To Our Shareholders
THE DEFINITION OF COMMUNITY.
Webster defines community as “a group whose members reside in a specific locality and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, but we’ll give it a try.
HERITAGE BANK shares in the lives of the many people, in the many neighborhoods, which it is privileged to serve. We love being a part of the everyday world of our customers and their families. We are proud that we can make a small contribution to the quality of life in each of these myriad communities. And we are grateful that, for more than 135 years, families and businesses have chosen Heritage Bank to be their banker and neighbor.
This year is no different than those of a century ago.
Developing a cohesive community of banks over a wide geographic area is challenging, but ultimately very rewarding. With each successive year of our operation, HERITAGE BANK has invested time and talent to discover new strategies for growing our base of operations among an ever-expanding group of communities in Kentucky and Tennessee. This search for new grass-roots growth has resulted in yet another year of profitability for our corporation and our shareholders.
PROGRESS, PROFESSIONALISM, AND PROFITS.
Our continued goal is to seek to be the leader in the markets in which we operate. We are also proud of the level of expertise among our employees and our on-going commitment to choosing and training professional bankers who take seriously our mission of quality products and services.
We maintained our quarterly cash dividend of $0.04 and carried this through all four quarters of 2014 and 2015. This is reflective of our dedication to providing results for our valued shareholders and illustrates our growing financial strength.
And, once again for the SIXTH year, Heritage Bank was honored to receive a Best Place to Work designation in Kentucky. We were also named a Top Work Place in Tennessee. This objective assessment of our staff means that we are successfully cultivating a working environment that fosters productivity and professionalism among our HERITAGE BANK team.
In 2015, the bank’s leadership team again developed programs and policies that allowed for growth and increased profitability among the products in our loan portfolios. Our ability to secure new relationships among personal and commercial entities gave us new strength in our ability to successfully finance both private and corporate projects. Further inroads into the Nashville market in 2015 have elevated our visibility in this highly competitive urban center. We firmly believe that both the Clarksville and Nashville markets, and other markets currently served, will provide ever-greater opportunities for HERITAGE BANK. New industry in and around Clarksville and western Tennessee, such as Google and Hankook Tire, will no doubt open new avenues of profitability for the coming year.
A substantial portion of the Bank’s loan portfolio growth is a result of our continued investment in the Nashville MSA. We have been able to compete in this new venue by attracting local lenders with prior experience and knowledge of the market. We feel this is important in growing our loan portfolio while preserving the Bank’s conservative asset quality.
Again in 2015, the Bank garnered significant increases in our checking account activity. HERITAGE BANK opened more than 4,000 new accounts among the markets it serves, proving once again that our marketing strategies for securing new customers are producing strong results. For the first time, deposit balances in non-interest checking accounts exceeded $125 million.
BENEFITING EMPLOYEES. BENEFITING
CUSTOMERS AND SHAREHOLDERS.
The further development of our ESOP among the Bank’s employees is one more element of investing in the future. We know that when our staff is committed to the success of our endeavors, it creates a win-win workplace. Our employees, our clients, and our shareholders will benefit from our employees’ dedication to the delivery of quality products and services.
The Bank was able to provide the ESOP as an attractive additional benefit, while making it expense neutral. Affording opportunities for employees to have a larger stake in the Company continues to be a focus of the Board and Executive Management.
VISION FOR THE FUTURE.
We believe this is an exciting time to be a part of HERITAGE BANK and HOPFED BANCORP. In the year ahead, we are determined to seek out innovative new ways to utilize the continuous development of technological enhancements. We will challenge our staff and management team to discover new insights into customer recruitment and retention. We will strive to generate creative new ways to make our company competitive in an ever-more global arena. With your support and investment in those ideals, we look forward to a bright future for this historically successful company.
John E. Peck,
President and CEO