West Bancorporation, Inc. (Nasdaq: WTBA; the “Company”), parent company of West Bank, reported that first quarter 2019 net income was $6.9 million, or $0.42 per diluted common share, compared to first quarter 2018 net income of $7.4 million, or $0.45 per diluted common share. The financial results of the first quarter 2019 were impacted by compensation, professional fees and occupancy costs related to the Company’s new growth strategy, which totaled $453 thousand on a pretax basis. On March 4, 2019, the Company announced that, through its subsidiary West Bank, it is initiating a growth strategy in three new Minnesota markets. West Bank has begun loan production activities in Owatonna, Mankato and St. Cloud, Minnesota.
On April 24, 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.21 per common share, an increase of $0.01 from the prior quarter and representing a record high quarterly dividend for the Company. The dividend is payable on May 22, 2019, to stockholders of record on May 8, 2019.
“We are excited about our recent expansion in Minnesota,” commented Dave Nelson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. “We have successfully executed the initial phases of the growth strategy which include the hiring of several key bankers in communities that we believe are strong markets and will provide exceptional opportunities for West Bank. This expansion is an investment in the future of West Bank and reflects management’s commitment to creating value for our stockholders.”
Brad Winterbottom, West Bank President, said, “West Bank continues to deliver solid performance and consistent growth. West Bank’s loan and deposit balances have increased by 16.4 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively, as of March 31, 2019 compared to March 31, 2018.” In addition, Brad Winterbottom commented, “West Bank’s expansion in Minnesota is well underway with investments in people and facilities that have already begun loan production. We see opportunities in all of our markets for stable organic loan growth while staying committed to our disciplined approach to credit quality.”
Eastern Iowa Market President, Jim Conard, commented, “Our eastern Iowa commercial banking team followed up our 31.3 percent loan portfolio expansion in 2018 with another 7.2 percent growth this quarter. Additionally, our pipeline for future new loan and deposit business remains robust as we continue to earn new business by serving our clients’ needs.”
“West Bank in Rochester continues with good momentum in 2019 as our relationship-based, business-focused banking model continues to differentiate us from other banks,” said Mike Zinser, West Bank’s Rochester Market President. “We believe we have the most seasoned and experienced banking team in this market, which has helped us build our strongest business loan pipeline since we entered the Rochester market in 2013. Our high service, concierge type principal banking model continues to be well received on the personal banking side and is driving strong deposit growth for the Rochester office.”