Seacoast in Fla. reports higher profit despite hits from hurricanes

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Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida in Stuart reported higher quarterly profit after it weathered the hurricane season.

The $5.8 billion-asset company said its fourth-quarter earnings rose 21% from a year earlier to $13 million.

Seacoast said its loan-loss provision more than doubled, to $2.3 million. It also recorded a $600,000 chargeoff tied to a customer with a Caribbean export business that was severely impacted by last year's hurricanes.

Loan pipelines and production across all business lines were disrupted by the storms.

Seacoast recorded a $8.6 million tax expense after writing down the value of its deferred tax asset and $6.8 million in merger-related charges. It posted a $15.2 million gain from selling shares of Visa stock.

“Seacoast’s 2017 performance demonstrated our ability to consistently grow our banking franchise through both organic initiatives and prudent acquisitions,” Dennis Hudson III, Seacoast’s chairman and CEO, said in a press release Thursday. “As we navigated the near-term impact of Hurricane Irma, we continued to drive earnings expansion while retaining the quality of our loan portfolio and investing to support our long-term growth objectives.”

Net interest income increased by 29%, to $48.2 million. Net loans rose by almost 33%, to $3.8 billion, while the net interest margin expanded by 15 basis points, to 3.71%.

Noninterest income almost tripled, to $26.6 million, mainly due to the sale of the Visa stock. Interchange income rose by 21%, to $2.8 million.

Noninterest expense increased by 29%, to $39.2 million. Salaries and wages jumped by almost 31%, to $16.3 million.

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