Kansas City, MO, April 13, 2017 - Commerce Bancshares, Inc. announced earnings of $.68 per common share for the three months ended March 31, 2017 compared to $.62 per share in the same quarter last year and $.68 per share in the fourth quarter of 2016. Net income attributable to Commerce Bancshares, Inc. for the first quarter amounted to $71.5 million, compared to $65.4 million in the first quarter of 2016 and $71.6 million in the prior quarter. For the quarter, the return on average assets was 1.15%, the return on average common equity was 11.7% and the efficiency ratio was 63.1%.
In making this announcement, David W. Kemper, Chairman and CEO, said, "This quarter we continued to experience solid loan demand as average loans grew 8% annualized, with most of this growth occurring in our commercial lending business. Average deposits also grew $373 million, or 7% annualized, this quarter after strong growth in the previous quarter. Net interest income increased $14.5 million this quarter compared to the same period last year while our net interest margin expanded to 3.14%. Growth in earning assets, coupled with an improving rate environment, had a positive impact to our margins. We continue to see good growth in both trust and deposit fees which grew 9% and 6%, respectively, this quarter over the same period last year, while mortgage banking fees continued to reflect solid growth. Non-interest expense grew by $5.6 million over the previous quarter but included seasonally higher benefits costs of $5.1 million which normally occur in the first quarter of each year."
Mr. Kemper added, "The overall credit environment continues to be very favorable as both net loan charge-offs and non-performing loans remain at low levels. For the current quarter, net loan charge-offs totaled $9.2 million, compared to $9.0 million in the previous quarter and $8.8 million in the first quarter of 2016. The ratio of annualized net loan charge-offs to average loans was .28% in both the current quarter and the same period last year. This quarter, net recoveries on commercial loans totaled $477 thousand compared to net recoveries in the prior quarter of $517 thousand. Net loan charge-offs of personal banking loans increased slightly to $9.7 million, mostly the result of higher credit card losses. During the current quarter, the provision for loan losses totaled $11.1 million, or $1.9 million higher than net loan charge-offs. The allowance for loan losses amounted to $157.8 million at March 31, 2017, or 1.16% of period end loans."
Total assets at March 31, 2017 were $25.3 billion, total loans were $13.6 billion, and total deposits were $21.1 billion. During the quarter, the Company paid a common cash dividend of $.225 per share, representing a 5% increase over the rate paid in 2016, and also paid a 6% cash dividend on its preferred stock.
Commerce Bancshares, Inc. is a registered bank holding company offering a full line of banking services, including investment management and securities brokerage. The Company currently operates in approximately 340 locations in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado.
This financial news release, including management's discussion of first quarter results, is posted to the Company's web site at www.commercebank.com.