March 2015, 2014 year end message
There is an old expression that success brings more success. When we reflect on our financial performance over the last two years, we firmly believe that our successes have given us our own opportunities. As our fundamentals have continued to improve,we have been fortunate to attract and retain highly talented employees. Like any business, it comes down to people, and we are fortunate to have a great team of committed employees that continue to drive this organization to be an exceptional financial service provider.
In 2014, the company reported earnings of $6.4 million to common stockholders, a 55% increase over the prior year. Our earnings performance was driven primarily by our strong loan and deposit growth. Overall, loans grew by over 12% from the prior year. Deposits increased approximately 7.5% from the prior year, with noninterestbearing deposits growing in excess of 12%. The loan and deposit growth was accomplished with sensitivity to maintaining our net interest margin. This remains stable at 3.53%, consistent with a year ago.
First and foremost, our primary objective is to fulfill the lending needs of the small businesses in our footprint. This includes an array of products such as term loans, lines of credit and commercial mortgages. We also participate in several of the Government Guaranteed small business lending programs which enables us to supplement our products for our small business customers. Unity also provides construction loans for business expansion or real estate development. We are able to successfully grow our portfolios because we understand our customers and we customize our terms to the individual credit conditions. Loan demand continues to be strong, and we expect continued loan growth in 2015.
We also have a full service residential lending division which has a wide range of mortgage products to fit the needs of any consumer. Despite the fact that the mortgage refinance boom ended in 2013, our mortgage volume in 2014 was extremely robust. In 2014, our mortgage originations were approximately $130 million, down slight from the prior year, yet our purchased money mortgage increased in 2014. In addition, this year we launched a home construction program which has been extremely successful, with over $25 million in new projects. We expect 2015 to be another strong year for the residential lending division.
In July of 2014 we had a successful $6.3 million capital raise through a private placement rights offering. The offering was significantly oversubscribed which underscores the retail and institutional confidence in our strategic direction.
The Unity Commandments define our core values. We recognize that to be successful in this highly competitive business, it is critical that our employees are aligned with our core values and that we continually reinforce them. We believe these values speak for themselves. Hire the best employees, train them well, and keep them highly motivated. With great employees providing the highest level of service for our customers, increased profits of the bank are sure to follow.
Our vision and strategy for Unity has not changed, we are committed to exceptional customer service, personal attention, local decision-making and concern for the financial well being of our customers and shareholders. We and the employees of Unity are committed to achieving our financial goals and look forward to the challenges ahead.
The Board of Directors, management and staff thank you and we continue to appreciate your loyalty and support.
James A. Hughes
This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, either expressed or implied, which anticipates future financial performance. These statements involve certain risks, uncertainties, estimates and assumptions made by management, which are subject to factors beyond the company's control and could impede its ability to achieve these goals. These factors include general economic conditions, trends in interest rates, the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans, and results of regulatory exams, among other factors.