Simmons First National Corp. announced Wednesday that net income available to common shareholders for the first quarter of this year was $22.1 million, a decrease of $1.4 million compared with the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share were $.70, a decrease of seven cents. Included in first quarter 2017 results were $412,000 in net after-tax merger-related and branch right-sizing costs. Excluding the impact of these items, core earnings were $22.5 million for the quarter, and diluted core earnings per share were $0.71.

“We are satisfied with our operating results during the first quarter,” said George A. Makris Jr., Simmons chairman and CEO. “We continue to experience excellent loan growth throughout our market. While our core expense control remains relatively stable, our non-interest income experienced some usual seasonal declines along with a softer mortgage market during the first quarter. As we prepare for the $10 billion asset threshold, we have managed to offset most of our increases in audit and regulatory affairs expenses with economies gained because of our size and scale.”

“We are excited about our previously announced mergers,” Makris said. “As we have indicated, Simmons Bank will enter new and very attractive markets as a result of the Bank SNB and Southwest Bank mergers and will be able to expand in our current markets with the First South Bank merger. We look forward to closing these mergers and integrating these new markets.”

Total loans, including those acquired, were $5.8 billion at March 31, 2017, an increase of $847 million, or 17.2 percent, compared with the same period in 2016. Legacy loans (all loans excluding acquired loans) grew $1.2 billion, or 33.4 percent. On a linked quarter basis, total loan growth was $144 million, including a seasonal reduction in credit card and agricultural production loans of $22.5 million.

On March 31, total deposits were $6.8 billion, an increase of $709 million, or 11.7 percent, compared with the same period in 2016. Total non-time deposits were $5.5 billion, an increase of $743 million, or 15.5 percent, and comprised 82 percent of total deposits. Non-interest income for the first quarter was $30.1 million, an increase of $557,000 compared with the first quarter of 2016. The increase in non-interest income was due to additional trust income, service charge income, debit and credit card income resulting from internal growth and as a result of our most recent acquisition.

Non-interest expense for the first quarter of 2017 was $66.3 million, an increase of $4.5 million compared with the first quarter of 2016. Included in the quarter were $678,000 of merger-related expenses and branch rightsizing costs. Increases in occupancy expenses and other operating expenses are related to our most recent acquisition. The increases in professional services are related to the continued preparations for crossing the $10 billion asset threshold as a result of closing our three pending acquisitions.

At March 31, 2017, common stockholders’ equity was $1.2 billion, book value per share was $37.30 and tangible book value per share was $24.51. The company’s ratio of stockholders’ equity to total assets was 13.6 percent and its ratio of tangible common equity to tangible assets was 9.4 percent.

Simmons First National Corp. is a financial holding company, headquartered in Pine Bluff, Ark., with total assets of $8.6 billion conducting financial operations throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee. The company through its subsidiaries offers comprehensive financial solutions delivered with a client-centric approach. The company’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “SFNC.”