SmartFinancial, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMBK) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 22, 2020 • 10:00 am ET

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SmartFinancial, Inc. (NASDAQ:SMBK) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good morning, and welcome to the SmartFinancial Fourth Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the conference over to Miller Welborn, Chairman of the Board. Please go ahead.

Executive
Miller Welborn

Thanks, Ally. Good morning, and thanks for joining our Q4 call this morning. Before I get started, I'd like you to please refer to Page 2 of the deck with our legal statement and forward-looking disclaimer.

With me this morning, Billy Carroll, our CEO; Ron Gorczynski, our CFO; Cynthia Cain, our Senior Vice President of Financial Planning; and Frank Hughes with Investor Relations.

As you know, we reported out our Q4 '19 earnings at the close of business yesterday, and we're excited to chat about those numbers this morning. A couple of highlights from Q4. Strong income at $6.7 million, a really strong EPS we feel with $0.48 GAAP earnings and $0.46 operating earnings versus consensus of about $0.40, strong quarterly ROA at 1.12%. Our asset quality remained pristine, and we're very proud of that with NPAs at a 0.21%. Strong loan growth, right where we projected, about 7% annualized and our tangible book value increased to $16.82, really proud of that 14.9% increase for the year 2019.

We did announce another acquisition of Progressive Financial and we initiated the first-ever quarterly dividend with our company and we think that's a landmark move for us too. As you can see, we've never been busier here at the bank and we've never been more excited about the future of this bank. Our board is very bullish on our markets and our team and our economic outlook for the Southeast. Sure there are few headwinds with the current low rate environment, but we are confident we will still continue to outwork others and gain market share.

With that, I will turn it over to Billy Carroll and let him dive into some of the details. Billy?

Analyst
Billy Carroll

Sounds good. Thanks, Miller, and thanks everyone for joining the call today. As you know, as Miller said, a really solid quarter for us. While we had several moving parts over the past few months, we continue to really make nice strides in our company and closed out a really successful year. We accomplished a number of our goals in '19 and I believe we've set ourselves up really well as we look into 2020.

We had a bunch of change in our bank during 2019 and still ended up hitting most all of our targets. For the fourth quarter, as Miller alluded to, came in with a nice ROA, had an operating ROA of 1.08% and our operating ROE of just over 11%. Again, some moving parts that helped us hit those numbers, and Ron is going to give some additional color on that in just a second. But as you see, the overall return trends that we have continued to progress and continue to be solid.

Loan growth was in line with our expectations, coming in at 7% annualized for the