LEWIS CENTER, Ohio, April 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DCB Financial Corp, (OTC Bulletin Board: DCBF) announced earnings of $0.33 per share for the three months ended March 31, 2004. This follows a record annual earnings year in which the Bank placed a significant focus on core earnings. "We have improved our margin, reduced non-interest expense, improved our credit quality and increased recurring non-interest income over the past year," said Jeff Benton, President and CEO. "Our reliance on volatile sources of earnings such as mortgage sale gains have declined considerably." The Bank recorded $507 thousand in income from loan sales in the first quarter 2003 compared to $30 thousand for the first quarter 2004. This was realized primarily from the strong mortgage refinance market in early 2003. This reduction in income from loan sales led to the decline from the $0.36 earnings per share in the first quarter of 2003. The Bank has reached a new high in total loans of $414 million at the end of the first quarter compared to $371 million at the end of the first quarter 2003. Total loans are up $9,775 or 2.4% from year-end 2003, while the allowance remains adequate at 106 bps as of March 31, 2004. In addition to the strong loan growth, deposit growth has remained steady. Net interest income was $4.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2004, compared to $4.7 million for the same period in 2003. The $181 thousand increase was mainly attributed to an increase in earning assets and a reduction in overall deposit and borrowing expense. The Company's net interest margin continued to improve at 392 basis points on average earning assets of $510.5 million. This compares to 3.72% for the three months ended December 31, 2003, a twenty-one basis point increase for the quarter. Non-performing loans for the first quarter 2004 were .36% compared to .78% for the same period in 2003. In addition, delinquent loans improved to 1.92% of total loans at March 31, 2004, from 2.57% of total loans for the same period in 2003. Total non- interest expense decreased $44 thousand or 3.28%, for the current period ended March 31, 2004, compared to the same period in 2003. The decrease was primarily the result of a decrease in professional and legal fees and salaries and benefits expenses. The Board of Directors has declared a dividend of $0.11 per share payable May 17, 2004 to shareholders of record April 30, 2004. This represents a 10% increase in the dividend paid last quarter. The Annual Report was mailed to shareholders on April 15 announcing the annual meeting for May 20, 2004 at 4:30 p.m. at the Company's corporate headquarters. "We are looking forward to sharing with our investors the many positive and exciting initiatives that have occurred or will be occurring as we go forward," said Benton.
SOURCE DCB Financial Corp