Hurricane hits Louisiana bank Investar, with 3Q loss most likely

Six weeks after Hurricane Ida struck the Gulf Coast, Investar Holding Co. in Baton Rouge ended up being the very first bank in the area to report a considerable storm-related loss.

The $2.7 billion-asset Investar revealed late Thursday that it would make a $21.6 million third-quarter arrangement to its allowance for loan losses, stemming mostly from the damage of residential or commercial property utilized as security by a big debtor. Analysts anticipate that this will lead the bank to report a loss for the 3rd quarter when it reveals outcomes on Oct. 21.

“As a result of the storm’s impact on the borrower’s operations, some of the collateral supporting the loan relationship experienced a significant reduction in value,” Investar stated in an 8-K report submitted with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to Investar, the charge won’t impact its well-capitalized status. At the exact same time, experts concluded that the charge was significant adequate to swing the business to a third-quarter loss. Investar reported a revenue of $5.7 million for the quarter that ended June 30, which CEO John D’Angelo stated set a record for revenues.

In a research study note Friday, Hovde’s Brett Rabatin forecasted a loss of around $10 million, or $1.01 per share, in addition to a decrease in concrete book worth in the area of 6%, to the $18.50-to-$18.60 variety.

“While the credit would very likely not have been an issue without the impact of Hurricane Ida, and there is a lack of other systemic issues related to the hurricane, the net charge-off is big enough to warrant slightly less optimism on our thesis, despite the below-peer valuation and potential for profitability improvement in the next two years,” Rabatin composed.

Janney Montgomery Scott expert Freddie Strickland forecasted a loss of $1.07 per share in a research study note Friday. Scott, nevertheless, left his 2022 quote the same at $2.58 per share. Rabatin likewise held his 2022 revenues quote stable at $2.47 per share.

Robert Taylor, president and CEO of the Louisiana Bankers Association, doesn’t anticipate to see a lot more statements like Investar’s.

“There will be a very small number of blips banks experience with their customers,” Taylor composed Friday in an e-mail to American Banker. “Compared to many years past, today, bankers, customers and bank regulators are all much better at what they do. Consequently, local communities are more vibrant and resilient.”

Jude Melville, CEO of the $4.3 billion-asset Business First Bancshares in Baton Rouge, stated he isn’t expecting significant credit problems due to Ida, and defined Investar’s circumstance as an outlier.

“I think banks are better at managing through a crisis, and regulators are, as well,” Melville stated. “They’ve proven themselves to be open and flexible, over the past two years in particular. That helps us deal with whatever issues we might have.”

It will take 2 or 3 years to completely recuperate from Ida, even with funds from insurer and federal government programs, according to Stanley Dameron, commissioner of Louisiana’s Office of Financial Institutions.

“A lot of customers have a lot of damage to homes, offices and businesses,” Dameron stated. “That being said, there’s a lot of federal money and there’s going to be a lot of insurance money coming in. It will actually be kind of a boon to the economy through the rebuilding process.”

For its part, Investar specified in Thursday’s 8-K report that it was “not aware of additional material impairments related to Hurricane Ida.”

Investar stated a quarterly dividend of 8 cents per share on Sept. 15.

Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana on Aug. 29 as a Category-4 storm with continual winds of 150 miles per hour. In its consequences, lenders throughout the Gulf Coast area sprang into action doing what they might to assist customers and surrounding organizations.

Banks are continuing to help locals with the healing, Melville stated.

“There are still a lot of folks that are struggling, from housing to electricity, so it’s not time to turn the page,” Melville stated. “There is a great deal of work to do, however I believe we’ve shown as an individuals to be resistant and caring. There is some positivity that’s come out of this in regards to us coming together to achieve something. I’m proud of our staff members. We’re blessed to be able to be among those groups that can supply a few of that assistance.”


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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