A record year. A robust outlook.
As we arrive at the midway point of Q1 2017, I am optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead – for our customers, our shareholders and our communities. This optimism stems largely from the record year the Bank just experienced. Earnings of $23.1 million in 2016 were an increase of 25 percent from 2015. Pay out of our 47th consecutive dividend, combined with a significant increase in stock price, led to a tremendous year for our shareholders.
Also in 2016, we added a number of marquee clients, which energized our staff to sharpen their focus on new client acquisitions. We continued to build that staff with strategic client-facing hires, including high-quality commercial bankers in Sonoma and Alameda Counties. These new lenders are already contributing to the bottom line and positioning us for future growth.
As always, we remain committed to organic growth in order to fuel the Bank’s success. These growth opportunities will likely include opening new branches and commercial banking offices in Santa Rosa and the East Bay in 2017.
Looking ahead, there are many uncertainties in the market, from interest rates and corporate taxes to general economic growth. Despite these conditions, we believe we are well-positioned for whatever might arise. Thanks to diligent credit management and smart principled banking, we have plenty of liquidity and capital to support our growth. This approach has served us well for 27 years and will continue to guide us in the months and years ahead.