AB&T Gold

Letter From President

I am pleased to share with you both the financial results of 2016 and some of its highlights. While the numbers for the year reflect the continued positive momentum we have enjoyed over the past several years, those numbers don’t tell the whole story. 

Early in my banking career, I had the opportunity to attend credit school at a large bank in Atlanta. For the final grade, I had to analyze recent financial information on one of the bank’s most important customers and discuss my conclusions with the Executive Vice President of the bank. When I presented my numbers-based analysis, he, in a very sage-like way, gave me some important advice that has guided my career. He said, “Sometimes, you have to look behind the numbers to see the whole picture.” As we look into the exciting numbers for 2016, know that there is a story behind them that is even better. 

AB&T has been built on a steadfast belief in relationship banking, which is to say, we are continually seeking relationships with new clients while at the same time deepening relationships with existing clients. The essence of our culture is to thoroughly understand our clients’ needs and to craft solutions to meet those needs. We believe that by honoring our culture and remaining true to who we are, we will be rewarded with deep and lasting relationships that transcend the ebb and flow of life’s experiences.

In 2016, our demand deposits grew 18.9% to represent 32.0% of total deposits. By comparison, demand deposits for all banks headquartered in Georgia represented only 8.9% of total deposits. Because demand deposits are often viewed as a proxy for measuring the growth and depth of relationships, we are especially proud of these results.

The growth in demand deposits is but one indication of the progress we made in 2016. The primary measure of our success is Net Income. I am very pleased to report that we produced Net Income of $633,430 or $0.10 per share, which represented an increase of 88.6% over 2015. This increase was the result of growth in loans of 10.5%, growth in Non-Interest Income of 17.1%, and disciplined management of expenses. 

The growth in loans was accomplished without compromising our underwriting standards. We continue to be among the leaders in our peer group of banks in virtually every measure of asset quality. Our Allowance for Losses on Loans and Leases stands at a healthy 1.47% of Total Loans. 

We are particularly pleased with the results of two major components of Non-interest Income. Revenue from secondary market mortgage originations was up 21.1% and revenue from trust activities increased 40.9% year-over-year. Our relationship with TNB Financial Services, which operates under the trade name AB&T Trust and Investments, continues to grow and deepen. We remain enthusiastic about the opportunities to further expand this line of business in our market.

We experienced a 5.1% increase in operating expenses which was entirely due to increased salary and benefit expense. The increase in salary and benefit expense was the result of earned incentive and cash bonuses paid to those associates who are not included in the Bank’s formal incentive plan. The Board felt that these associates had performed particularly well in advancing the financial performance of the Bank and were deserving of a cash bonus. 

Bank capital continues to improve with the addition of Net Income. At year-end, the Tier 1 Leverage Ratio for the Bank had improved to 9.21% and the Common Equity Tier 1 Ratio stood at 10.57%. All capital ratios are well above the regulatory minimums and the Bank is considered well capitalized. 

During the year, we made several strategic moves designed to keep us ahead of competition. First, we converted from a national bank to a state-chartered bank effective after the close of business on December 30, 2016. This conversion provides a more appropriate regulatory structure for a bank of our size and scope. 

Secondly, we introduced our new consumer checking account called “Gold Choice Checking.” Gold Choice Checking has several popular features including identity theft protection, credit monitoring, insurance covering lost or damaged cell phones and more. The reception our clients have given Gold Choice Checking has exceeded our expectations and we believe it will improve our penetration into the consumer checking accounts market.

Additionally, we engaged heavily in Facebook and began to expand into other social media as a means of reaching our existing clients and potential clients who are active in all the avenues of social media today. We have relevant expertise to offer our community and many people want to hear from us. This is an exciting medium for direct and instant communication about all things financial that are of interest today.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the tragic storms that struck Albany in January 2017 and the impact they had on our community. The loss of life and property was heartbreaking and our sympathies to those directly affected cannot be adequately expressed in words.  

But in the aftermath of the storms, the heart of this community and those communities surrounding us was on full display, and what a glorious sight it was. Neighbors helping neighbors and strangers caring for strangers were scenes repeated in neighborhood after neighborhood. What had been heartbreak quickly turned into healing and then into hope. Your team of bankers has been among those caring for others. Their genuine care and concern for their neighbors can never be reflected in the numbers.

We are incredibly proud to be a part of our community and are confident in its future. The expectation you should have and the one we set for ourselves is to lead the efforts to enable our community to realize its full potential. In doing so, we expect our Bank to reach our vision of becoming the “Gold Standard in Community Banking.” The good news is that we have the team in place to realize such an ambitious vision!

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of serving as president and chief executive officer of your Bank.

Sincerely,

 
 
James L. Flatt
President and Chief Executive Officer
 
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