On behalf of BOU Bancorp, Inc., the holding company of Bank of Utah and Utah Risk Management, Inc., we are pleased to report another consecutive year of record earnings. The Bank continues to perform at a high level in comparison to our peers and the industry. Net income for 2019 was $31.2 million as compared to $23.4 million in 2018. This represents a 33.1 percent increase, an ROAA of 2.23 percent and a dollar growth of $7.8 million year over year.
The Bank continues, in many ways, to lead in the communities we serve. The deposits entrusted to the Bank have been used judiciously. We funded approximately $1 billion in advances on loans in 2019. These funds enabled business customers to purchase equipment, merchandise, raw materials, buy and construct buildings for apartments, retirement homes, office buildings and warehouses. Our consumer banking customers also used these funds to buy or refinance homes or to purchase consumer goods such as cars, RVs and boats.
Our employees are actively involved in their local communities, with nearly one hundred Bank representatives serving on local boards that directly assist low-to-moderate income families or help improve business and quality of life within our communities.
The Bank has continued to increase dividends to our stockholders. In 2019, the Bank paid $0.35 per share compared to $0.30 per share in 2018, an increase of 16.7 percent. In addition, stockholders’ equity grew by $27.3 million, surpassing the $200 million mark. The Bank’s asset growth took a pause from its double-digit growth from the last four years with an asset size similar to 2018; however, average assets grew 7 percent. This enabled the Bank to properly assimilate the purchase of American Bank of Commerce, which was finalized at the end of 2018. The Bank has a number of initiatives started in 2019 that will come to fruition in 2020 that are aimed at enhancing technology to allow customers to access to their accounts whenever and wherever they choose.
The Utah economy continues to be one of the most robust in the nation. Utah’s nonagricultural employment increased an estimated 3.1 percent or 47,900 jobs, between December 2018 and December 2019. Nationally, employment increased by 1.4 percent during the same time period, according to The Kem Gardner Institute at the University of Utah. This increase in jobs continues to spur a need for employees and an increase in wages. Utah’s personal income reached $156.1 billion, a 6 percent increase from the previous year, placing Utah third in the nation in this category. The state’s population also grew by over 52,000, with most of this population living along the Wasatch Front.
Utah’s quality of life and employment opportunities have been discovered by the world. People are attracted to our state because of what it has to offer: jobs, recreation, quality family life and other amenities. As a respected financial institution, we share a common outlook to preserve these assets that define our state. Bank of Utah is rooted in our communities. Our experts are here, helping Utahns. We will continue to look forward and use our resources to wisely build this area, community by community, person by person, so that in 20, 30 or 50 years, we can be proud of our efforts.
In closing, the strength, stability and resiliency of Bank of Utah were proven through the Great Recession and, as of this writing, we are now facing a new test in the coronavirus pandemic. This new challenge will certainly impact the Bank and our world in the coming year. However, as we have in the past, we face this test with the capital, liquidity, diversity of business lines, staff and risk management culture that will enable us to endure. These strengths also allow the Bank to continue to support our customers and our communities. Taking care of our customers, guiding our company and helping the communities in which we operate are what matters most.
Douglas L. DeFries
President & CEO, Bank of Utah
Frank W. Browning
Chairman, BOU Bancorp, Inc.