FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:    January 21, 2010
 
 
SIMMONS FIRST ANNOUNCES FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS

Pine Bluff, AR – Simmons First National Corporation (NASDAQ-GS: SFNC) today announced fourth quarter earnings of $6.8 million, a 21.0% increase over the same period in 2008.  Diluted earnings per share for the quarter ended December 31, 2009 were $0.44, compared to $0.40 for the same period in 2008.  The earnings increase was primarily driven by improvement in net interest margin and non-interest income.

“Our fourth quarter earnings slightly exceeded our expectations and the consensus estimates of our research analysts.  While loan demand continues to be somewhat subdued, we are well positioned to meet both the consumer and business demand as the economy continues to recover.  Our continued focus on customer service was rewarded with a 10.4 % growth in core deposits during 2009.  We ended the year on a very positive note with --- relatively good asset quality, strong liquidity and exceptional capital,” commented J. Thomas May, Chairman and CEO, regarding the Company’s fourth quarter results.

For the year ended December 31, 2009, net income was $25.2 million, or $1.74 diluted earnings per share, compared to $26.9 million, or $1.91 per share for the same period in 2008, a $0.17 decrease.  “During the first quarter of 2008 we recorded earnings of $0.18 per share for nonrecurring items related to Visa, Inc.’s IPO.  Excluding the nonrecurring items, our core earnings per share for the year ended December 31, 2009, increased by $0.01,” explained May.

The Company’s net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2009 increased 6.1% to $25.2 million compared to $23.8 million for the same period of 2008.  Net interest margin increased 7 basis points to 3.77% from the fourth quarter of 2008.

Non-performing assets as a percent of total assets were 1.12% as of December 31, 2009.  Non-performing loans as a percent of total loans were 1.33%.  These ratios include approximately $1.9 million of Government guaranteed student loans that were over 90 days past due at the end of the quarter.  Excluding the guaranteed past due student loans, non-performing assets as a percent of total assets were 1.05% and non-performing loans as a percent of total loans were 1.25%.  Total loans greater than 30 days past due were 0.81% of total loans compared to 0.82% in the third quarter of 2009.

“While we have experienced an increase in non-performing assets, we continue to have relatively good asset quality.  In fact, our nonperforming asset ratio puts us in the 87th percentile within our peer group,” added May.

The allowance for loan losses was $25.0 million at December 31, 2009, or 1.33% of total loans and 99% of non-performing loans.  The Company’s annualized net charge-off ratio for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 0.75%.  Excluding credit cards, the annualized net charge-off ratio for the fourth quarter was 0.57%.  Annualized net credit card charge-offs for the fourth quarter were 2.41%, a decrease of 17 basis points

 
 

The following information was filed by Simmons First National Corp (SFNC) on Thursday, January 21, 2010 as an 8K 2.02 statement, which is an earnings press release pertaining to results of operations and financial condition. It may be helpful to assess the quality of management by comparing the information in the press release to the information in the accompanying 10-K Annual Report statement of earnings and operation as management may choose to highlight particular information in the press release.

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