Sandy Spring Bancorp Reports Record Annual Earnings of $235.1 Million

Company Achieves Record Loan Production in the Fourth Quarter

Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc., (Nasdaq-SASR), the parent company of Sandy Spring Bank, reported net income of $45.4 million ($0.99 per diluted common share) for the quarter ended December 31, 2021. The current quarter compares to $56.7 million ($1.19 per diluted common share) for the fourth quarter of 2020 and net income of $57.0 million ($1.20 per diluted common share) for the third quarter of 2021. 

Core earnings were $47.8 million ($1.05 per diluted common share), compared to $55.7 million ($1.18 per diluted common share) for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 and $52.0 million ($1.10 per diluted common share) for the quarter ended September 30, 2021. The impact of the provision for credit losses and provision on unfunded loan commitments, merger and acquisition expense, loss on FHLB redemptions, amortization of intangibles and investment securities gains, each on an after-tax basis, are excluded in the determination of core earnings. 

The provision for credit losses for the current quarter was $1.6 million as compared to a credit of $4.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2020 and credit of $8.2 million for the third quarter of 2021. While the continued improvement in forecasted macroeconomic indicators, most notably the forecasted unemployment rate, resulted in credits for the provision for credit losses during most of 2021, the current quarter's provision was primarily the result of the growth in the loan portfolio that occurred during the quarter. 

“This was an exceptional year for our company. Our wealth group significantly grew our assets under management, our mortgage business delivered another strong year, and our credit quality has remained stable.” said Daniel J. Schrider, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are especially pleased with the significant commercial loan production the team delivered in the fourth quarter. These record results will fuel continued growth for our company and represent our position of strength in the market.”

Fourth Quarter Highlights:

  • Core earnings for the fourth quarter of 2021 were $47.8 million compared to $55.7 million for the prior year quarter as an increase in net interest income was exceeded by lower non-interest income and increased non-interest expense compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. The decline in non-interest income reflected the effect of lower mortgage banking income, the result of rising mortgage interest rates during 2021. Non-interest expense rose in response to increased compensation costs associated with performance and production benchmarks, operational and staffing costs and expenses related to the implementation of strategic initiatives.
  • At December 31, 2021, total assets were $12.6 billion, a 2% decrease compared to $12.8 billion at December 31, 2020. During the year, excess liquidity resulting from deposit growth and PPP loan forgiveness was used to reduce borrowings as well as fund the loan growth that occurred in the fourth quarter.
  • Total loans declined 4%, driven by a reduction of $874.4 million in PPP loans. Excluding the impact of the PPP forgiveness, total commercial loans grew by $681.1 million during the year, while residential mortgage and consumer loans declined a combined $259.9 million due to run-off. In the second half of 2021, $2.1 billion in new gross loan production of which $1.5 billion was funded, more than offset $873.8 million in commercial loan run-off. During the fourth quarter of the current year, funded commercial loan production increased to $937.3 million or 115% compared to $435.2 million for the same quarter of the prior year.
  • Year-over-year deposits increased 6%, driven by 14% growth in noninterest-bearing deposits and 2% growth in interest-bearing deposits, reflecting the impact of the PPP program and the growth in transaction relationships, while time deposits declined $366.8 million. 
  • During the past twelve months, borrowings of $835.5 million were eliminated. The reduction in borrowings included the redemption of $31.0 million of 5.65% subordinated debt acquired as part of the Revere Bank ("Revere") acquisition and $25.0 million of 4.75% subordinated debt acquired as part of the WashingtonFirst Bankshares, Inc. ("WashingtonFirst") acquisition.
  • For the fourth quarter of 2021, the net interest margin was 3.51%, compared to 3.38% for the same quarter of 2020, and 3.52% for the third quarter of 2021. Excluding the impact of the amortization of the fair value marks derived from acquisitions, the current quarter’s net interest margin would have been 3.52%, compared to 3.31% for fourth quarter of 2020, and 3.49% for the third quarter of 2021. Solely excluding the impact of PPP loans, the current quarter’s net interest margin would have been 3.30%, compared to 3.46% for the fourth quarter of 2020, and 3.35% for the third quarter of 2021.
  • The provision for credit losses was $1.6 million for the current quarter compared to the prior year quarter’s credit to the provision of $4.5 million. The provision for the current quarter compared to the prior year quarter's credit to the provision was the result of the growth in the loan portfolio during the current quarter. The additions to the allowance during the current quarter to reflect increased portfolio balances were partially offset by reductions that reflected continued improvement in forecasted economic variables. 
  • Non-interest income for the current quarter decreased by 30% or $9.7 million compared to the prior year quarter. Income from mortgage banking activities declined 75%, which was partially offset by 17% growth in wealth management income, 20% growth in service charges on deposit accounts and 16% growth in bank card fees. 
  • Non-interest expense for the current quarter increased $4.5 million or 7% compared to the prior year quarter. This increase was driven by increases in compensation costs, predominantly incentive compensation tied to the achievement of performance and loan production benchmarks. 
  • Return on average assets (“ROA”) for the quarter ended December 31, 2021 was 1.41% and return on average tangible common equity (“ROTCE”) was 16.07% compared to 1.78% and 21.89%, respectively, for the fourth quarter of 2020. On a non-GAAP basis, the current quarter's core ROA was 1.48% and core ROTCE was 16.92% compared to core ROA of 1.75% and core ROTCE of 21.52% for the fourth quarter of 2020. 
  • For the fourth quarter of 2021, the GAAP efficiency ratio was 51.75% compared to 46.69% for the fourth quarter of 2020, and 48.23% for the third quarter of 2021. The non-GAAP efficiency ratio for the fourth quarter of 2021 was 50.17% compared to 45.09% for the prior year quarter, and 46.67% for the third quarter of 2021. The deterioration of the non-GAAP efficiency ratio was driven by the combination of a decline in non-interest income and an increase in non-interest expense. 
  • During the quarter, the Company repurchased 1,088,172 shares of its common stock at an average price of $48.66 per share. The shares repurchased during the quarter completed the authorized repurchase of 2,350,000 shares under the current repurchase authorization.

Balance Sheet and Credit Quality

Total assets declined 2% to $12.6 billion at December 31, 2021, as compared to $12.8 billion at December 31, 2020. During this period, total loans declined by 4% to $10.0 billion at December 31, 2021, compared to $10.4 billion at December 31, 2020. Excluding PPP loans, total loans at December 31, 2021 grew 5% to $9.8 billion as compared to $9.3 billion at December 31, 2020, as the commercial loan portfolio grew $681.1 million, while the residential mortgage loan portfolio declined $152.6 million. The growth in the commercial portfolio, excluding PPP loans, occurred in all commercial portfolios led by the $506.6 million or 14% growth in the investor owned commercial portfolio. The year-over-year decline in the mortgage loan portfolio resulted from the continuing sale of a majority of new mortgage loan production.

Deposit growth was 6% during the past twelve months, as noninterest-bearing deposits experienced growth of 14% and interest-bearing deposits grew 2%. This growth was driven primarily by the impact of the PPP program and, to a lesser extent, growth in interest-bearing transaction relationships.

Tangible common equity ratio increased to 9.21% of tangible assets at December 31, 2021, compared to 8.61% at December 31, 2020 as a result of 2021 earnings, net of the $107.3 million repurchase of common shares, and the decrease in tangible assets during the past year. Excluding the impact of the PPP program from tangible assets at December 31, 2021, the tangible common equity ratio would be 9.35%. At December 31, 2021, the Company had a total risk-based capital ratio of 14.55%, a common equity tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 11.88%, a tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 11.88%, and a tier 1 leverage ratio of 9.26%. 

Non-performing loans include non-accrual loans, accruing loans 90 days or more past due and restructured loans. At December 31, 2021, the level of non-performing loans to total loans was 0.49% compared to 1.11% at December 31, 2020, and 0.80% at September 30, 2021. At December 31, 2021, non-performing loans totaled $48.8 million, compared to $115.5 million at December 31, 2020, and $78.2 million at September 30, 2021. Loans placed on non-accrual during the current quarter amounted to $0.5 million compared to $54.7 million for the prior year quarter and $5.7 million for the third quarter of 2021. Non-accrual loans at quarter end declined from the prior quarter due primarily to payoff activity. Loans greater than 90 days or more past due decreased from the prior quarter as a result of the extension of existing performing portfolio loans that were in process of being extended at the end of the prior quarter end. 

The Company recorded net charge-offs of $0.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, as compared to net charge-offs of $0.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2020 and net charge-offs of $7.8 million for the third quarter of 2021.

At December 31, 2021, the allowance for credit losses was $109.1 million or 1.10% of outstanding loans and 224% of non-performing loans, compared to $107.9 million or 1.11% of outstanding loans and 138% of non-performing loans at the end of the previous quarter. Excluding PPP loans, the allowance for credit losses to outstanding loans was 1.12% at December 31, 2021. The increase in the allowance during the current quarter compared to the previous quarter was the result of the growth in the loan portfolio during the quarter, net of the impact of continued improvement in forecasted economic metrics, in addition to the update to various metrics applied in the determination of the allowance for credit losses.

Income Statement Review

Quarterly Results

The Company recorded net income of $45.4 million for the three months ended December 31, 2021, compared to net income of $56.7 million for the prior year quarter. The results for the current quarter reflect a combination of the impact of an increased provision for credit losses, decreased mortgage banking income and growth in non-interest expense from the fourth quarter of the prior year. 

For the fourth quarter of 2021, net interest income increased $5.4 million or 5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, due primarily to a significant reduction in interest expense during the preceding twelve months. During this period, as general market interest rates declined, interest income declined modestly by $1.7 million, while interest expense on deposits, notably money market, time deposits, and borrowings, declined to a greater extent, resulting in a $7.2 million decrease in interest expense. Interest expense on interest-bearing deposits declined $3.6 million and interest expense on borrowings declined $3.6 million. For the current quarter, the PPP program contributed $9.2 million to net interest income, of which $8.3 million represented origination fees. The net interest margin for the fourth quarter of 2021 was 3.51% as compared to 3.38% for the same quarter of the prior year, primarily the result of decreased funding costs during the current period. Excluding the net $0.5 million impact of the amortization of the fair value marks derived from acquisitions, the net interest margin for the current quarter would have been 3.52% compared to the adjusted net interest margin of 3.31% for the fourth quarter of 2020. 

The provision for credit losses was $1.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to a charge of $4.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. The provision for credit losses for the third quarter of 2021 was a credit of $8.2 million. The provision for the current quarter compared to the prior year quarter's credit to the provision was the result of the origination of new credits and the changes in the mix of the loan portfolio during the current quarter. Continued improvement in forecasted economic variables continued to positively impact the allowance for credit losses in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Non-interest income decreased $9.7 million or 30% for the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to the prior year quarter. This decrease is the result of a $10.9 million or 75% decline in income from mortgage banking activities, which exceeded the 17% growth in wealth management income, 20% growth in service charges on deposit accounts and 16% growth in bank card fees. In addition, other non-interest income declined 24% compared to the prior year primarily as a result of a decrease in credit related fees. The growth in wealth management income continued to reflect the positive impact of the Rembert Pendleton Jackson ("RPJ") acquisition in 2020, in addition to the performance in the financial markets and the expansion of the wealth management client base. The growth in service charge income reflects the impact of the prior year's temporary suspension of certain service fees as well as lower transaction volume, both a resulting reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bank card fees grew compared to the prior year quarter driven by transaction volume. 

Non-interest expense increased $4.5 million or 7% for the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to the prior year quarter. The increase was driven by rising compensation costs and occupancy and equipment expenses, which were partially offset by a significant reduction in FDIC insurance expense and other expenses. Salary and benefit expense increased $5.5 million as a result of incentive compensation tied to performance and loan production benchmarks. The increase in occupancy and equipment expense reflects increases in depreciation and software amortization expense. FDIC insurance expense declined from the prior year quarter due to the reduction in risk factors applied by the regulatory agency in the determination of the Company's premium. Other expenses decreased principally due to a reduction in the current quarter's provision for credit losses provided on lines of credit compared to the prior year. 

For the fourth quarter of 2021, the GAAP efficiency ratio was 51.75% compared to 46.69% for the fourth quarter of 2020, and 48.23% for the third quarter of 2021. The non-GAAP efficiency ratio was 50.17% for the current quarter as compared to 45.09% for the fourth quarter of 2020, and 46.67% for the third quarter of 2021. The increase in the efficiency ratio (reflecting a decrease in efficiency) from the fourth quarter of the prior year to the current year quarter was the result of the 7% growth in non-GAAP non-interest expense combined with the 3% decline in non-GAAP revenue. ROA for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2021 was 1.41% and ROTCE was 16.07% compared to 1.75% and 19.56%, respectively, for the third quarter of 2021. On a non-GAAP basis, the current quarter's core ROA was 1.48% and core ROTCE was 16.92% compared to core ROA of 1.60% and core ROTCE of 17.85% for the prior quarter of 2021. 

Full Year Results

The Company recorded net income of $235.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to net income of $97.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. Core earnings were $211.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to $189.4 million for the prior year. The current year benefited from increased net interest income of $61.4 million and a $45.6 million credit to the provision for credit losses. The current year's non-interest income reflected a decline in mortgage banking income offset by increases in service charges, wealth management income, bank card fees and other non-interest income. Non-interest expense experienced increases in the majority of categories resulting from the full year impact of operational and compensation costs associated with the acquisitions in 2020, the implementation of strategic initiatives and the achievement of performance and loan production benchmarks. The prior year's results reflected the combined impact of merger and acquisition expense associated with the Revere acquisition, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economic forecast used in the determination of the allowance for credit losses and the additional provision for credit losses associated with the acquisition of Revere during that period. 

Net interest income for the year ended December 31, 2021 increased 17% or $61.4 million compared to the prior year driven by the increase in interest income from the commercial loan portfolio and the overall decrease in interest expense during the current year. These positive impacts were partially offset by the decrease in interest income on the investment securities and the mortgage and consumer loan portfolios. Contributing to the growth in net interest income, the PPP program, net of its funding costs, generated $44.7 million during the current year as compared to $19.0 million in the prior year. The net interest margin improved to 3.56% for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared to 3.35% for the prior year. Excluding the net $4.1 million impact of the amortization of the fair value marks derived from acquisitions, the net interest margin for the current year would have been 3.52%. The net interest margin for 2020, excluding the amortization of fair value marks, would have been 3.23%. 

The provision for credit losses for the year ended December 31, 2021 amounted to a credit of $45.6 million as compared to a charge of $85.7 million for 2020. For the year ended December 31, 2021, the credit for the provision for credit losses, compared to the prior year's charge to the provision, reflects the impact of the continued improvement in forecasted economic metrics, notably the rate of unemployment, anticipated business bankruptcies and the housing price index. These decreases were partially offset by the loan growth in the fourth quarter of 2021 and qualitative factors applied in the determination of the allowance. The charge to the provision for credit losses for the same period in 2020 predominantly reflected the combined results of the impact of the deteriorated economic forecasts during the first half of 2020 and the initial allowance on acquired Revere non-purchased credit deteriorated loans. 

For the year ended December 31, 2021, non-interest income decreased 1% to $102.1 million compared to $102.7 million for 2020. Wealth management income increased $6.3 million year-over-year as assets under management grew $927 million. Service charge income also increased 17% as customer activity increased. As a result of increased transaction volume, bank card fees grew 22% compared to the prior year period. Other non-interest income also grew significantly compared to the prior year as a result of the combination of the full payoff of a purchased credit deteriorated loan, credit related fees and activity-based contractual vendor incentives. Income from mortgage banking activities decreased during the year compared to the prior year as a result of declining origination volumes.

Non-interest expense was $260.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared to $255.8 million for 2020. The current year included $9.1 million in prepayment penalties on FHLB borrowings compared to $5.9 million in prepayment penalties in the prior year. The prior year included $25.2 million in merger and acquisition expense. Excluding the impact of these items results in a year-over-year growth rate in non-interest expense of 12%. This growth was driven by a combination of operational and compensation costs associated with the 2020 acquisitions, staffing increases, and incentive compensation associated with volume-based and performance benchmarks, in addition to increases in professional fees and services associated with certain strategic initiatives, intangible asset amortization, marketing and outside data services cost. 

The effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2021 was 24.56%, compared to a tax rate of 22.08% for the same period in 2020. The current year's effective tax rate reflects a more normalized rate, while the prior year's rate reflected the favorable result of the changes to tax laws in 2020 that expanded the time permitted to utilize previous net operating losses. The Company applied this change to the 2018 acquisition of WashingtonFirst to realize a tax benefit of $1.8 million for 2020, resulting in a greater proportional benefit from the operating income in 2020. 

For the year ended 2021, the GAAP efficiency ratio was 49.47% compared to 54.90% for the same period in 2020. The non-GAAP efficiency ratio the current year was 46.17% compared to 46.53% for to prior year. The improvement in the current year’s non-GAAP efficiency ratio compared to the prior year was the result of the 13% growth in non-GAAP revenue, which outpaced the 12% growth in non-GAAP non-interest expense.

Explanation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This news release contains financial information and performance measures determined by methods other than in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”). The Company’s management believes that the supplemental non-GAAP information provides a better comparison of period-to-period operating performance. Additionally, the Company believes this information is utilized by regulators and market analysts to evaluate a company’s financial condition and therefore, such information is useful to investors. Non-GAAP measures used in this release consist of the following: 

  • Tangible common equity and related measures are non-GAAP measures that exclude the impact of goodwill and other intangible assets.
  • The non-GAAP efficiency ratio excludes amortization of intangible assets, loss on FHLB redemption, merger and acquisition expense and investment securities gains and includes tax-equivalent income.
  • Core earnings and the related measures of core earnings per diluted common share, core return on average assets and core return on average tangible common equity reflect net income exclusive of the provision/(credit) for credit losses, provision/(credit) for credit losses on unfunded loan commitments, merger and acquisition expense, amortization of intangible assets, loss on FHLB redemption, and investment securities gains, on a net of tax basis. 

These disclosures should not be viewed as a substitute for financial results in accordance with GAAP, nor are they necessarily comparable to non-GAAP performance measures which may be presented by other companies. Please refer to the non-GAAP Reconciliation tables included with this release for a reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

Conference Call

The Company’s management will host a conference call to discuss its fourth quarter results today at 2:00 p.m. (ET). A live Webcast of the conference call is available through the Investor Relations section of the Sandy Spring Website. Participants may call 844.200.6205. Please use the following access code: 433045. Visitors to the Website are advised to log on 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled start of the call. An internet-based replay will be available on the website until February 3, 2022. A replay of the teleconference will be available through the same time period by calling 866.813.9403 under conference call number 511846. 

About Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc.

Sandy Spring Bancorp, Inc., headquartered in Olney, Maryland, is the holding company for Sandy Spring Bank, a premier community bank in the Greater Washington, D.C. region. With over 50 locations, the bank offers a broad range of commercial and retail banking, mortgage, private banking, and trust services throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Through its subsidiaries, Rembert Pendleton Jackson, Sandy Spring Insurance Corporation and West Financial Services, Inc., Sandy Spring Bank also offers a comprehensive menu of insurance and wealth management services.

For additional information or questions, please contact:
Daniel J. Schrider, President & Chief Executive Officer, or 
Philip J. Mantua, E.V.P. & Chief Financial Officer
Sandy Spring Bancorp 
17801 Georgia Avenue
Olney, Maryland 20832
800.399.5919
Email:
[email protected]
[email protected]

Media Contact:
Jen Schell 
301.570.8331
[email protected]

Forward-Looking Statements

Sandy Spring Bancorp’s forward-looking statements are subject to the following principal risks and uncertainties: risks, uncertainties and other factors relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the effect of the pandemic on our borrowers and their ability to make payments on their obligations, the effectiveness of vaccination programs, and the effect of remedial actions and stimulus measures adopted by federal, state and local governments; general economic conditions and trends, either nationally or locally; conditions in the securities markets; changes in interest rates; changes in deposit flows, and in the demand for deposit, loan, and investment products and other financial services; changes in real estate values; changes in the quality or composition of the Company’s loan or investment portfolios; changes in competitive pressures among financial institutions or from non-financial institutions; the Company’s ability to retain key members of management; changes in legislation, regulations, and policies; the possibility that any of the anticipated benefits of acquisitions will not be realized or will not be realized within the expected time period; and a variety of other matters which, by their nature, are subject to significant uncertainties. Sandy Spring Bancorp provides greater detail regarding some of these factors in its Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, including in the Risk Factors section of that report, and in its other SEC reports. Sandy Spring Bancorp’s forward-looking statements may also be subject to other risks and uncertainties, including those that it may discuss elsewhere in this news release or in its filings with the SEC, accessible on the SEC’s Web site at www.sec.gov.

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