For the third consecutive year Merchants Financial Group, Inc. (MFGI) has recorded record earnings, ending 2017 with $20,878,465 in net income.
The record earnings report includes $14,297,105 in earnings from Merchants core business activity in 2017, which surpasses 2016’s record earnings total by $140,000 on its own. Additionally, Merchants recorded an accounting adjustment of more than $6.5 million as a result of the reduction of a deferred tax liability, necessitated by the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 occurring before year-end, according to MFGI President & CEO Gregory M. Evans.
“We are especially pleased with the work of our team across all of our locations in pushing our core earnings to a record level,” Evans said. “While we appreciate the addition of the extra income that comes from the tax act, it can only be viewed as a one-time addition to our bottom line because of the deferred tax line item on our balance sheet.”
MFGI benefitted from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 primarily because of depreciable assets leased to commercial clients through the Company’s equipment finance division, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance (MBEF) in Minneapolis. The corporate tax rate reduction impacted the reduction of that future tax payment liability, creating the additional income accounting adjustment. Because of the significant year-over-year increase in reported net income, the MFGI Board of Directors authorized a special $1 per share dividend to be paid to shareholders. That dividend payment will be made March 30 to shareholders of record as of February 9.
Evans said MFGI’s focus is on the core earnings of the company, and he credited deposit growth, strong mortgage activity and commercial loan growth for contributing to the record year.
“I am exceptionally proud of our team and the work we did together, especially over the last quarter of the year to reach this level of accomplishment,” Evans said, noting that MFGI’s net income through the first three quarters of 2017 was at $8,841,114.
MFGI’s net income was $14,154,891 for 2016 and $13,454,698 for 2015. MFGI’s stock continues to perform well, trading today at $71.00 per share.
MFGI owns 21 Merchants Bank locations, including Minnesota locations in Winona, St. Charles, Goodview, Rochester, Rushford, Lanesboro, Caledonia, La Crescent, Spring Grove, Cannon Falls, Red Wing, Hampton, and the southern Twin Cities metropolitan suburbs of Apple Valley, Cottage Grove, Hastings, Lakeville and Rosemount. Merchants has Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Onalaska. All banks are FDIC members and equal housing lenders. Additionally, MFGI also owns Twin Cities-based Merchants Bank Equipment Finance, a division of Merchants Bank, N.A.
The ownership of Merchants Financial Group is made up of its more than 440 employees and its shareholders, mostly individuals and families from southeastern Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.