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Mortgages help boost Independent Bank earnings in 2020

BY Thursday, January 28, 2021 02:27pm

Independent Bank Corp. posted strong earnings growth during 2020 based in part on a strong mortgage pipeline and despite pandemic-related challenges.

The Grand Rapids-based Independent Bank (Nasdaq: IBCP) this morning reported $16.9 million in net income for the fourth quarter, or 77 cents per diluted share. That’s a 22 percent increase from the $13.8 million, or 61 cents per diluted share, recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019.

President and CEO Brad Kessel COURTESY PHOTO

Full-year net income for 2020 grew nearly 21 percent to $56.1 million, or $2.53 per diluted share, from $46.4 million, or $2 per diluted share, in 2019.

The improved results came despite what President and CEO Brad Kessel termed “the extraordinary circumstances and challenges” from COVID-19 pandemic.

“2020 has been an extraordinary period of time for all of us,” Kessel said today during a conference call with analysts. “If we learned anything from 2020, it is the importance of PPP in today’s world, and that is people, perseverance and purpose.”

Among the drivers of the bank’s financial results was $1.8 billion in mortgage originations during the year that more than doubled a net gain on mortgage lending to $62.6 million. The mortgage pipeline “has continued to stay strong” in the first few weeks of 2021, Kessel said.

The bank also recorded strong deposit growth of $600 million, of 19.8 percent, to $3.63 billion at the end of 2020.

Independent Bank recorded a $12.4 million loan-loss provision for 2020, compared to just $824,000 in 2019. The provision for 2020 “principally reflects the unique challenges and economic uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and potential impact on the loan portfolio,” Chief Financial Officer Gavin Mohr said.

Independent Bank has 61 offices in the Lower Peninsula with $4.2 billion in total assets. The bank during 2020 closed six branches and opened a new office in Brighton.

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