A Year in Review
With the economy still struggling to exit the Great Recession, 2011 was another record year for Citizens National Bank. We now count 6 years in a row with record earnings leading to substantial increases in dividends for our stockholders. Many banks experienced earnings pressure due to their loan portfolios contracting and their investments producing less income. Additionally consumers began to draw down on the savings they’d accumulated and take on additional debt. Although we expect the economy to continue to bounce along the bottom for another 3-4 years, our strategy to continue to provide lending and support to small businesses, as well as shortening up our investment portfolio in anticipation of higher long-term rates should ensure Citizens National Bank’s continued success as a community bank.
Our net income and net interest income both increased considerably from last year. Much of this was driven by strong mortgage refinancing activity. With mortgage rates continuing at historically low levels we expect our customers to continue to take advantage of this opportunity to refinance their homes and use that savings to stimulate the economy. CNB’s total loans also increased, due mainly to agricultural and real estate lending. Being named a preferred lender for the Farm Service Agency allowed us to offer long-term fixed rate financing on ag real estate, which aided this growth.
In addition to financial expansion, we’ve added numbers to our sales team, allowing us to provide even more personalized service to our market areas. Our loan production office in Defiance was recently approved for a full service branch office and now employs a total of 5 people, including 3 commercial lenders; Brad Spitnale, Jason LaBounty and Adam Fritz, a mortgage lender, Ty Shingledecker, and a loan assistant, Sharon DeLong. An additional lender, Jordan Miller, was added to our Van Wert office earlier in the year, and most recently we’ve welcomed Bob Inniger as a commercial ag lender to our Bluffton location. Our strength is in our employees and the relationships we’re able to forge with our clients. We look forward to the growth we’ll see in each of these market areas as a result of increased coverage by these business banking officers.
We expect 2012 to be another good year for Citizens National Bank as we anticipate a gradual improvement in the economy and continued loan growth, especially in our newer markets, Springfield and Defiance, as well as through participation opportunities in Columbus. We are proud to be your community bank and will continue to invest in our local communities through volunteerism and financing.