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Simmons First Announces Record Net Income of $37.1 Million for 2010

PINE BLUFF, Ark., Jan. 27, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Simmons First National Corporation (Nasdaq:SFNC) today announced net income of $37.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $11.9 million, or 47% compared to the same period in 2009. Diluted earnings per share for the year ended 2010 were $2.15, compared to $1.74 for 2009.
/ Source: GlobeNewswire

PINE BLUFF, Ark., Jan. 27, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Simmons First National Corporation (Nasdaq:SFNC) today announced net income of $37.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, an increase of $11.9 million, or 47% compared to the same period in 2009. Diluted earnings per share for the year ended 2010 were $2.15, compared to $1.74 for 2009.

Net income for the fourth quarter 2010 was $16.6 million, or $0.96 diluted earnings per share, compared to net income of $6.8 million, or $0.44 diluted earnings per share for the same period in 2009. This represents an increase of $9.8 million in net income and $0.52 diluted earnings per share.

On October 15, 2010, the Company announced that its wholly-owned bank subsidiary, Simmons First National Bank, entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with loss share arrangements with the FDIC to purchase substantially all of the assets and to assume substantially all of the deposits and certain other liabilities of Security Savings Bank ("SSB") in Olathe, Kansas. In the fourth quarter 2010, the Company recognized a pre-tax bargain purchase gain of $18.3 million on this transaction and incurred pre-tax merger related costs of $2.0 million. As part of the Company's acquisition strategy, the investment portfolio was liquidated resulting in a pre-tax gain of $317,000. Additionally, in order to utilize some of the Company's excess liquidity, $58.4 million in FHLB advances were paid off, which resulted in a one-time pre-payment expense of $594,000. After taxes, the combined fourth quarter 2010 non-recurring items contributed $9.7 million to net income, or $0.56 to diluted earnings per share.

On May 14, 2010, the Company announced that its wholly-owned bank subsidiary, Simmons First National Bank, entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with loss share arrangements with the FDIC to purchase substantially all of the assets and to assume substantially all of the deposits and certain other liabilities of Southwest Community Bank ("SWCB") in Springfield, Missouri. In the second quarter 2010, the Company recognized a pre-tax bargain purchase gain of $3.0 million on this transaction and incurred pre-tax merger related costs of $0.4 million. After taxes, these non-recurring items contributed $1.6 million to net income, or $0.09 to diluted earnings per share, for the second quarter and the year ended 2010.

Excluding all non-recurring items, fourth quarter core earnings were $6.8 million, or $0.40 diluted core earnings per share and excluding all non-recurring items for the year ended December 31, 2010, core earnings were $26.0 million, or $1.51 diluted core earnings per share.

"We are excited about our expansion beyond the borders of Arkansas into Missouri and Kansas. We are pleased with our 2010 results, which resulted in a significant bargain purchase gain on two acquisitions, record net interest income, good expense control through our efficiency initiatives and continued good asset quality compared to the rest of the industry," commented J. Thomas May, Chairman and CEO. "As expected, while the impact of our November 2009 stock offering was dilutive to 2010 by approximately $0.25; however, the excess capital positions us to continue to take advantage of unprecedented acquisition opportunities through FDIC assisted transactions of failed banks. We have seen the dilutive impact of the offering over the past five quarters; in contrast, going forward we will see the accretive impact from our two acquisitions beginning in the first quarter of 2011."

Total assets were $3.3 billion at December 31, 2010, an increase of 7.2% from $3.1 billion at December 31, 2009.

Loans

Total loans, excluding those covered by FDIC loss share agreements, were $1.7 billion at December 31, 2010, a decrease of 10.2% from the same period in 2009. "As expected, we saw a $53 million decrease in our Student Loan Portfolio as a result of the irrational decision by the administration and congress to eliminate the private sector from providing student loans. Additionally, like the rest of the industry, we continue to experience weak loan demand as a result of the recession. We believe loan demand is likely to remain soft throughout 2011, but we are committed and positioned to meet the borrowing needs of our consumer and business customers," commented May. Loans covered by FDIC loss share agreements, which provide 80% guaranteed protection against credit risk on those covered assets, were $232 million at December 31, 2010.

Deposits

At December 31, 2010, total deposits were $2.6 billion, an increase of $177 million, or 7.3% compared to the same period in 2009. The December 31, 2010, deposits include $231 million of previously acquired deposits in Missouri and Kansas. "In both acquisitions, we made a strategic decision to redeem brokered deposits and reduce non-core deposits by lowering interest rates to manage cost of funds and utilize excess liquidity. As expected, since the acquisition date, deposits have decreased $79 million in Springfield and $125 million in Kansas. We are very pleased with our non-time deposits as a percent of total deposits, which is a very favorable 63%," commented May.

Net Interest Income

The Company's net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2010 increased 4.2% to a record $26.3 million compared to the same period of 2009. Net interest margin decreased 17 basis points to 3.60% from the fourth quarter of 2009. The decrease was the result of the impact from the pre-payment of FHLB advances related to the SSB transaction, the decrease in the loan portfolio and a higher level of liquidity than planned. The yield on earning assets was 4.52%, a decrease of 45 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2009 and the rate on the cost of funds was 1.12%, a decrease of 30 basis points.

Non-Interest Income

Non-interest income for the fourth quarter increased $20.7 million, or 160.3%, to $33.7 million compared to $12.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2009. Excluding the bargain purchase gains and securities gains, non-interest income increased $2.1 million, or 16.58% from the fourth quarter of 2009. This increase is primarily the result of volume increases in both mortgage refinancing and credit card operations.

Non-Interest Expense

Non-interest expense for the fourth quarter of 2010 was $30.5 million, an increase of 18.15% from $25.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2009. Included in fourth quarter 2010 non-interest expense is $2.0 million in merger related costs associated with the previously mentioned FDIC assisted acquisitions and incremental operating expenses related to the acquisitions in Missouri and Kansas. Excluding the non-recurring items and additional expenses related to the acquisitions, non-interest expense increased $133,000, or 0.5%. "Obviously, we are beginning to see the positive impact from our efficiency initiatives," according to May.

Asset Quality

During 2010, the Company acquired substantially all of the loans and foreclosed real estate ("OREO") of SWCB and SSB. Through the loss share provisions of the purchase and assumption agreements, the FDIC agreed to reimburse the Company for 80% of the losses incurred on the disposition of such loans and OREO. The loans and OREO covered by the FDIC loss share agreements and the related FDIC loss share receivable were presented in the Company's financial reports as "covered" assets (i.e., covered by the FDIC loss share agreements) with a carrying value equal to the discounted net present value of expected future proceeds. At December 31, 2010, loans covered by loss share were carried at $232 million (net of discount), OREO covered by loss share was carried at $9 million (net of discount) and the FDIC loss share receivable was carried at $60 million. As a result of the FDIC loss share indemnification related to these assets and the discounted net present value method of valuing these assets, such assets are excluded from the computations of the following asset quality ratios, except for their inclusion in total assets.

Nonperforming assets as a percent of total assets were 1.12% as of December 31, 2010, a decrease from 1.23% as of September 30, 2010. Nonperforming loans as a percent of total loans were 0.83% as of December 31, 2010, an increase of 8 basis points from 0.75% as of September 30, 2010. These ratios include approximately $1.7 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 1.07% and non-performing loans as a percent of total loans were 0.72%.

Excluding credit cards, the Company's annualized net charge-off ratio was 0.52% for the fourth quarter of 2010. The credit card annualized net charge-off ratio decreased to 2.14%, compared to 2.24% for the third quarter of 2010. The Company's credit card loss ratio is more than 600 basis points below the most recently published credit card charge-off industry average of over 8.5%.

For the fourth quarter of 2010, the Company's provision for loan losses was $3.7 million, compared to $3.4 million for the third quarter of 2010 and $2.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2009. The Company's allowance for loan losses was $26.4 million at December 31, 2010, or 1.57% of total loans and 190% of non-performing loans.

Capital

At December 31, 2010, stockholders' equity was $397 million, book value per share was $23.01, and tangible book value per share was $19.36. The Company's ratio of stockholders' equity to total assets was 12.0% and its ratio of tangible stockholders' equity to tangible assets was 10.28%, as of December 31, 2010.

"Our exceptional level of capital puts us in the 97th percentile of our peer group and allows us to actively pursue the right opportunities that meet our strategic plan regarding mergers and acquisitions," continued May. As of December 31, 2010, the Company's regulatory capital ratios remain significantly higher than regulatory "well capitalized" guidelines:

Simmons First National Corporation

Simmons First National Corporation is an eight bank financial holding company with community banks in Pine Bluff, Lake Village, Jonesboro, Rogers, Searcy, Russellville, El Dorado and Hot Springs, Arkansas. Including the recently acquired Kansas locations, the Company's eight banks conduct financial operations from 89 offices, of which 85 are financial centers, in 47 communities in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. The Company's common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "SFNC".

The Simmons First National Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4819

Conference Call

Management will conduct a conference call to review this information beginning at 3:00 p.m. Central Time on Thursday, January 27, 2011. Interested persons can listen to this call by dialing 1-800-854-4175 (United States and Canada only) and asking for the Simmons First National Corporation conference call. A replay of the call will be available through 5:00 p.m. Central Time on February 4, 2011, by dialing 1-800-642-1687. The passcode for the replay is 33464347. In addition, the call will be available live or in recorded version on the Company's website at .

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release contains financial information determined by methods other than in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The Company's management uses these non-GAAP financial measures in their analysis of the Company's performance. These measures typically adjust GAAP performance measures to exclude the effects of the amortization of intangibles and include the tax benefit associated with revenue items that are tax-exempt, as well as adjust income available to common shareholders for certain significant activities or nonrecurring transactions. Since the presentation of these GAAP performance measures and their impact differ between companies, management believes presentations of these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful supplemental information that is essential to a proper understanding of the operating results of the Company's core businesses. These non-GAAP disclosures should not be viewed as a substitute for operating results determined in accordance with GAAP, nor are they necessarily comparable to non-GAAP performance measures that may be presented by other companies. 

Forward Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not historical facts should be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements of this type speak only as of the date of this news release. By nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risk and uncertainties. Various factors, including, but not limited to, economic conditions, credit quality, interest rates, loan demand and changes in the assumptions used in making the forward-looking statements, could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Additional information on factors that might affect Simmons First National Corporation's financial results is included in its Form 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONTACT: David W. Garner Senior Vice President and Investor Relations Officer Simmons First National Corporation (870) 541-1000