United Community Banks Inc. (NASDAQ: UCBI) has announced its first-quarter 2018 financial results. The bank’s net income was $37.7 million, or $0.47 per diluted share, compared with $23.5 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2017. On an operating basis, net income rose to $39.7 million for the first quarter of 2018, compared with $28.2 million for the first quarter of 2017.
“Our first-quarter earnings are a strong start to what we expect will be another exceptional year for United Community Banks Inc.,” said Jimmy Tallent, chairman and CEO. “Our bankers excelled in nearly every financial measure, reporting solid improvement in return on assets, return on tangible common equity, operating efficiency, and more. … Our operating efficiency ratio was 55.7 percent, our best ever, which is a credit to our bankers who work hard to provide the best customer service in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”
Tallent, in part, attributes the current success to the merger in their first quarter between NLFC Holdings Corp. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Navitas Credit Corp. “This fast-growing company is a solid strategic addition to our existing specialty and commercial-lending businesses and enables us to further expand our client offerings,” Tallent said. “This partnership brings exceptional growth and a significant profitability enhancement to United and is a solid win for both of us.”
The first-quarter operating expenses of 2018 were $70.8 million, compared with $68.5 million for the fourth quarter and $60.8 million a year ago. The increases from a year ago and from the fourth quarter of 2017 are primarily due to the acquisitions of Navitas on Feb. 1, 2018, Four Oaks Bank & Trust Company on Nov. 1, 2017, and Horry County State Bank on July 31, 2017.
“As our first quarter financial results demonstrate, we are off to a great start for 2018,” Tallent said. “I could not be more confident in the future of this company, and I eagerly anticipate the successes that will be achieved in the quarters ahead. Every day our bankers demonstrate their passion and commitment, which drive our performance and ensure our success. This is a legacy I take great pride in.”