There will be an annual shareholders' meeting on Monday, May 19, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Loudermilk Conference Center, 40 Courtland Street, NE Atlanta, Georgia.
Message to Our Stockholders
We are extremely proud of the significant strides made by our Company this year. For our team, this was a year of continued diligence and execution of clearly defined strategic objectives. We delivered on several fronts:
We saw improved bottom line performance and made considerable progress in improving the overall risk profile of our balance sheet. We saw earnings substantially increase over the prior year confirming that our efforts are properly focused on continuing to move the Company forward. We made strategic enhancements in our core operations to make the Company more efficient and better positioned to add value to our customers and shareholders. These successes were not achieved without the continued challenges presented by a prolonged low interest rate environment and its continued impact on compressing the Company’s, as well as the industry’s, net interest income.
Current year net income increased 75% to $1.3 million over prior year and is the most earnings for the Company since the beginning of the economic crisis. The drivers for this success are:
• The overall risk profile of the Company is substantially improved. Non-performing loans and net-charge offs are down 34% and 73%,respectively. Our priority focus helped drive a significant reduction year over year in the provision for credit losses.
• We continue to make noticeable improvement in expense reduction and management. Noninterest expense was down 13% or $2.4 million from prior year. The most significant portion of the reduction resulted from the efforts of our asset quality resolution strategy but also reflects continued improvement in the Company’s effectiveness in the delivery of its services. Cleansing our balance sheet of non-performing loans along with muted demand in a competitive market for traditional commercial real estate loans resulted in a reduction in the Company’s loans outstanding. However, we made substantial progress in overall credit quality and saw improving momentum in loan demand as the year progressed. Lastly, Citizens Bancshares Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary Citizens Trust Bank continue to be well capitalized and poised to move forward with a solid Tier I leverage ratio of 11%.
We are strategically focused on expanding our market footprint and enhancing the lives of our customers through the convenience and delivery of service. We leveraged technology to deepen existing relationships and expand our market reach. During the year, we rolled out remote deposit capture (RDC) which allows our business customers the convenience of making deposits for their businesses anytime. Providing this solution also allows us to offer a total banking relationship for customers that are outside of our traditional footprint. This year we established several new lending relationships outside of our traditional branch network that can also conveniently utilize our depository and other financial solutions to meet their business needs.
We continue to a place primary emphasis on the utilization of electronic delivery. This is a critical delivery channel for customer convenience and demand and operational efficiencies for the Company. During 2013, we realized a 13% increase in online banking customers, an 85% increase in electronic statement delivery resulting in a 9% decline in related operational expenses. This emphasis has been a success for our customers and a success for the Company.
In 2014 our strategic priorities are the same as for the last several years. We continue to focus on four key areas as we look toward the future.
• We will focus on optimizing the mix and earning potential of our balance sheet with an emphasis on growth in our consumer and business loan portfolios. We will pursue growth via expansion of our market footprint, deepening existing relationships and providing solutions to a growing under banked population. We will only place our investments in technology and human capital that will support our revenue growth initiatives and will enhance a longer-term profitability trajectory.
• The effective and efficient operation of our Company will always remain a priority. Our efforts will be focused on ways to leverage technology to continue to provide more operational efficiencies yet more convenient options to our customers.
• We will maintain our focus on further reducing the risk on our balance sheet and generating growth with quality assets.
• We will maintain our emphasis on always providing our customers with solutions and quality service experiences to support their lifestyles and secure their futures.
Securing Promises for the Future
Providing a legacy of promoting sound financial stewardship to our customers and our community has been our guiding principle for over 90 years. Our commitment to our customer is that we will be an active partner in their journey to financial well-being.
We will act responsibly with the trust they have placed in us and will provide solutions for today with tomorrow in mind. Our customers are a young couple dreaming of a first home, a budding entrepreneur looking to grow a business, an investor planning for retirement, our shareholder seeking a sensible return on their investment. You can count on us to be there for you today, tomorrow and years to come with service, advice and solutions that will help secure the promise of your future.
We recognize that our strong connection and partnership with our customers is the primary driver to a successful Company and our opportunity to return value to our shareholders. We thank you, our customers, for trusting us to partner with you on the most important aspect of life...your family’s financial well-being. We thank our associates for their commitment to the success of our Company and dedication to making our communities a better place to work, live and play.
We thank our board of directors for their invaluable knowledge and insight and we thank you, our shareholders, for your investment and support.
Cynthia N. Day
President and CEO
Ray M. Robinson
Chairman of the Board