Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Southside Bancshares fourth quarter and year-end 2016 earnings conference call. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.
I would like to introduce your host for today's conference, Mrs. Deborah Wilkinson. You may begin.
Thank you, Tiara. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining Southside Bancshares' fourth quarter and year-end 2016 earnings call. The purpose for this call is to discuss the Company's results for the quarter and year just ended and our outlook for upcoming quarters. A transcript of today's call will be posted on southside.com under Investor Relations.
(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements).
Joining me today to review Southside Bancshares' fourth-quarter and year-end 2016 results are Lee Gibson, our President and CEO, and Julie Shamburger, our CFO. Our agenda today is as follows: first you'll hear Julie discuss an overview of financial results for the fourth quarter and the year ended 2016, including loan growth, asset quality, oil and gas exposure, an update on our securities portfolio, and an update on our public offering that was completed in December of 2016. Then, Lee will share his comments on the quarter.
I will now turn the call over to Julie.
Thank you, Deborah. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Southside Bancshares' 2016 fourth quarter and year-end earnings call.
We reported fourth quarter net income of $11.6 million compared to fourth quarter 2015 net income of $11.7 million, a 1% decrease. Excluding the gain and loss on sales of securities from both quarters, net income during the fourth quarter 2016 increased $1.8 million or 15.2% compared to the same period in 2015.
We are pleased to report record net income of $49.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, an increase of $5.4 million or 12.2% when compared to $44 million for the year ended 2015.
Our diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2016, were $0.43 per share, a decrease of $0.01 or 2.3% compared to $0.44 per share for the same period last year. For the year ended December 31, 2016, diluted earnings per common share increased $0.21 or 12.7% to $1.86 as compared $1.65 for the year ended 2015.
On a linked-quarter basis, we reported an increase in total loans at $73 million. For the year ended December 31, 2016, total loans increased by $124.8 million or 5.1% when compared to December 31, 2015. The growth primarily resulted from an increase in our commercial real estate loan portfolio, and, to a lesser extent, we increased the municipal loan portfolio.
We continued to see roll-off in the indirect consumer portfolio, approximately $44 million during 2016. The indirect portfolio decreased to $36 million at the end of the year and we do not anticipate the roll-off in this category will significantly impact our efforts to grow the loan portfolio during 2017.
As we stated in our earnings release today, our loan top line remains strong and we expect consistent loan growth throughout 2017. At December 31,
EVP and IR Officer
President and CEO
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