Earnings wrap: Franklin Synergy, Cat Financial

Williamson bank pushes loan growth to 43%; equipment lender numbers slip a little

The parent company of Franklin Synergy Bank earned more than $1.5 million in the first three months of 2014, up 58 percent from the first quarter of last year, as loan growth accelerated to almost 43 percent.

Franklin Financial Network executives said the company ended the first quarter with $447 million in loans, up from $307 million for the same time last year, driving a net interest income gain of more than $2.3 million. Assets grew to $866 million from $609 million a year ago while deposits climbed to $739 million from $536 million.

"Franklin Synergy is off to a great start in 2014," President Richard Herrington said. "We continue to find growth opportunities in our market and expand our banking team through the addition of the best banking and investment professionals in the market."

Herrington and his team are working to finalize their planned acquisition of MidSouth Bank in Murfreesboro, which pushed the company's professional fees spending for the quarter to $354,000 from $87,000 in early 2013.

Caterpillar Financial Services posted a first-quarter profit of $136 million, a drop of 4 percent from early 2013. Revenues rose 5 percent to $713 million but new retail financings also slipped 4 percent to $2.8 billion. Executives said the drop was primarily due to its mining and Asia/Pacific segments, although strength in North America offset some of those drops.

"Our business continues to perform well, reflecting steady earning asset growth and good portfolio health during the quarter," said Kent Adams, president of Cat Financial and vice president with responsibility for the Financial Products Division of Caterpillar Inc. "The global Cat Financial team delivered solid results and we continue to be well positioned to serve Caterpillar, Cat dealers and customers worldwide."

West End-based Cat Financial ended the first quarter with past dues of 2.44 percent of its portfolio, up from 2.37 percent a year earlier. Write-offs, net of recoveries, were $38 million for the first quarter of 2014, up from $10 million in early 2013, primarily because of the company's Latin American marine portfolio.