Annual Impact Article

2019 Business Review Article – Published February 17, 2020

The Farmers National Bank of Emlenton has remained committed to the communities it serves since 1900. In addition to providing competitive products and specialized financial services to consumers and businesses, the Bank actively participates in civic organizations and supports multiple charitable causes.  The Farmers National Bank of Emlenton is the only independent community bank headquartered in Venango County, Pennsylvania.

Throughout the years, the Bank has expanded its footprint to include 20 full-service banking offices across nine western Pennsylvania counties and one northeastern West Virginia county.  Farmers has achieved remarkable success and growth by remaining true to the founding principles of providing superior service to its customers and supporting the communities that it serves.

Engaging Customers

In alignment with the Bank’s vision to enhance and expand their online and mobile banking services, Zelle and Alerts comprise the newest additions to the Farmers full-service digital banking suite. Customers may utilize Zelle as a fast, safe and convenient method of sending and requesting funds directly between virtually any bank account in the United States within minutes. Complementary to new product launch efforts is the Bank’s commitment to strengthening customer security measures. At the forefront of safety advancements, Alerts notifies the customer the moment something important happens in their account by instantly sending a message via text, email or to their Online Banking message center.

Providing homebuying education and offering affordable mortgage lending products is an ongoing strategic initiative for the Bank.  Numerous first-time homebuying seminars were hosted throughout the region and will continue to be available to the community via in-person and digital formats (visit www.farmersnb.com for more information). The Bank continues to provide non-traditional home lending options such as the First Front Door grant assistance program for first-time home buyers, USDA Guaranteed Loans, FHA/VA Loans, and the Home Sweet Home Mortgage for low to moderate income borrowers. Farmers also offers a selection of financially focused digital education initiatives to provide helpful information on the following topics: Safe Banking for Seniors, Get Smart About Credit and Teach Children to Save.

Empowering Employees

In 2019, the Bank affirmed its commitment to offering employees excellent benefits by providing career apparel to our front-line employees. Customer facing employees are provided a complete business dress wardrobe, enabling them to use their income for other needs. Offering career apparel to our employees is one way that Farmers can provide the professional environment that our customers enjoy.

The employee-focused culture has remained prevalent as the Bank continues to evaluate and increase additional training opportunities.  Most recently the Bank has developed a career advancement program, set to release early in 2020, that will enable our employees to visualize a career path of their choosing and provide a road map to the selected career destination. The Bank continues to offer employee discount and referral programs. Employee appreciation within the workplace has also been honored through years of service awards, health and wellness competitions and an employee and family Pirates game in late September.  

In the fall of 2019, William C. Marsh was appointed to serve on the American Bankers Association Community Bankers Council. Recognized as the focal point for providing world class solutions, leadership and advocacy for the nation’s community banks, council members actively participate at state and local levels discussing government relation issues, banking trends and competitive priorities.  Marsh was also elected to serve his third and final term as a Director for the Federal Home Loan Bank Pittsburgh.  The Bank also recognized Aubery Guzzo (Hulings) for her dedication and commitment in the financial industry. Guzzo is currently serving her second year on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Community Bank Advisory Council (CFPB). The CFPB is responsible for enforcing federal consumer financial laws and protecting consumers from unfair practices.

Delivering a Positive Impact

More than $200,000 was reinvested in our communities during 2019, with considerable gifts to the Clarion Hospital Foundation, The Brashear Association, Butler County Community College Educational Foundation, Keystone SMILES Inc., Venango County United Way and several local chambers of commerce and non-profit organizations.  The Bank also participated in the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program which provides funds to scholarship and educational improvement organizations.

As a community bank, directors and employees take great pride in continually offering volunteer time and contributions to local non-profit agencies, charitable organizations and trade associations.  Employees have continued to serve as board members and volunteers for over 100 organizations, have contributed over $50,000 through the Bank’s Community Jeans Day program, and regularly attend local events, fundraisers and gatherings in the towns where they work and live.

Milestones

Throughout 2019, the Bank was proud to recognize several major organizational milestones. Anniversary celebrations were held in Cranberry Township, Titusville, & the former Community First offices, respectively. In May, the Cranberry Township office celebrated 5 years of serving the consumer and commercial banking needs of the area. With efforts to enhance community banking involvement in the Pittsburgh market, Farmers continues to increase their footprint in one of the fastest emerging entrepreneurial hubs. In August, the Titusville office recognized 10 years in the community and the 100-year anniversary of their historical landmark building, known for commemorating a past era of wealth and innovation. In October, the Bank also celebrated the 1-year anniversary of  the acquisition of the Community First offices, located in Punxsutawney, Reynoldsville, and Sykesville. Customer appreciation days were held in honor of the occasion with accompanying themed giveaways.

Emclaire Financial Corp Highlights

The Farmers National Bank of Emlenton’s parent holding company, Emclaire Financial Corp (NASDAQ: EMCF), is a publicly traded Pennsylvania corporation. 

Through the first nine months of 2019, total assets increased $42.6 million, or 4.7%, to $941.4 million at September 30, 2019 from $898.9 million at December 31, 2018.  Deposit growth of $46.5 million, or 6.1%, funded a $38.3 million increase in cash and equivalents, a $20.2 million, or 20.7%, increase in securities and an $11.6 million, or 25.5%, reduction in borrowed funds.  As a result of this balance sheet growth and given a sharp focus on expense management, the Corporation reported earnings of $6.3 million or $2.32 per diluted common share for the nine months ended September 30, 2019.

The improvement in the Bank’s operating results for the year to date period ended September 30, 2019 compared to prior years was largely attributable to the acquisition of Community First Bancorp, Inc. which was completed on October 1, 2018.  The transaction added total consolidated assets, loans and deposits of approximately $121 million, $112 million and $107 million, respectively, and strengthened the Corporation’s presence in Clarion and Jefferson counties, Pennsylvania. 

Shareholders of Corporation’s common stock have enjoyed strong returns over the last three years, with the price increasing over 11% from $29.25 per share at December 31, 2016 to $32.53 per share at December 31, 2019.  Additionally, investors have received cash dividends totaling $3.36 per share during this period, resulting in a total return of nearly 23% over the last three years.  The current dividend yield remains attractive at 3.6% based on a recent closing price of $32.53 per share. 

Full year financial results will be released in the coming weeks and will be available online at www.emclairefinancial.com.