Report to Shareholders:
On behalf of the Board of Directors, management team and staff of Century Next Financial Corporation (the Company), and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Century Next Bank (the Bank), we are proud to provide the 2021 Annual Report. Just as 2020 was a year not easily forgotten, 2021 also provided its own challenges. Our board and staff worked diligently to navigate a changing environment resulting in another profitable year with good overall assets and deposit growth in spite of continuously challenging circumstances.
For the year ended December 31, 2021, net income was $4.8 million. This was slightly down from $5.2 million in 2020, but nevertheless a strong year as the Nation’s economy continued to improve. Earnings per share were $2.73 basic and diluted compared to $3.03 basic and $2.99 diluted in 2020. Loans grew 4.0% and deposits grew 7.6% year over year.
Our net interest income improved in 2021 by 5.8% or $1.2 million over 2020 as interest expense decreased and fees from Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans increased. Service charges on deposits also added some extra income while loan servicing income from mortgage held-for-sale lending decreased as refinancing slowed.
In Louisiana, our customer base in Lincoln and Ouachita Parishes and the surrounding areas expanded with loans growing by 6.7% or $21.7 million and deposits growing by 8.8% or $25.7 million. Commercial real estate loans grew the most at 12.3% or $28.9 million. Deposits grew in every area except for time deposits which were down due to brokered deposit attrition and customers moving to transaction-based accounts.
In Arkansas, loans were down by 4.1% or $4.2 million and deposits grew 4.9% or $7.4 million. Commercial real estate loans increased by 9.5% or $5.2 million while commercial non-real estate, mortgage in-house loans, and other loans declined by $9.3 million or 19.4%. Deposits grew in all categories except time deposits as most customers preferred staying liquid. Noninterest-bearing accounts were the largest growth area with 50% of the deposit growth. The Arkansas market continues to be a great funding source of liquidity.
Century Next Bank, our subsidiary bank, continues the trend with 116 years of serving the Ruston Community and Lincoln Parish. Ouachita parish continues to be a strong growth market with 18.9% or $22.6 million in loan growth. Our newest location in West Monroe contributed $18.1 million in new loan growth which was 80.1% of the growth in Ouachita parish. We continue to be pleased with a strong market share in Arkansas and the traditional focus on serving the Ashley County area for over 117 years. Our three full-service branches give us great coverage in meeting the needs of the communities of Crossett and Hamburg.
As we enter 2022, our Company will focus on loan and deposit growth, maintaining strong asset quality, expanding our customer base, and strategic growth opportunities in North Louisiana and Southeast Arkansas. Our marketing efforts have benefited us greatly in the last two years and have helped to increase our presence in our markets. Attracting new customers remains a priority as does providing strong leadership and service in the communities we serve.
Thank you for allowing us to service you, our shareholders, and for supporting us as we look for more opportunities to build and strengthen our growing regional presence in the year ahead.
William D. Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer
Century Next Financial Corporation