First Choice Bancorp is a community-based bank holding company headquartered in Cerritos, California, and it is the sole shareholder of First Choice Bank. As of July 31, 2018, the First Choice had total assets of approximately $1.5 billion. First Choice Bank, headquartered in Cerritos, California is a community-focused financial institution, serving diverse consumers and commercial clients and specializing in loans to small businesses, private banking clients, commercial and industrial (C&I) loans, and commercial real estate loans with a niche in providing financing for the hospitality industry. First Choice Bank is a Preferred Small Business Administration (SBA) Lender. Founded in 2005, First Choice Bank has quickly become a leading provider of financial services that enable their customers to grow, maintain strength, and achieve their business objectives. They strive to surpass their clients’ expectations through their efficiency and professionalism and are committed to being “First in Speed, Service, and Solutions.” First Choice Bancorp stock is traded on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the ticker symbol “FCBP.”
First Choice Bancorp, (“First Choice” or the “Company”) (FCBP), the holding company of First Choice Bank (the “Bank”), reported financial results this week for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018. For the second quarter of 2018, net income was $3.4 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.4 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2018, and net income of $2.3 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, for the second quarter of 2017.
On July 26, 2018, the Company also declared a cash dividend of $0.20 per share. The dividend is payable on September 10, 2018 to shareholders of record on August 27, 2018.
Robert M. Franko, President and CEO of First Choice Bancorp stated, “We delivered strong year-over-year growth in earnings, driven by higher net interest income, improved efficiencies and stable asset quality. Our end-of-period loan growth in the second quarter was impacted by fluctuations in commercial line utilization from one large commercial customer. Our average net loans increased 3.49% compared to the first quarter of 2018, which is more reflective of the growth trends we are experiencing. Our loan pipeline remains healthy and we expect to see a consistent level of organic loan growth over the second half of the year.”
On August 1, 2018, FCBP announced it has completed its acquisition of Pacific Commerce Bancorp (“Pacific Commerce”), the parent company of Pacific Commerce Bank. As part of the transaction, Pacific Commerce Bank has been merged into First Choice Bank. The transaction brings First Choice’s total assets to more than $1.5 billion, based on information as of June 30, 2018.
The final exchange ratio of the stock-to-stock transaction is 0.47689, which is higher than the ratio of 0.46531 announced at the time of the acquisition, as the ratio was subject to certain adjustments as previously described in the joint proxy statement. The higher exchange ratio was primarily due to adjustments resulting from an increase in Pacific Commerce’s capital from the exercise of options, lower than budgeted transaction costs and higher than projected net income during the first six months of 2018. The final ownership of the combined entity based on common shares outstanding is 62.3% owned by original First Choice Bancorp shareholders and 37.7% owned by former Pacific Commerce Bancorp shareholders, compared to the original estimate of 63.5% and 36.5%, respectively.
Robert M. Franko, President and CEO of First Choice Bancorp stated, “As announced, we completed our acquisition of Pacific Commerce Bancorp and we are very excited to welcome our new customers and colleagues to the First Choice family. The combination of our two banks creates the 16th largest publicly traded bank in Southern California and significantly improves our competitive positioning. Our top priority for the remainder of 2018 is managing the integration of Pacific Commerce and realizing all of the synergies we project for this transaction. We continue to expect the acquisition to be approximately 15% accretive to earnings per share in 2019, significantly improving our earnings power and the level of returns that we generate for our shareholders.”
FCBP Operating Results for the Second Quarter 2018
Net Interest Income
Net interest income for the second quarter of 2018 was $10.8 million, an increase of 13.26% from $9.6 million for the first quarter of 2018. The increase in net interest income from the first quarter was primarily attributable to higher average loan balances and early payoffs in the purchased SBA loan portfolio, which resulted in the accelerated recognition of income from the unamortized loan discounts.
Net Interest Margin
Net interest margin for the second quarter of 2018 was 4.73%, an increase from 4.38% for the first quarter of 2018. The net interest margin was positively impacted by an increase in accretion income on acquired loans due to an increase in payoffs.
Excluding the impact of accretion income on acquired loans, the net interest margin decreased 5 basis points compared to the first quarter of 2018. The decrease was attributable to a 2 basis points decrease in dividend income from FHLB and other bank stocks, and an 18 basis points increase in the average cost of funds, attributed in large part to a deposit promotion program in the second quarter which ended on June 30, 2018, and partially offset by a 15 basis points increase in the average loan yield.
Non-interest income for the second quarter of 2018 was $0.8 million, an increase of 38.37% from $0.6 million for the first quarter of 2018. The increase was primarily the result of an increase in the gain on sale of SBA loans. During the second quarter of 2018, the Company sold $5.8 million in SBA loans, resulting in a gain on sale of $0.4 million. During the first quarter of 2018, the Company sold $2.7 million in SBA loans, resulting in a gain on sale of $0.2 million.
Non-interest expense for the second quarter of 2018 was $6.3 million, a decrease of 5.39% from $6.7 million for the first quarter of 2018. The decrease was primarily attributable to a decrease in the salary and benefits and customer service costs. Non-interest expense for the second quarter of 2018 included approximately $0.4 million in merger-related and public company registration expense related to the Company’s Nasdaq listing and the pending acquisition of Pacific Commerce Bancorp.
The Company’s operating efficiency ratio was 54.47% in the second quarter of 2018, compared with 66.01% in the first quarter of 2018.
Excluding the impact of accretion income on acquired loans and the merger-related and public company registration expense, the Company’s operating efficiency ratio was 55.75% in the second quarter of 2018, compared with 62.31% in the first quarter of 2018. The improvement in operating efficiency was due to an increase in operating income, and decrease in non-interest expense in the second quarter of 2018.
The Company recorded income tax expense of $1.5 million for the second quarter of 2018, representing an effective tax rate of 30.76%, compared to 26.53% reported for the first quarter of 2018. The increase in the effective tax rate reflects a lower tax benefit from stock-based compensation in the second quarter of 2018.
Total gross loans, excluding loans held for sale, were $787.2 million at June 30, 2018, a decrease of 0.81% from $793.6 million at March 31, 2018. The decrease was primarily attributable to the paydown of one large commercial line of credit.
During the second quarter of 2018, the Company originated $88.1 million in new loan commitments, the majority of the growth during the quarter occurred in construction and commercial real estate loans, $52.7 million, or 59.84% of total new loan commitments, and in commercial and industrial loans, $25.3 million, or 28.69% of total new loan commitments.
Total deposits were $785.0 million at June 30, 2018, an increase of 3.45% from $758.8 million at March 31, 2018. The increase in noninterest-bearing demand, money market, time deposits and brokered deposits was $14.1 million, $52.5 million, $21.0 million and $4.0 million, respectively, as depositors are shifting balances to higher yielding accounts. Offsetting these increases were reductions in interest checking and savings accounts of $47.3 million and $18.2 million, respectively.
Non-performing assets totaled $1.6 million, or 0.16% of total assets, at June 30, 2018, compared with $1.1 million, or 0.11% of total assets, at March 31, 2018. The increase in non-performing assets was primarily attributable to two SBA loans placed on non-accrual status.
The Company recorded net recoveries of $46 thousand in the second quarter.
The Company recorded a provision for loan losses of $0.3 million for the second quarter of 2018, which was primarily attributable to the increase in non-performing assets.
The Company’s allowance for loan losses was 1.32% of total gross loans and 657.54% of non-performing assets at June 30, 2018, compared with 1.26% and 943.45%, respectively, at March 31, 2018.
At June 30, 2018, the Bank exceeded all regulatory capital requirements under Basel III and was considered to be a ‘‘well-capitalized’’ financial institution.
First Choice was recently added to the Russell 3000® Index and the Russell 2000® Index when Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. and global equity indexes after closing on June 22, 2018. The Russell indexes are widely used by investment managers and institutional investors for both index funds and as benchmarks for passive and active investment strategies. In the U.S. marketplace, almost all of the U.S. equity assets are benchmarked by the Russell 3000, representing more than $8.5 trillion. The Company will hold its membership until FTSE Russell reconstitutes its indexes in June 2019. Membership in the Russell indexes remains in place for one year and automatically provides inclusion in the appropriate Russell growth and value style indexes. FTSE Russell determines membership for these indexes primarily by objective, market-capitalization rankings. The annual reconstitution of the Russell 3000 captures the 3,000 largest U.S. stocks as of the end of May, ranking them by total market capitalization. The largest 1,000 companies in this ranking comprise the Russell 1000 and the next 2,000 companies become the Russell 2000. The Russell 2000 also serves as the U.S. component to the Russell Global Index, which Russell launched in 2007. The new membership list for the Russell Indexes is available at https://www.ftserussell.com/index-series/index-resources/russell-reconstitution.
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