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Horizon Bank posts record profit in 2018, the highest in its 145-year history

Horizon Bank posted a record profit of $53.1 million in 2018.

Horizon Bank posted the highest profit and the highest earnings per share in its 145-year history last year.

Its tangible book value per share ended 2018 at $9.43, also the most in its history.

The Michigan City-based bank pulled in $53.1 million in profits, or $1.38 per share last year. That's a 60.4 percent increase in net earnings over 2017, when the bank made $33.1 million, or $0.95 per share. 

In the fourth quarter, Horizon Bank pulled in $13.1 million in profit, or $0.34 per share. That's up 72 percent as compared to the $7.6 million in net earnings, or $0.27 per share, it made in the fourth quarter of 2017.

"Our ability to generate organic growth through investments in growth markets, along with increased mass and scale, produced record earnings for 2018," Horizon Bank Chairman and CEO Craig Dwight said.

Horizon Bank earned 1.31 percent return on average assets for the year, up from 0.97 percent at the end of 2017. Core return on assets grew by 1.21 last year, up from 1.04 percent the previous year.

The bank's assets surpassed $4.2 billion at the end of the year, largely because of a 6.3 percent increase in loans, Dwight said. The $176.1 million jump in loans last year included an $88.5 million increase in consumer loans, a $58.4 percent increase in mortgage loans, and a $51.7 million increase in commercial loans.

Horizon Bank originated a total of $447.1 million in commercial loans over the course of the year.

"The markets of Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis and Kalamazoo experienced an increase in loan balances of $116.4 million, or 20.8 percent, during 2018 due to our talented local teams’ commitment to these growth markets,” Dwight said. “The acquisitions of Lafayette Community Bancorp and Wolverine Bancorp, Inc. in 2017, along with other operational leverage strategies have resulted in an improved efficiency ratio during 2018."

As it expanded in those markets, Horizon Bank's deposits grew by 9 percent or $258.4 million last year. 

Horizon Bank also is acquiring Salin Bank, which has 20 branches statewide. The merger will help expand Horizon's footprint across Indiana.

“We are excited about the pending merger with Salin, as it provides entry into the attractive growth markets of Fort Wayne and Columbus, Indiana while also complementing our current Indiana locations," Dwight said. "Salin Bank’s presence in the dynamic markets of Indianapolis and Lafayette, Indiana will add to Horizon’s current footprint. In addition, Salin has a talented team who will add depth and experience to our current sales network. Horizon’s strategic plan calls for continued expansion in the states of Indiana and Michigan with an emphasis on strong core deposit growth, investment in growth markets and to add mass and scale to gain additional efficiencies."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.