SPRINGFIELD, MO (STL.News) – Great Southern Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:GSBC), the holding company for Great Southern Bank, today reported that preliminary earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2019, were $1.23 per diluted common share ($17.6 million available to common shareholders) compared to $0.95 per diluted common share ($13.5 million available to common shareholders) for the three months ended March 31, 2018.
For the quarter ended March 31, 2019, annualized return on average common equity was 13.12%, return on average assets was 1.49%, and net interest margin was 4.06%, compared to 11.22%, 1.23% and 3.93%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2018.
President and CEO Joseph W. Turner commented, “We are pleased with our first quarter financial results. Return on average assets and return on average common equity were strong at 1.49% and 13.12%, respectively. Our efficiency ratio was 54.74% and reflected continued expense containment along with increased income from loan and investment growth. Net interest margin was 4.06%, which was an increase of 13 basis points from the first quarter of last year and a decrease of one basis point compared to the linked quarter. Core net interest margin was 3.93%, which was an increase of 12 basis points from the year ago quarter and flat compared to the linked quarter. Credit quality metrics during the quarter remained stable with low levels of classified assets.
“From the end of 2018, outstanding net loan receivable balances increased by $61 million. Total gross loan balances, which include unfunded loans, decreased $11 million from the end of 2018, with reductions in construction loans and consumer loans. We saw increases in outstanding balances for multi-family loans and commercial real estate loans. Consumer automobile loan balances were down $24 million during the quarter and are expected to continue decreasing in future periods.”
Turner continued, “The Company’s capital levels are strong and remain well in excess of regulatory capital requirements. The strength of our capital position enabled us during the first quarter to pay our stockholders a special cash dividend of $0.75 per common share and, separately, a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.32 per common share. Even after these dividends, both our common equity to total assets ratio and tangible common equity to tangible assets ratio were unchanged from year-end 2018 levels.”
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