Equity Bancshares, Inc. Results Include Strong Organic Growth While Expanding Kansas Franchise

WICHITA, Kan., Jan. 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Equity Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: EQBK), (“Equity”, “the Company”, “we”, “us”, “our”), the Wichita-based holding company of Equity Bank, reported net income of $10.5 million and $0.61 earnings per diluted share for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. Equity’s results include a full quarter contribution from American State Bancshares, Inc. as a result of the completion of its acquisition on October 1, 2021, by Equity and an increased average outstanding share count.

“As we review 2021, we reached milestones for Equity Bank for our customers, teams, and shareholders,” said Brad Elliott, Chairman and CEO. “We issued the first common stock dividend in our company’s history and we completed and successfully integrated the largest merger in our bank’s history, welcoming American State Bank & Trust teammates into the Equity Bank family. Our teams followed that up with the addition of three branch locations in St. Joseph, Missouri, adding a new market to our Missouri footprint.”

Equity customers successfully had $51.3 million of Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans forgiven during the quarter, resulting in the recognition of fee income totaling $1.7 million in the three-month period ended December 31, 2021. At December 31, 2021, the total unrecognized fee income associated with PPP loans was $1.3 million.

“Equity was founded on entrepreneurial spirit, and that teamwork and collaboration exists in every new initiative we take on as a company, and I’m thankful to our customer service and operational teams for their hard work assisting a diverse range of customers,” said Mr. Elliott. “In 2022, we expect to continue to strengthen our customer delivery options including online and mobile banking, while continuing to offer the personal approach our customers expect from their community bank.”

Notable Items: Diluted earnings per share of $0.61, adjusted to reflect core operating results, was $0.82 per diluted share. The adjustment to earnings was comprised of the exclusion of merger expenses of $4.6 million.

The Company authorized a third stock repurchase program in the third quarter of 2021 totaling 1,000,000 shares. During the quarter ended December 31, 2021, the Company repurchased 132,873 shares at a weighted average cost of $32.99 per share, totaling $4.4 million from this plan as well as 719 shares from the previous authorization that expired on October 29, 2021. At the end of the quarter, capacity of 867,127 shares remained under the current repurchase program.

Non-accrual loans declined $35.6 million to $29.4 […]

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