Simmons First National Corp. announced net income of $77.2 million for the quarter that ended March 31, 2020, compared to $47.7 million for the same period in 2019, an increase of $29.5 million, or 61.9%.


Simmons announced its first quarter 2020 earnings report in a news release April 21.


Diluted earnings per share were $0.68, an increase of $0.17, or 33.3%, compared to the same period in the prior year. Included in first quarter 2020 results were $965,000 in net after-tax merger-related and branch right-sizing costs as well as a $4.4 million after-tax gain associated with the sale of branches in south Texas.


Excluding the impact of these items, core earnings were $73.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, compared to $49.1 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, an increase of $24.8 million, or 50.5%. Core diluted earnings per share were $0.65, an increase of $0.12, or 22.6%, from the same period in 2019.


“I am very proud of our team and their demonstration of our community banking values during these trying times,” said George A. Makris Jr., chairman and CEO of Simmons First National Corp. “Many of our associates could not work from home because they were serving our customers who needed our help.”


Makris continued, “On behalf of Simmons Bank, our customers, and the communities we serve, I would like to thank our healthcare professionals and other front-line workers, along with our federal, state and local officials, who have all responded quickly and with great care to the challenges presented by the pandemic. We believe we are well positioned to help our customers and communities as we come out of these unprecedented times. We have very strong liquidity and capital that we believe should assist Simmons once again in weathering critical economic times. The diversification in our risk profile along with a conservative risk appetite has helped to accommodate the needs of the communities we serve while providing value to our shareholders.”


Loans


Total loans were $14.4 billion at March 31, 2020, an increase of $2.6 billion, or 22.4%, compared to March 31, 2019, primarily due to the Reliance Bancshares, Inc. and The Landrum Company mergers completed during 2019 (“2019 mergers”). On a linked-quarter basis (March 31, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019), total loans decreased $51.4 million, or 0.4%. During the first quarter 2020, $115 million in loan balances were reclassified associated with the four branches held for sale in Colorado.


Deposits


Total deposits were $15.6 billion at March 31, 2020, an increase of $3.6 billion, or 29.8%, since March 31, 2019, primarily due to the 2019 mergers, but partially offset by the reclassification of $58.4 million of deposits associated with the Colorado branches held for sale.


Net Interest Income


The Company’s net interest income for the first quarter of 2020 was $167.5 million, an increase of $31.5 million, or 23.2%, from the same period of 2019 as a result of the 2019 mergers. Included in interest income was the yield accretion recognized on loans acquired of $11.8 million and $6.7 million for the first quarters of 2020 and 2019, respectively.


COVID-19 Impact


In March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act, which is designed to provide comprehensive relief to individuals and businesses following the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act includes approximately $2 trillion in assistance and a key component is the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), which provides 100% federally guaranteed loans for small businesses to cover up to eight weeks of payroll costs to retain their workforce and assist with mortgage interest, rent and utilities. Notably, these small business loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls and satisfy certain other conditions during the crisis.


In response to the economic hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, as of April 16th, the Company has obtained approval from the SBA for over 3,100 PPP loans totaling over $745 million for existing and new customers. The Company is continually monitoring the PPP and making the necessary adjustments to its own operations.


In addition, the Company has completed or is in the process of modifying more than 3,600 loans totaling over $2.8 billion. The Company is dedicated to supporting its customers and communities throughout this period of uncertainty.


In March and in response to the pandemic, the Company announced temporary closure of 52 branches and has been focusing on the enhanced digital banking experience.


The Company has implemented business continuity plans to help ensure that customers have adequate access to banking services while at the same time working to protect associates through heightened safety procedures. As of March 31, 2020, the Company has approximately $4.7 billion in liquidity sources available and is well capitalized, which management believes should allow the Company to approach the crisis from a position of strength.


Simmons First National Corp.


Simmons First National Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, with total consolidated assets of approximately $20.8 billion as of March 31, 2020, conducting financial operations in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The Company, through its subsidiaries, offers comprehensive financial solutions delivered with a client-centric approach. The Company’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ Market under the symbol “SFNC.”