Through first quarter 2014, Southern Heritage Bank’s assets reached $244.9 million, a record high for the 15-year-old bank.
This represented asset growth of 3.4 percent since year-end 2013. Also, the bank experienced a 2.96 percent growth in deposits, while total loans decreased a like percentage during the same three-month period. First quarter net income was $686,000, which is on track with 2012 and 2013 earnings.
As a result of the bank’s solid performance, shareholders of record as of May 31 are receiving dividends ranging from $.40 to $.44 per share, depending on the classification of individual stock held. Dividends were paid on July 1.
“We are fortunate to achieve a performance level that rewards each shareholder for their faith, confidence and financial investment in Southern Heritage Bank,” said Lee Stewart, president and chief executive officer.
“Our bank and the entire Cleveland community benefit greatly from the astute fiscal guidance provided by our board of directors, and the responsible lending and money management practices exhibited by our officers and staff.”
Another Top Rating for SHB
In addition to its noteworthy financial performance, Southern Heritage is ranked in the top 5 percent of all U.S. community banks in Total Risk Index, as recently publicized by Siefried & Brew, an independent financial consulting firm.
Each year, S&B ranks all U.S. community banks and publishes its list of “Top 15th Percentile Banks.” The S&B Index models capital risk, credit risk, earnings at risk, liquidity risk and national/regional economic risk
“It’s always an honor to receive a superior rating from independent entities such as Siefried and Brew,” commented Steve Ledbetter, executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“This particular rating validates that Southern Heritage manages risk in a manner that is appropriate for the market we serve.”
Since October 2013, Southern Heritage has received “top ratings” from three independent ratings services: Bauer Financial, Weiss Ratings and now Siegfried and Brew.
Merger Progressing as Planned
As previously announced, the Southern Heritage Bancshares Inc. merger with First Citizens Bancshares Inc. will close by the end of the third quarter. Following the completed transaction, Southern Heritage Bank will retain its name and will remain a separately-chartered bank, operating as a subsidiary of First Citizens Bancshares.
Southern Heritage Bank was established in Cleveland in 1998, and opened for business the following year. The bank operates exclusively in Bradley County with three full-service banking centers.
For more information, visit www.southernheritagebank.com or the bank’s Facebook page.