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First Defiance says 2017 net income up to $32.3M

DEFIANCE — First Defiance Financial Corp., the parent firm of First Federal Bank of the Midwest, on Monday reported a net income for 2017 of $32.3 million, or $3.22 a share, a 12 percent increase of the previous year when the financial company had an income of $28.8 million, or $3.19 per share.

First Defiance said net-interest income, a key statistic for a bank, was $96.7 million last year, up 22 percent from $78.9 million the year before.

Provisions for loan losses in 2017 were $2.9 million, up from $283,000 the prior year.

For the fourth quarter, First Defiance had a record net income of $9.4 million, or 92 cents a share, up 27 percent from the same period a year earlier when net income was $7.4 million or 82 cents per share.

Net-interest income in the fourth quarter was $25.4 million, up 23 percent from $20.5 million for the same period a year earlier. Fourth-quarter provisions for loan losses were $314,000, compared with a credit of $149,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016.

First Defiance said the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Dec. 22 forced the company to revalue its deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities to account for the future impact of a lower corporate tax rate.

The revaluation resulted an estimated earnings reduction of $154,000, or about 2 cents per share, for the fourth quarter. First Defiance said as more information becomes available, it may update the estimate.

“Our strong fourth-quarter performance capped a very successful 2017 for First Defiance and provided substantial momentum as we progress into 2018,” said Donald P. Hileman, First Defiance’s president and chief executive officer.

“With fourth-quarter earnings per share up 13.6 percent over last year, we’re pleased to announce our fifth consecutive year of record earnings performance,” Mr. Hileman said. “While the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act had only a minor impact on our fourth-quarter earnings, we expect the lower tax rates to benefit future operations with added opportunities for growth, profitability, and community investment.”

On the Nasdaq market Monday, First Defiance shares fell 77 cents to close at $53.79.

Contact Blade Business Writer Jon Chavez at jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.

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