Bank of Marin assets jump 48% in 2021

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Bank of Marin capped a whirlwind year in 2021 with fourth-quarter profits eclipsing the previous three months, its parent company Bancorp (Nasdaq: BMRC) said on Monday.

The Novato-based bank reported net profit of $9.71 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of nearly 85% from the $5.28 million earned in the period ending September 30. The difference was attributed in part to costs associated with the August acquisition of American River Bank, a transaction then valued at $125 million.

The end-2021 performance also topped the $8.11 million in earnings from the fourth quarter of 2020. Bank officials attributed the gain to the “laser focus on serving our customers,” as well as the “robust loan production” and “key hires,” CEO Tim Myers told conference call participants. It was a first for Myers to handle the quarterly earnings call since longtime former CEO Russell Colombo retired Oct. 31 after a 15-year term.

For the year, net income was $33.22 million, compared to $30.24 million in 2020.

In 2021, lending activity increased 8% year-over-year to $2.25 billion, compared to $2 billion in 2020. The type of loan in the bank’s portfolio varied in the entire industry, from real estate to wine, Myers said.

Collectively, Bank of Marin, incorporating American River Bank into the equation, issued 3,556 Paycheck Protection Program loans, amounting to $550.3 million in two rounds of funding. As of December 31, 368 loans totaling $111.2 million remained outstanding.

To continue the “uptrend,” Myers called for a commercial bank sales manager. The new recruit oversees two additional commercial bankers to support the planned growth, in particular, of the expansion into the Central Valley market. Myers recruited a 20-year commercial banking veteran in Deepak Bhakoo, who is actively involved in the Yuba County business community where Bank of Marin sees major growth potential.

“We’re looking to fill key positions in the future,” Myers said, while admitting he “sees the pressure” on rising wages, but not to the same extent as other industries.

The merger, which adds 10 new sites, will be completed in March when the two banks’ operational systems are fully combined.

A footnote during the pandemic, deposits increased dramatically as customers dumped money into accounts as they saved and the government provided stimulus. The level of deposits in the quarter ending December 31, 2021 increased by more than half, to $3.8 billion. In 2020, that figure was $2.5 billion.

“The pandemic has put a lot of cash in the market,” Myers told the Business Journal.

Overall, the bank’s total assets ended 2021 at $4.31 billion, compared to $2.91 billion during the same period in 2020 and $4.26 billion after the third quarter.

Net interest income – defined as the difference between income generated by interest-bearing assets and the cost of servicing liabilities – also increased in 2021 to $104.95 million from the prior year, in increase of $8.3 million. The increase was attributed to high loan and investment balances and PPP revenue from the financing program administered by the US Small Business Administration designed to help businesses maintain payrolls during the virus crisis.

The bank’s board declared a cash dividend, the bank’s 67th straight, of 24 cents per share, to be paid Feb. 11.

Susan Wood covers law, cannabis, manufacturing, biotech, energy, transportation, agriculture, and banking and finance. For 25 years, Susan worked for various publications, including the North County Times, now part of the Union Tribune in San Diego County, as well as the Tahoe Daily Tribune and Lake Tahoe News. She graduated from Fullerton College. Contact her at 530-545-8662 or [email protected]

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