2022 Annual Report
It was a year of celebration. The First National Bank of Long Island commemorated its 95th year as an independent community bank on October 1, 2022. Throughout the year on the anniversary date of each branch opening we recognized the Bank’s history. We thanked our local markets for their loyalty by giving back under a “CommunityFirst” volunteerism program. Our employees provided over 1,000 hours of their time to aid local charities in fighting food insecurity, helping seniors, caring for animals and building housing. It was inspirational to see their enthusiasm. I want to thank the entire First National Bank LI team for meeting our mission of continually doing the right things to help our customers, employees and shareholders succeed while being socially accountable to the communities we serve.
It was a year of success. Record setting net income and earnings per share of $46.9 million and $2.04, respectively, led the way. Returns on average assets and average equity were strong at 1.11% and 12.13%, respectively. We increased our dividends per share by 5.1% and they now stand at $0.21 per quarter. Our dividend yield at year-end 2022 was 4.7%. Average total assets, loans and deposits all had gains with the key category of average noninterest-bearing checking deposits increasing 7.2%. Checking deposits averaged over 40% of total deposits during 2022 and ended the year at over 38%. We believe our culture of building relationship business by keeping customers first produces these types of results.
It was a year of progress. The Bank opened its doors in 1927 as The First National Bank of Glen Head. Our Main Office Branch has been in its Glen Head location for the Bank’s entire history and remains there today. Most of our operations were housed in several Glen Head locations throughout our 95 years. In 2022 we sold five buildings in Glen Head and consolidated our operations, corporate headquarters and Melville Branch at 275 Broad Hollow Road in Melville to support our growth more efficiently. We are forever grateful to the Glen Head community for being such a gracious host. It is truly a special community.
It was a year of expansion. Having previously hired talented bankers in our Port Jefferson and Bohemia markets, it was time to expand their branches from tired commercial banking offices to modern full-service branches.We moved into our new Port Jefferson Village location at 450 Main Street in November of 2022. Our new Bohemia location at 4110 Veterans Memorial Highway is nearing completion. As First National Bank LI, we were missing a presence on the East End of the island. We corrected that oversight by establishing an East Hampton Branch in late 2021 and a Southampton Branch in early 2022. Combined with our Riverhead Branch opened in 2020, we are making a name for ourselves on the East End. We have been fortunate to hire some of the best bankers in those markets to get us off to a quick start.
It was a year of recognition. We are proud of several noteworthy achievements in 2022. The KBW Bank Honor Roll recognizes banks with more than $500 million in total assets that have reported consecutive increases in annual earnings per share in each of the past ten years. Piper Sandler’s Sm-All Star recognizes companies with a market cap below $2.5 billion that out-perform the industry in growth, profitability, credit quality and capital strength. The First of Long Island Corporation made both lists in 2022. The Company also was included among the top 50 performers with total assets between $1 billion and $5 billion by Bank Director Magazine. Finally, The First of Long Island Corporation is listed in the top 200 exchange-traded U.S. banks and thrifts, coming in at number 177.
A challenging landscape. The Federal Reserve’s increases in interest rates have not been at this pace in over 40-years, putting downward pressure on the Bank’s net interest margin. Tightening monetary policy limits liquidity alternatives and reduces funding flexibility. A political and regulatory message of removing so called “junk fees” is limiting the Bank’s ability to charge for the fundamental services we provide. At the same time, blanketing regulatory oversight continues to pile on operational costs related to third-party management, information security, environmental social and governance (“ESG”) requirements and climate change, among other areas, not matter an institution’s size. That being said, we have a valuable franchise with dedicated constituents. Our credit quality remains strong as we maintain a culture of conservative underwriting and our leverage capital ratio of 9.8% provides ample support for the future.
A Look Forward. Our team is dedicated to the endurance of this 95-year-old institution, focusing on strategic evolution to match the demand for a more modern, commercially focused community bank. Our growing banking teams are bringing in relationships, our new branding is being complimented as fresh and inviting, our new website and social media presence continue to grow in terms of visits and impressions, our commitment to technology upgrades and cybersecurity investments are recognized by our employees and customers, and we are being acknowledged in the industry for our successes. We are moving forward while staying true to our history of strong fundamentals that deliver results.
Thanks to the customers of First National Bank LI for allowing us to serve you and our communities. I thank our Board of Directors for their support of the Company’s strategic initiatives. Their oversight and ongoing refreshment assure strong corporate governance and centers on stockholder returns. Thanks to our staff for all the outstanding accomplishments in 2022. They know when you Go First you Go Far. I am fortunate to be surrounded by tremendous talent and people that make “coming to the office” a pleasure.
To our shareholders, the Board of Directors and Management Team appreciate your investment in the Company and remain dedicated to doing the right things for you.
President and Chief Executive Officer