If you’re not a shareholder or picked up a copy of Heartland BancCorp’s (the holding company for Heartland Bank) 2012 Annual Report, chances are you may be unaware just how “big” of a year the bank had last year. For this week’s Home Page Story, we are taking the opportunity to re-print G. Scott McComb's (Heartland’s Chairman, President and CEO) Letter to Shareholders, Customers and Friends. Enjoy...
The year 2012 will be remembered in the archives of Heartland Bank due to the wide ranging magnitude of continued success and personal loss. The bank performed well, despite an underperforming economy overall. Growth in loans and deposits were a challenge and credit quality overall continues to reflect the slow economic recovery. Upgrading our systems and facilities was again a focus for the management team to foster the best delivery of our products and services. The bank was recognized for its ongoing commitment to provide consumers and businesses with the right advice and counsel which has become a hallmark of our brand. With the loss of our founder, Tiney M. McComb, the bank and the Central Ohio Community lost one its greatest entrepreneurs and the Heartland Family lost a good friend.
Earnings for the year were strong, despite the subdued Ohio economy. Protecting the net interest margin in preparation for future rises in interest rates and a focus on credit quality resulted in slower loan growth than in past years. While opportunities were available for significant loan growth, our pricing strategies were focused on preserving the bank’s net interest margin and protecting our asset liability position. Controlled growth with quality opportunities remained the focal point of the loan portfolio with the consumer mortgage portfolio growing 13%.
A significant investment was made in our Licking County market with the construction of a new branch office at the corner of Locust and 4th Streets in Downtown Newark to replace the branch that had been “on the Courthouse Square” for over 18 years. The new location is highly visible in the gateway to Downtown Newark and features two drive-thru lanes, a drive-thru ATM, and the Georgian architecture that clients have come to know and recognize. Special thanks to Board member Jerry McClain, who, without his leadership, the project would not have been possible. We honored Jerry and the McClain Family for their continued dedication to the Downtown Newark community with the installation and dedication of a clock tower from the renowned Verdin Clock Company of Cincinnati.
Our Internet banking, mobile apps, ATM network and transaction security were also projects that were completed in 2012. Investing in these systems is paramount to building a strong base to acquire a new generation of banking clients. This will allow Heartland to bridge the distance between our strategically located offices with more self-service opportunities. Cyber security is a focus in the banking industry and we remain committed to staying ahead of the issues that plague online transactions and commerce through risk mitigation strategies.
Heartland was awarded the Ethical Enterprising Award for Character Ethics in Business from the Central Ohio Better Business Bureau. This prestigious award has only been given to one other financial institution in its history. For an institution to be given this award during these trying times speaks volumes about how Heartland stands behind its clients and continues to operate with integrity, while the industry at large has not. You should be proud of the quality and excellence that is demonstrated each day from our caring and well trained employees who continue to practice sound banking principles.In April 2012, we lost our Founder and Chairman Tiney M. McComb to cancer. With the help of good friends and clients, Tiney organized Heartland BancCorp and purchased the Croton Bank Company in 1988. He built this institution on quality service, competitive products, community banking principles, and a work ethic to go the extra mile for clients and to become their partner as well as their bank. While Tiney is no longer with us, his Heartland Spirit lives on in our business practices, employees shared values, and community involvement. He built Central Ohio’s premiere community bank, one that is known throughout Ohio for its excellence and dedication to its clients, shareholders, and associates alike. Thanks to our associates, clients and shareholders for helping us with another great year.
G. Scott McComb
Chairman, President & CEO