Safe and Sound

Ameris Bank

Moultrie, GA
4
Star Rating
Started in 1971, Ameris Bank is an FDIC-insured bank based in Moultrie, GA. Regulatory filings show the bank having equity of $926.6 million on assets of $7.39 billion, as of June 30, 2017.

With 1,437 full-time employees in 110 offices in multiple states, the bank currently holds loans and leases worth $5.79 billion, including real estate loans of $4.18 billion. U.S. bank customers currently have $5.80 billion in deposits with the bank.

Overall, Bankrate believes that, as of June 30, 2017, Ameris Bank exhibited a good condition, earning 4 out of 5 stars for safety and soundness. Keep reading for an analysis of how the bank faired on the three important criteria Bankrate used to grade American banks.

WHAT IS
SAFE AND SOUND?

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THE INSTITUTION'S SCORE

Capital Score

Capital acts as a buffer against losses and affords protection for depositors when a bank is experiencing financial instability. It follows then that when it comes to measuring an an institution's financial strength, capital is valuable. When it comes to safety and soundness, the higher the capital, the better.
Ameris Bank came in below the national average of 13.38 on our test to measure the adequacy of a bank's capital, scoring 12 out of a possible 30 points.

A bank's Tier 1 capital ratio is an essential measure of this buffer. Ameris Bank's Tier 1 capital ratio was 12.62 percent, higher than the 6 percent level regulators consider adequate, but less than the national average of 25.16 percent. The higher the capital ratio, the better the bank will be able to weather economic difficulties.

Overall, Ameris Bank held equity amounting to 12.54 percent of its assets, which exceeded the national average of 12.10 percent.

Asset Quality Score

This test is intended to try to understand how the bank's capitalization and allocated loan loss reserves could be affected by problem assets, such as unpaid mortgages.

A bank with lots of these types of assets may eventually be required to use capital to absorb losses, reducing its buffer of equity. It also means that there are likely to be many assets that are in non-accrual status and thus aren't earning interest for the bank, resulting in depressed earnings and potentially more risk of a future failure.

On Bankrate's test of asset quality, Ameris Bank scored 36 out of a possible 40 points, coming in below the national average of 37.62 points.

A useful indicator of asset quality is the percentage of problem assets a bank holds compared to its total assets. As of June 30, 2017, 0.64 percent of Ameris Bank's loans were noncurrent -- in other words, they were more than 90 days past due or were in non-accrual status. That's below the national average of 1.04 percent.

Banks keep a reserve to handle problem assets known as an "allowance for loan and lease losses." Comparing the the size of that reserve to the total amount of problematic loans can be a handy indicator when evaluating a bank's ability to manage troubled assets. Unfortunately, the FDIC did not provide information on Ameris Bank's loan loss allowance in its most recent filings.

Earnings score

How profitable a bank is affects its safety and soundness. Earnings can be retained by the bank, boosting its capital cushion, or be used to deal with problematic loans, likely making the bank better able to withstand financial trouble. Losses, on the other hand, lessen a bank's ability to do those things.

Ameris Bank scored 20 out of a possible 30 on Bankrate's test of earnings, better than the national average of 16.52.

One key measure of a bank's earnings is return on equity, calculated by dividing net income (essentially profit) by the total amount of equity. Ameris Bank's most recent annualized quarterly return on equity was 10.72 percent, above the national average of 9.28 percent.

For the twelve months ended June 30, 2017, the bank recorded net income of $46.4 million on total equity of $926.6 million. The bank experienced an annualized return on average assets, or ROA, of 1.30 percent, above the 1 percent deemed satisfactory in accordance with industry standards, and above the average for U.S. banks of 1.14 percent.

WHAT IS SAFE & SOUND?

Bankrate.com's Safe & Sound Ratings provide a star rating system to evaluate the current financial status of financial institutions. The information gathered about banks, credit unions and thrifts is updated as set forth in the Terms of Use of Safe & Sound Ratings and Reports. The Safe & Sound Ratings information is grouped by categories of banks, thrifts and credit unions.

Scoring methodology

Bankrate.com evaluates the financial condition of institutions and assigns a one- to five-star rating for each with five stars representing the highest rating. Institutions with satisfactory performance will generally receive a rating of three or more stars. The majority of institutions fall into the three- to four-star range. An institution with an "NR" rating may be too new to rate or may have limited the publicly available information in their regulatory filings. The "NR" is not an indication of financial strength or weakness. The Safe & Sound rating is believed to be reliable, but the information is not guaranteed. In addition, events since the information was collected may have altered the institution's financial condition.