LEWIS CENTER, Ohio, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- DCB Financial Corp (OTC Bulletin Board: DCBF) (The Corporation), parent of the Delaware County Bank & Trust Company (The Bank), announced record earnings of $5.02 million for the year ended December 31, 2003. This represents a 26% increase over the $4.0 million of net earnings recorded in calendar 2002. Net earnings for the quarter ended December 31, 2003 of $0.33 per share compared to earnings of $0.15 per share for the same quarter in 2002. This represents a 120% increase in earnings per share. For the year ended December 31, 2003, earnings per share totaled $1.26, compared to $0.96 for calendar year 2002, a 31% increase. Net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2003 totaled $1.31 million, compared to $623 thousand for the comparable 2002 quarter. The Corporation's net interest margin in the fourth quarter of 2003 rebounded from a decline in the third quarter and is moving in a positive direction. This favorable trend, in part, is attributed to the end of the introductory interest rate that the Bank had offered on its Platinum Savings Plus account. Loans grew by 9.3% in 2003. Checking and savings deposits also grew at 5% for the year. Credit quality improved significantly during 2003, as evidenced by a decline in net charge-offs of loans from .66% in 2002 to .31% in 2003. Non-accrual loans also declined from $3.39 million at December 2002 to $1.61 million at the end of 2003, while delinquent loans improved to 1.56% of total loans from 2.08% of total loans, year over year. Numerous cost control measures helped reduce non-interest expense, which declined from $4.58 million in the fourth quarter of 2002 to $4.22 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. The key driver of this improvement is the full time equivalent headcount decrease from 204 in December 2002 to 184 at year end 2003. Return on assets for the year ending December 31, 2003 was .94% compared to .77% in 2002. "We are pleased with The Bank's performance and the many positive trends that were established in 2003", said Jeff Benton, President and CEO. "We are certainly looking forward to continuing to raise our levels of performance in 2004 and beyond. Our local market remains strong and continues to grow. With that growth also come competitive challenges, but we believe we have positioned The Corporation to meet those challenges in the coming years." The Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.10 per common share to shareholders of record on January 30, 2004 and payable February 17, 2004.
SOURCE DCB Financial Corp