       44,282       4.81 %
                                                 

Investment securities

                                               

Taxable

    343,107       7,764       2.26 %     268,643       6,484       2.41 %

Tax-exempt (2)

    168,700       4,593       2.72 %     190,856       5,123       2.68 %
                                                 

Total investment securities

    511,807       12,357       2.41 %     459,499       11,607       2.53 %
                                                 

Other interest-earning assets

    134,213       1,079       0.80 %     62,559       1,364       2.18 %
                                                 
                                                 

Total interest-earning assets

    1,784,285     $ 63,906       3.58 %     1,442,707     $ 57,253       3.97 %
                                                 

Noninterest-earning assets

                                               

Cash and due from banks

    26,150                       24,494                  

Premises and equipment, net

    17,538                       16,107                  

Other, less allowance for loan losses

    38,215                       20,868                  
                                                 

Total noninterest-earning assets

    81,903                       61,469                  
                                                 
                                                 

TOTAL ASSETS

  $ 1,866,188                     $ 1,504,176                  

 

(1)

Average loan balance includes nonaccrual loans, if any.  Interest income collected on nonaccrual loans has been included.

(2)

Tax-exempt income has been adjusted to a tax-equivalent basis using an incremental tax rate of 21% for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.

 

33

 

Average Balances and Interest Rates (continued)

 

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY

 

   

2020

   

2019

 
                                                 
   

Average

   

Revenue/

   

Yield/

   

Average

   

Revenue/

   

Yield/

 
   

balance

   

expense

   

rate

   

balance

   

expense

   

rate

 

Interest-bearing liabilities

                                               

Deposits

                                               

Savings, interest-bearing checking and money markets accounts

  $ 1,024,725     $ 3,234       0.32 %   $ 810,306     $ 6,016       0.74 %

Time deposits

    273,803       4,587       1.68 %     232,989       4,184       1.80 %
                                                 

Total deposits

    1,298,528       7,821       0.60 %     1,043,295       10,200       0.98 %

Other borrowed funds

    43,972       277       0.63 %     44,887       729       1.62 %
                                                 

Total interest-bearing liabilities

    1,342,500       8,098       0.60 %     1,088,182       10,929       1.00 %
                                                 
                                                 

Noninterest-bearing liabilities

                                               

Noninterest-bearing checking

    312,774                       224,672                  

Other liabilities

    12,034                       10,022                  
                                                 
                                                 

Stockholders' equity

    198,880                       181,300                  
                                                 
                                                 

TOTAL LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY

  $ 1,866,188                     $ 1,504,176                  
                                                 
                                                 

Net interest income (FTE)(3)

          $ 55,808       3.13 %           $ 46,324       3.21 %
                                                 

Spread Analysis (FTE)(3)

                                               

Interest income/average assets

          $ 63,906       3.42 %           $ 57,253       3.81 %

Interest expense/average assets

            8,098       0.43 %             10,929       0.73 %

Net interest income/average assets

            55,808       2.99 %             46,324       3.08 %

 

(3)

Net interest income (FTE) and Spread Analysis (FTE) are non-GAAP financial measures. For further information, refer to the Non-GAAP Financial Measures section of this report.

 

34

 

Rate and Volume Analysis

 

The rate and volume analysis is used to determine how much of the change in interest income or expense is the result of a change in volume or a change in interest rate. For example, real estate loan interest income increased $3,697,000 in 2020 compared to 2019. Increased volume of real estate loans increased interest income in 2020 by $6,405,000 and lower interest rates decreased interest income in 2020 by $2,708,000.

 

The following table sets forth, on a tax-equivalent basis, a summary of the changes in net interest income resulting from changes in volume and rates (in thousands).

 

   

2020 Compared to 2019

 
   

Volume

   

Rate

   

Total (1)

 

Interest income

                       

Loans

                       

Commercial

  $ 2,461     $ (460 )   $ 2,001  

Agricultural

    1,139       (703 )     436  

Real estate

    6,405       (2,708 )     3,697  

Consumer and other

    47       7       54  
                         

Total loans (including fees)

    10,052       (3,864 )     6,188  
                         

Investment securities

                       

Taxable

    1,704       (424 )     1,280  

Tax-exempt

    (605 )     75       (530 )
                         

Total investment securities

    1,099       (349 )     750  
                         

Other interest and dividend income

    928       (1,213 )     (285 )
                         

Total interest-earning assets

    12,079       (5,426 )     6,653  
                         

Interest-bearing liabilities

                       

Deposits

                       

Savings, interest-bearing checking and money market

    1,280       (4,062 )     (2,782 )

Time deposits

    698       (295 )     403  
                         

Total deposits

    1,978       (4,357 )     (2,379 )
                         

Other borrowed funds

    (15 )     (437 )     (452 )
                         

Total interest-bearing liabilities

    1,963       (4,794 )     (2,831 )
                         

Net interest income-earning assets

  $ 10,116     $ (632 )   $ 9,484  

 

(1)

The change in interest due to both volume and yield/rate has been allocated to change due to volume and change due to yield/rate in proportion to the absolute value of the change in each.

 

35

 

Net Interest Income

 

The Company’s largest contributing component to net income is net interest income, which is the difference between interest earned on earning assets and interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities. The volume of and yields earned on earning assets and the volume of and the rates paid on interest-bearing liabilities determine net interest income. Refer to the tables preceding this paragraph for additional detail. Interest earned and interest paid is also affected by general economic conditions, particularly changes in market interest rates, by government policies and the action of regulatory authorities. Net interest income divided by average earning assets is referred to as net interest margin. For the years December 31, 2020 and 2019, the Company's non-GAAP net interest margin was 3.13% and 3.21%, respectively, computed on an FTE basis. For further information, refer to the Non-GAAP Financial Measures section of this report.

 

Net interest income during 2020 and 2019 totaled $54,843,000 and $45,248,000, respectively, representing a 21.2% increase in 2020 compared to 2019. Net interest income increased in 2020 as compared to 2019 due primarily to the Acquisition, reduction in interest expense due to declines in market rates on deposits, and PPP loans and related fees, offset in part by a reduction in interest rates on loans. PPP loans of approximately $50.9 million are outstanding as of December 31, 2020. In addition to interest income on PPP loans, fee income of $2.3 million was recognized into interest income for the year ended December 31, 2020.

 

The high level of competition in the local markets will continue to put downward pressure on the net interest margin of the Company. Currently, the Company’s primary market in Ames, Iowa, has eleven banks, six credit unions and several other financial investment companies. Multiple banks are also located in the Company’s other market areas in central, north-central and south-central Iowa creating similarly competitive environments.

 

Provision for Loan Losses

 

The provision for loan losses reflects management's judgment of the expense to be recognized in order to maintain an adequate allowance for loan losses. The Company’s provision for loan losses for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $5,681,000 compared to $1,314,000 for the previous year. Net charge offs totaled $1,085,000 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $379,000 for the previous year. The increase in provision for loan losses was primarily due to the effects of the economic slowdown associated with the COVID-19 pandemic on our loan portfolio and was necessary to maintain an adequate allowance for loan losses on the increasing outstanding loan portfolio. Classified loans, excluding 1-4 family and consumer loans, increased $35.7 million to $79.2 million in 2020 primarily due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the credit quality of our loan portfolio. This increase was primarily in the commercial real estate portfolio and related mainly to hospitality and entertainment loans. Refer to the “Asset Quality Review and Credit Risk Management” discussion for additional details with regard to loan loss provision expense.

 

Management believes the allowance for loan losses is adequate to absorb probable losses in the current portfolio. This statement is based upon management's continuing evaluation of inherent risks in the current loan portfolio, current levels of classified assets and general economic factors. The Company will continue to monitor the allowance and make future adjustments to the allowance as conditions dictate. Due to potential changes in conditions, including the economic disruption and uncertainties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is at least reasonably possible that change in estimates will occur in the near term and that such changes could be material to the amounts reported in the Company’s financial statements.

 

Noninterest Income and Expense

 

Total noninterest income is comprised primarily of fee-based revenues from wealth management and trust services, bank-related service charges on deposit activities, net securities gains, merchant and card fees related to electronic processing of merchant and cash transactions and gain on the sale of loans held for sale.

 

Noninterest income during the years ended 2020 and 2019 totaled $10,620,000 and $8,629,000, respectively. The increase in noninterest income in 2020 compared to 2019 is primarily due to an increase in gains on sale of residential loans held for sale due to increased refinancing in a low interest rate environment, the Acquisition, and security gains.

 

Noninterest expense for the Company consists of all operating expenses other than interest expense on deposits and other borrowed funds. Salaries and employee benefits are the largest component of the Company’s operating expenses and comprise 63% and 62% of noninterest expense in 2020 and 2019, respectively.

 

Noninterest expense during the years ended 2020 and 2019 totaled $36,551,000 and $31,522,000, respectively, representing a 16% increase in 2020 compared to 2019. Most of the increase in 2020 was due to the Acquisition. Excluding the Acquisition, the increase was primarily related to salaries and employee benefits due to normal increases including health insurance. The percentage of noninterest expense to average assets was 2.0% in 2020, compared to 2.1% during 2019.

 

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Provision for Income Taxes

 

The provision for income taxes for 2020 and 2019 was $4,381,000 and $3,847,000, respectively. This amount represents an effective tax rate of 18.9% and 18.3%, respectively. The Company's federal income tax rate was 21% for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019. The lower than expected tax rate was due primarily to tax-exempt interest income and New Markets Tax Credits recognized in both years. These tax credits were generated by First National’s investment in qualified community development entities. The credits totaled $6.0 million and are recognized over a seven-year period beginning in 2019.

 

Balance Sheet Review

 

The Company’s assets are comprised primarily of loans and investment securities. The majority of average earning asset maturity or repricing dates are generally five years or less for the combined portfolios as the assets are funded for the most part by short term deposits with either immediate availability or less than one-year average maturities. This exposes the Company to risk with regard to changes in interest rates.

 

Total assets increased to $1,975,648,000 in 2020 compared to $1,737,183,000 in 2019, a 13.7% increase. The increase is primarily due to investment securities, Paycheck Protection Program loans, organic loan growth and to a lesser extent growth in interest-bearing deposits in financial institutions. This growth was funded by deposit growth driven by government stimulus programs.

 

Loan Portfolio

 

Net loans as of December 31, 2020 totaled $1,129,505,000, an increase of 7.8% from the $1,048,147,000 as of December 31, 2019. Loans increased primarily due to organic growth in the commercial real estate loan portfolio and government guaranteed loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. Loans are the primary contributor to the Company’s revenues and cash flows. The average yield on loans was 202 and 228 basis points higher in 2020 and 2019, respectively, in comparison to the average tax-equivalent investment portfolio yields.

 

Types of Loans

 

The following table sets forth the composition of the Company's loan portfolio for the past five years ending at December 31, 2020 (dollars in thousands):

 

   

2020

   

2019

   

2018

   

2017

   

2016

 

Real Estate

                                       

Construction

  $ 45,497     $ 47,895     $ 51,364     $ 50,309     $ 61,042  

1-4 family residential

    213,562       201,510       169,722       146,258       149,507  

Commercial

    496,357       435,850       389,532       350,626       315,702  

Agricultural

    151,992       160,771       103,652       81,790       73,032  

Commercial

    122,535       84,084       86,194       73,816       74,378  

Agricultural

    102,586       111,945       85,202       69,806       76,994  

Consumer and other

    15,048       18,791       16,566       10,345       12,130  
                                         

Total loans

    1,147,577       1,060,846       902,232       782,950       762,785  

Deferred loan fees and costs, net

    (857 )     (80 )     (87 )     (79 )     (96 )
                                         

Total loans net of deferred fees

  $ 1,146,720     $ 1,060,766     $ 902,145     $ 782,871     $ 762,689  

 

The Company's loan portfolio consists of real estate, commercial, agricultural and consumer loans. As of December 31, 2020, gross loans totaled approximately $1,147,577,000, which equals approximately 66.9% of total deposits and 58.1% of total assets. The Iowa State Average Report (consisting of 253 banks in the State of Iowa) loan to deposit ratio as of December 31, 2020 was 71%. As of December 31, 2020, the majority of the loans were originated directly by the Banks to borrowers within the Banks’ principal market areas. There are no foreign loans outstanding during the years presented.

 

Real estate loans include various types of loans for which the Banks hold real property as collateral and consist of loans primarily on commercial, agricultural and multifamily properties and single-family residences. Real estate loans typically have fixed rates for up to five years, with the Company’s loan policy permitting a maximum fixed rate maturity of up to 15 years. The majority of construction loan volume is given to contractors to construct 1-4 family residence and commercial buildings and these loans generally have maturities of up to 12 months. The Banks also originate residential real estate loans for sale to the secondary market for a fee.

 

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Commercial loans consist primarily of loans to businesses for various purposes, including revolving lines to finance current operations, floor-plans, inventory and accounts receivable; capital expenditure loans to finance equipment and other fixed assets; and letters of credit. These loans generally have short maturities, have either adjustable or fixed rates and are unsecured or secured by inventory, accounts receivable, equipment and/or real estate.

 

Agricultural loans play an important part in the Banks’ loan portfolios. Iowa is a major agricultural state and is a national leader in both grain and livestock production. The Banks play a significant role in their communities in financing operating, livestock and real estate activities for area producers.

 

Consumer loans include loans extended to individuals for household, family and other personal expenditures not secured by real estate. The majority of the Banks’ consumer lending is for vehicles, consolidation of personal debts and improvements.

 

The interest rates charged on loans vary with the degree of risk and the amount and maturity of the loan. Competitive pressures, market interest rates, the availability of funds and government regulation further influence the rate charged on a loan. The Banks follow a loan policy, which has been approved by both the board of directors of the Company and the Banks, and is overseen by both Company and Bank management. These policies establish lending limits, review and grading criteria and other guidelines such as loan administration and allowance for loan losses. Loans are approved by the Banks’ board of directors and/or designated officers in accordance with respective guidelines and underwriting policies of the Company. Credit limits generally vary according to the type of loan and the individual loan officer’s experience. Loans to any one borrower are limited by applicable state and federal banking laws.

 

Maturities and Sensitivities of Loans to Changes in Interest Rates as of December 31, 2020

 

The contractual maturities of the Company's loan portfolio are as shown below. Actual maturities may differ from contractual maturities because individual borrowers may have the right to prepay loans with or without prepayment penalties (in thousands).

 

           

After one

                 
           

year but

                 
   

Within

   

within

   

After

         
   

one year

   

five years

   

five years

   

Total

 
                                 

Real Estate

                               

Construction

  $ 20,499     $ 21,571     $ 3,427     $ 45,497  

1-4 family residential

    20,173       81,360       112,029       213,562  

Commercial

    22,316       263,461       210,580       496,357  

Agricultural

    5,864       25,969       120,159       151,992  

Commercial

    32,991       76,113       13,431       122,535  

Agricultural

    80,236       20,543       1,807       102,586  

Consumer and other

    1,407       9,027       4,614       15,048  
                                 

Total loans

  $ 183,486     $ 498,044     $ 466,047     $ 1,147,577  

 

   

After one