First Merchants Profit Ticks Up

Posted: Updated:

Muncie-based First Merchants Corp. (Nasdaq: FRME) is reporting net income of $10 million for the second quarter, compared to $8.1 million during the same period in 2012. Chief Executive Officer Michael Rechin says steady loan volume growth and improving credit statistics boosted the bottom line.

July 25, 2013

News release

Muncie, Ind. -- First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ - FRME) has reported second quarter 2013 earnings per share of $0.34 compared to $0.28 during the same period in 2012. Net income available to common stockholders increased by $1.9 million totaling $10.0 million compared to $8.1 million during the same period in 2012. Year-to-date earnings per share totaled $0.72 compared to core earnings of $0.53 in the first half of 2012. Reported earnings for the first half of 2012 totaled $0.74 as the Corporation recorded a gain on its FDIC purchase of SCB Bank in Shelbyville, Indiana of $0.21 per share in the first quarter of 2012.

Michael C. Rechin, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "First Merchants continues to maintain earnings momentum despite modest margin compression. Loan volume growth is steady, all credit related metrics, including non-accrual assets, continue to show improvement and core net income is progressively better quarter-after-quarter. The quality of First Merchants credit statistics when combined with our earnings strength has allowed us to improve our capital structure as evidenced by the July redemption of $34.0 million in SBLF preferred stock."

Total assets equaled $4.3 billion as of quarter-end and loans were $2.9 billion, an increase of $122.4 million or 4.4 percent over the same period in 2012. The Corporation's commercial and industrial loans and commercial real estate loans increased by $105.4 million and $53.6 million, respectively. Residential real estate loans declined by $20.8 million during the same period as the Corporation continues to focus this line of business on fee for service mortgage loans. The Corporation's loan-to-deposit ratio is 87.6 percent and the loan-to-asset ratio is 67.3 percent.

Net-interest income totaled $36.7 million for the quarter as net-interest margin totaled 3.88 percent. Yields on earning assets totaled 4.29 percent and the cost of supporting liabilities totaled 0.41 percent.

Net-interest income totaled $38.1 million during the same quarter in 2012 as net interest margin totaled 4.11 percent. Of the $1.4 million reduction in net interest income, $314,000 was related to a reduction in fair value accounting in 2013. Year-to-date net-interest income totaled $76.1 million compared to $74.2 million during the first half of 2012. The $2.5 million interest recapture recognized in the first quarter of 2013 accounted for all of the increase.

Provision expense totaled $2.0 million for the second quarter of 2013, compared to $4.5 million in 2012. Net charge-offs totaled $2.3 million for the second quarter, down from $4.8 million in the second quarter of 2012. Due to the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses, year-to-date provision expense totaled $4.1 million versus $5.3 million of net charge-off's. The allowance for loan losses totaled $68.2 million, or 2.32 percent of total loans and 175 percent of non-accrual loans. Nonperforming assets declined by $26.1 million, or 32.1 percent year-over-year, and now total $55.1 million.

Non-interest income totaled $14.1 million for the quarter, an increase over the second quarter 2012 total of $13.2 million.

Year-to-date non-interest income totaled $27.9 million compared to $35.8 in 2012, which included a $9.1 million gain on the FDIC modified whole bank transaction in the first quarter of 2012. Non-interest expense totaled $33.7 million for the quarter, down $438,000 from the second quarter of 2012. Year-to-date non-interest expense totaled $68.4 million up just one third of a percent from the first half of 2012.

As of June 30, 2013, the Corporation's total risk-based capital equaled 15.69 percent, Tier 1 common risk-based capital equaled 10.13 percent, and tangible common equity ratio totaled 7.74 percent.

CONFERENCE CALL

First Merchants Corporation will conduct a second quarter earnings conference call and web cast at 2:30 p.m. (ET) on

Thursday, July 25, 2013.

To participate, dial (Toll Free) 888-317-6016 and reference First Merchants Corporation's second quarter earnings release.

International callers please call +1 412-317-6016. A replay of the call will be available until July 25, 2014. To access a replay

of the call, US participants should dial (Toll Free) 877-344-7529 or for International participants, dial +1 412-317-0088. The

replay passcode is 10030162.

In order to view the web cast and presentation slides, please go to http://services.choruscall.com/links/frme130725.html

during the time of the call.

About First Merchants Corporation

First Merchants Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Muncie, Indiana. The Corporation is comprised

of First Merchants Bank, N.A., which also operates as Lafayette Bank & Trust, Commerce National Bank, and First Merchants

Trust Company as divisions of First Merchants Bank, N.A. First Merchants Corporation also operates First Merchants

Insurance Group, a full-service property casualty, personal lines, and healthcare insurance agency.

First Merchants Corporation’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market System under the symbol FRME. Quotations are carried in daily newspapers and can be found on the company’s Internet web page (http://www.firstmerchants.com).