To Our Shareholders, Customers, and Friends:
We are pleased to present to you the Annual Report for 2015. The past year was busy and exciting, highlighted by Citizens National Bank of Albion's purchase of the Bank of Lawrence County on April 20. This acquisition allowed us to expand, with branches in Bridgeport and Lawrenceville. Overall, it was a very successful year, as the bank achieved all-time highs in asset size, net income, and shareholder equity. On the following pages, comparative data for 2015 and 2014, prepared by our external auditor, Crowe Horwath LLP, is available for your review.
Total bank assets at year's end reached a record high of $315,849,586. The growth in assets can be attributed to an increase in the loan portfolio of $35,613,893. Total deposits were positively impacted by the acquisition of our Lawrence County branches, with a year-end total of $255,303,140. Due to the continued trend of flat interest rates, it is a challenge to find funding sources for the loan growth. Net income was at an all-time high of $3,141,521, and shareholder equity ended the year at $47,255,317, or $295.34 per book value share.
Unfortunately, the economy in Southern Illinois has weakened over the past 12 months, evidenced by the unemployment rate going up in four of the five counties where we have banking offices. The oil, coal, and agricultural industries are all experiencing weak prices. Specifically, the oil and coal sectors are coping with prices under the cost of production, causing worker layoffs. Our farmers had a mixed year, with good production but input prices that remain stubbornly high. Despite the good com and soybean yields, commodity prices are at or below production costs. However, the bank has prepared for this economic volatility as the allowance for loan losses has increased to $2,571,435. On a positive note, there remains a local demand in manufacturing, as Fram continues to advertise for workers.
In addition to our Lawrence County acquisition, there were other special events throughout the year. On Sunday, August 2, we celebrated the 751h anniversary of the bank with an open house at Albion. It was a rewarding day as many customers, stockholders, and friends filled the bank lobby and joined us in commemorating 75 years as Citizens National Bank of Albion.
In December, our Olney Vice President, Walter Koertge, retired after more than 40 years as a banker. Walter began with us in 2001 when we first opened the Olney Branch and was instrumental in its success. A public reception was held in December to honor Walter, and we wish him a happy retirement.
We also recognized Stephen Ward, who reached his 40th year of employment. Steve started his career with CNB in 1975, and we thank him for his many years of service. Lastly, we would like to thank our Board of Directors and all our employees for their hard work and long hours during the acquisition and conversion of our new Bridgeport and Lawrenceville branches.
Many challenges lie ahead in 2016. The U.S. and world markets have been tumultuous with the fluctuating oil and stock prices. In this country, there has been much anxiety and fear, as the presidential election draws near. We hope to alleviate some of this uncertainty by continuing the sound banking practices we have demonstrated over the past 75 years.
We thank our shareholders, our customers, and the community for their past support, and we look forward to another successful year in 2016.
Jan D. Ridgely
President & CEO