CHARLESTON — United Bankshares reported earnings for the first quarter of 2022 of $81.7 million, or 60 cents per diluted share, compared to earnings of $73.9 million, or 56 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2021.
The quarter was marked by strong annualized loan growth of 11% (excluding Paycheck Protection Program loans), net interest margin expansion and the resumption of United’s share buyback program . First quarter 2022 results produced annualized returns on average assets, average equity and average tangible equity, a non-GAAP measure, of 1.13%, 6.96% and 11.63%, respectively, relative to annualized returns on average assets, average equity and average tangible equity. equity of 1.04%, 6.44% and 10.87%, respectively, for the fourth quarter of 2021.
“We got out of the gate quickly and got off to a strong start in 2022,” United CEO Richard M. Adams Jr. said. “We continue to see promising loan growth in our new Southeast markets, as well as our traditional markets, particularly in the Greater Washington area. We remain well capitalized, have strong liquidity levels and maintain our longstanding commitments to strong risk management practices and credit underwriting discipline.
Net interest income for the first quarter of 2022 remained relatively stable compared to the first quarter of 2021, increasing by $542,000, or less than 1%, to reach $191.5 million.
On December 3, United completed its acquisition of Community Bankers Trust Corp. interest charges on deposits.
Average earning assets for the first quarter of 2022 increased by $2.5 billion, or 11%, compared to the first quarter of 2021 due to a $1.5 billion increase in average investment securities , an increase of $739.3 million in average short-term investments and an increase of $312.5 million in average net loans and loans held for sale.
Net PPP loan fee income of $4.1 million was recorded in the first quarter of 2022, compared to $11.3 million in the first quarter of 2021. Net interest income equivalent to taxes for the first quarter of 2022 increased by $7.9 million, or 4%, compared to the first quarter of 2022. fourth quarter of 2021. The increase in net interest income and net interest income equivalent to taxes is primarily due to an increase in average earning assets due to the full quarter impact of the Community Bankers Trust acquisition and organic growth partially offset by lower acquired loans growth and fee income on PPP loans.
Average earning assets increased approximately $1.1 billion, or 4%, from the fourth quarter of 2021 due to higher average net loans and loans held for sale of 900.9 million and average securities of $796.3 million, partially offset by a decrease in average short-term investments. of $580.2 million.
The net interest spread of 2.86% for the first quarter of 2022 increased by 4 basis points compared to the fourth quarter of 2021 due to a 3 basis point increase in the average return on earning assets and a decrease of 1 basis point in the average cost of funds. Loan accretion on acquired loans decreased by $2.1 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2021.
Net PPP loan fee income for the first quarter of 2022 decreased by $936,000 compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. Net interest margin of 2.99% for the first quarter of 2022 was an increase of 5 basis points from the net interest margin of 2.94% for the fourth quarter of 2021.
United’s asset quality remains strong. As of March 31, non-performing loans were $79.9 million, or 0.43% of loans and leases, net of unearned revenue, compared to $90.8 million, or 0.50% of loans and leases, net of unearned revenue, as of December 31.
United is the parent company of United Bank which has nearly 250 offices in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. United shares trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “UBSI”.