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Date: 4/17/2015

Title: Ames National Corporation Announces 2015 Q1 Earnings

Ames National Corporation Announces 2015 First Quarter Earnings Results


First Quarter 2015 Results:

For the quarter ended March 31, 2015, net income for Ames National Corporation (the Company) totaled $3,635,000 or $0.39 per share, compared to $4,526,000 or $0.49 per share earned in 2014.  The lower earnings were primarily related to a gain on the sale of premises and equipment of $1,257,000, or $0.08 per share after tax, in 2014 with no corresponding gain recorded in 2015.  

As previously announced, the Company’s largest subsidiary bank, First National Bank (FNB), acquired First Bank, West Des Moines, Iowa on August 29, 2014 (the “Acquisition”).  The acquired assets totaled approximately $89 million and the retention of loan and deposit customers from the Acquisition has been favorable.  FNB management is progressing with assimilating the staff and clients in the Des Moines metro market, however, the impact of the Acquisition on the Company’s net income was not significant for the quarter but in line with expectations.

First quarter net interest income totaled $9,445,000, an increase of $711,000, or 8%, compared to the same quarter a year ago, due primarily to growth in the real estate loan portfolio.  Loan growth was attributable to the Acquisition and favorable economic conditions in our markets.  Excluding the Acquisition, the loan portfolio grew over 8% from a year ago.  The increase in net interest income led to an improvement in the Company’s net interest margin to 3.27% for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 as compared to 3.24% for the quarter ended March 31, 2014.  

A provision for loan losses of $77,000 was recognized in the first quarter of 2015 as compared to $39,000 in the first quarter of 2014.  Net loan recoveries were $10,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 compared to net loan charge-offs of $43,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2014.  Asset quality indicators for the Company, including impaired and past due loans, remain at favorable levels, including those problem assets obtained in the Acquisition. Payment performance on the Acquisition’s loan portfolio has exceeded management expectations through March 31, 2015.  

Noninterest income for the first quarter of 2015 totaled $1,766,000 as compared to $2,946,000 for the same period in 2014.  The decrease in noninterest income is primarily due to a gain on the sale of premises and equipment in 2014.  Exclusive of realized securities gains and gain on sale of premises and equipment, noninterest income was 13% higher in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, primarily due to increased gain on sale of loans held for sale and higher merchant and card fees.
 
Noninterest expense for the fourth quarter of 2015 totaled $6,139,000 compared to $5,329,000 recorded in 2014, an increase of 15%.  The increase in noninterest expense was primarily due to increases in salaries and benefits, other real estate owned expenses and data processing.  The increase in salaries and benefits was mainly the result of additional payroll costs attributed to the Acquisition.  The increase in other real estate owned expenses was due to costs incurred to maintain properties and losses on the sale of the properties.  The increase in data processing costs was due primarily to the Acquisition.  The efficiency ratio for the first quarter of 2015 was 54.76%, compared to 45.63% in 2014.   

Balance Sheet Review:

As of March 31, 2015, total assets were $1,344,731,000, a $86,750,000 increase compared to March 31, 2014.  The increase in assets, primarily loans, was primarily due to the Acquisition. 

Securities available-for-sale as of March 31, 2015 declined to $554,650,000 from $600,831,000 as of March 31, 2014.  The decrease in securities available-for-sale is primarily due to the sale or pay downs of U.S. government mortgage-backed securities and matured or called state and political subdivision bonds.  These bond proceeds were largely utilized to fund loan demand.

Net loans as of March 31, 2015 increased 21% to $660,790,000 as compared to $548,545,000 as of March 31, 2014.  The growth was primarily due to the Acquisition and growth at the affiliate banks.  This growth resulted from increases in the commercial real estate, 1-4 family real estate, agricultural real estate and construction real estate portfolios.  The allowance for loan losses on March 31, 2015 totaled $8,926,000, or 1.33% of gross loans, compared to $8,568,000 or 1.54% of gross loans as of March 31, 2014.  The decrease in the percentage of allowance for loan losses to gross loans can be primarily attributed to the Acquisition, as the purchased loan portfolio is initially recorded without an allowance for loan loss.  Impaired loans as of March 31, 2015, were $2,054,000, or 0.31% of gross loans, compared to $1,434,000, or .26% of gross loans as of March 31, 2014.  Excluding the loans attributed to the Acquisition, impaired loans as of March 31, 2015 were $887,000, or 0.13% of gross loans.

Other real estate owned was $7,366,000 and $8,880,000 as of March 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively.  The decrease in the other real estate owned was primarily due to a single impairment write down in the fourth quarter of 2014 and the sale of properties.  Due to potential changes in the real estate markets, it is at least reasonably possible that management’s assessments of fair value will change in the near term and that such changes could materially affect the amounts reported in the Company’s financial statements.

Deposits totaled $1,082,790,000 on March 31, 2015, a 5% increase from the $1,027,793,000 recorded at March 31, 2014.  The increase in deposits was primarily due to the Acquisition, offset in part by a reduction in deposits due to two customers transferring a significant volume of funds from commercial checking accounts to daily repurchase agreements in the second quarter of 2014.  

Securities sold under agreements to repurchase totaled $58,801,000 on March 31, 2015, a 47% increase from the $39,910,000 recorded at March 31, 2014.  The increase was the result of the transfer of deposits noted in the previous paragraph.

The Company’s stockholders’ equity represented 11.80% of total assets as of March 31, 2015 with all of the Company’s five affiliate banks considered well-capitalized as defined by federal capital regulations.  Total stockholders’ equity was $158,646,000 as of March 31, 2015, and $147,188,000 as of March 31, 2014.  The increase in stockholders’ equity was primarily the result of net income and higher fair value on the securities available-for-sale which is reflected as an increase in accumulated other comprehensive income, offset in part by dividends.

Shareholder Information:

Return on average assets was 1.10% for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, compared to 1.45% for the same period in 2014.  Return on average equity was 9.25% for the quarter ended March 31, 2015, compared to the 12.43% in 2014.  

The Company’s stock, which is listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol ATLO, closed at $24.85 on March 31, 2015.   During the first quarter of 2015, the price ranged from $23.60 to $26.06.

On February 11, 2015, the Company declared a quarterly cash dividend on common stock, payable on May 15, 2015 to stockholders of record as of May 1, 2015, equal to $0.20 per share.

The Company is forecasting earnings for the year ending December 31, 2015 in the range of $1.58 to $1.64 per share compared to $1.64 per share earned for the year ended December 31, 2014. 

Ames National Corporation is listed on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the ticker symbol, ATLO.  The Corporation affiliate banks, all located in central Iowa, include: First National Bank, Ames, Boone Bank & Trust Co., Boone, State Bank & Trust Co., Nevada, Reliance State Bank, Story City, and United Bank & Trust, Marshalltown.  Additional information about Ames National Corporation can be found at www.amesnational.com.  Information regarding the process for purchasing stock can be obtained through Richard Nelson at First Point Wealth Management, (515) 663-3074.

For further information contact:
Thomas H. Pohlman, President and CEO
(515) 232-6251 or Tom.Pohlman@amesnational.com