2015 was a very eventful year at F & M Bank. On January 1, 2015 Security Savings Bank which has offices in Eagle Grove, Clarion, and Goldfield merged into F & M Bank. We had been affiliated with Security Savings Bank for 36 years under common ownership and have shared various resources.
As with most mergers, it wasn't without a hiccup or two along the way but together we worked through them, keeping the best interest of you, our clients, in mind. I am happy to report that there was no reduction in team members after the merger, just a realignment of some duties. As you have seen, the same people are here to assist you with your banking needs. We have also been able to share ideas and procedures between the banks to ultimately improve your client experience.
In February, after 35 years, Mike Dunn handed the role of President over to me. Mike has done an outstanding job of growing and developing F & M Bank into a very sound and thriving financial institution which focuses on its clients, communities, and team members. Fortunately Mike has remained active in the organization as Chairman of the Board and President of the bank’s holding company, Dunn Investment Co. He is now focusing on strategic initiatives, leadership development, and long term objectives in support of our vision and continues to be available to coach and to mentor all of us at F&M.
In November, we opened our 11th location near the Westdale Mall in southwest Cedar Rapids. This is our third location in the Cedar Rapids metro area. Some minor remodeling and freshening up made this a very nice location that is more convenient for our clients on the SW side of town.
Most recently, we celebrated our fifth anniversary in the Minnesota market in December. Our teams in Lino Lakes and Vadnais Heights have done an excellent job of learning and enhancing the F & M corporate culture and personal touch over the first five years. We have made great strides since that snowy weekend as we officially opened in the St. Paul Metro market in 2010. We look forward to our team's ability to continue to expand F & M's presence in this expansive market.
Throughout the year our team continued to support our local markets through countless volunteer hours and monetary donations that help make our communities a great place to live. In addition to the banks support of various non-profits and charities, our team members individually have continued to support their neighbors and community members through our Jeans for Charity program, Santa for a Senior, Coats for Kids and Adopt a Family program, just to name a few. It is always impressive to see the care and concern they show for the well being of our communities.
When looking at the balance sheet numbers attached, the 2014 column is a combination of the two separate banks so some categories adjusted upon the merger. However when looking at the actual growth of the combined banks in 2015, we experienced a 5.4% increase in loans and small decrease in deposits of 0.87% due primarily to the low interest rate environment. With excellent earnings, our equity and reserves, which represents our strength to support our clients, increased to nearly $63 million. Our growth has been prudent and conservative, as we want to continue to be a very sound and stable partner for our valued clients.
2015 was an excellent year – all made possible with your continued trust and loyalty to F & M and our committed team, at work every day to exceed your expectations. We appreciate your continued support and recognize that we will not succeed unless you do. Thank you and best wishes for an outstanding 2016.
Timothy R. German
Executive Vice President