Net income, diluted earnings rise for NBT Bancorp

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Net income and diluted earnings per share both rose in 2017 for NBT Bancorp Inc.

The Norwich-based company, which has several area locations, reported net income of $82.2 million for the year ended Dec. 31, up from $78.4 million in the prior year.

Diluted earnings per share totaled $1.87, up from $1.80 for 2016.

Among highlights cited by NBT:

• Net income, up 4.8 percent, was up by 10.4 percent excluding the impact of tax reform; the impact included a $4.4 million one-time charge recorded in the provision for income taxes related to the enactment of tax reform.

• Year-to-date loan growth was 6.2 percent.

• Average demand deposits were up 8.4 percent for the year.

Also, NBT said it will see a reduction in tax expenses beginning this year due to tax reform decreasing the federal rate for corporations from 35 percent to 21 percent. As a result, the company is raising the starting hourly pay rate of $11 to $15 per hour, and employees earning $50,000 or less will receive a permanent minimum increase of 5 percent.

That will have a positive impact for more than 61 percent of NBT’s workforce, the company said. In addition, this year the company will increase both its investment in infrastructure to enhance customer-facing technology and contributions to nonprofit organizations in its footprint.

“We delivered strong results in 2017, including record net income for the fifth straight year and a new annual EPS (earnings per share) record,” said NBT President and CEO John H. Watt, Jr. “Our talented team of professionals has driven our success and their efforts have been supported by an improving domestic economy and higher consumer confidence.”

Watt added that “tax reform has created an important opportunity for NBT to invest in our employees, the customer experience and our communities....Allocating resources to permanent wage increases, customer-facing technology and contributions to the organizations that serve our communities is in alignment with the intent of the tax reform act and, most important, it allows us to invest in enhancing our business, ultimately increasing the return to our shareholders.”

Among NBT’s area locations are two each in Rome and Oneida, plus sites in Clinton, New Hartford and Utica, a branch representative said.

Small business loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Syracuse District Office recently recognized NBT Bank as a top lender of SBA loans for 2017 in the large bank category.

NBT was recognized for being the most active third-party lender of 504 loan projects participating in 12 projects totaling more than $6.2 million in loans to small businesses. NBT was also commended for its activity in the 7(a) loan program, completing 27 projects totaling more than $5 million.

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