The Board of Directors of Farmers & Merchants Bancorp, a bank holding company headquartered in Lodi, California, declared a year-end cash dividend of $7.50 per share of common stock, an increase of 4.90 percent over the cash dividend declared in November of 2019. The cash dividend will be paid on Jan. 2, 2021, to shareholders of record on Dec. 9, 2020. Cash dividend payments declared over the past year total $14.75 per share.
Kent A. Steinwert, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer stated, “We are pleased that Farmers & Merchants Bancorp’s record third quarter and year-to-date 2020 financial performance allowed for increasing the cash dividend while still providing a level of capital retention that supports the Company’s growth plans. Although the low market interest rates and economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 health crisis are negatively impacting the performance of many financial institutions, we remain cautiously optimistic about the outlook for Farmers & Merchants Bancorp’s financial results in the remainder of 2020. This year marks the 86th consecutive year that Farmers & Merchants Bancorp has paid cash dividends and the 56th consecutive year dividends have been increased. As a result of the reliability of our cash dividends over many decades, we remain a member of a select group of only 30 publicly traded companies referred to as Dividend Kings.”
Farmers & Merchants Bancorp earned record net income of $14.8 million in the third quarter of 2020 and $43.2 million for the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2020, representing increases of 7.8 percent and 4.5 percent over the same periods the prior year. Earnings per share of common stock outstanding for the third quarter were $18.66, up from $17.45 in the third quarter of 2019, and for the nine-month period were $54.49, up from $52.64 the prior year. Additionally, the Company’s net income over the trailing 12 months was $57.9 million ($73.03 per share as reported), as compared to $54.4 million for the same period in the prior year. Return on average assets for the third quarter was 1.40 percent, and for the nine months was 1.44 percent, and return on average equity was 14.40 percent for the third quarter and 14.54 percent for the nine months. Total assets at quarter-end were $4.3 billion, up 20.5 percent from the third quarter of 2019. As of Sept. 30, 2020 the Company’s credit quality remained strong, with only $498,000 of non-performing loans and leases and a very low delinquency ratio of .04 percent.
Farmers & Merchants Bancorp is the parent company of Farmers & Merchants Bank of Central California, also known as F&M Bank. Founded in 1916, F&M Bank is a locally owned and operated community bank, which proudly serves California through 32 locations. It is the 13th largest bank lender to agriculture in the United States, and the largest community bank lender to agriculture west of the Rocky Mountains. For more information about Farmers & Merchants Bancorp and F&M Bank, visit fmbonline.com.