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 2020 Annual Report. As you are well aware, 2020 was a year not easily forgotten. Nevertheless, our board and staff rose to the occasion and the results were another year with strong earnings, assets and deposit growth in spite of enormously challenging circumstances.
For the year ended December 31, 2020, net income was $5.2 million. This was slightly down from $5.6 million in 2019, but nevertheless a strong year in an uncertain economic environment. Earnings per share were $3.18 basic and $3.14 diluted compared to $3.43 basic and $3.36 diluted in 2019. Both loans and deposits were each up 4.6% year over year.
Two areas that contributed to our overall strong performance were the mortgage refinance market, due to lower interest rates, and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided by the CARES Act of 2020.
In Louisiana, our customer base in Lincoln and Ouachita Parishes and the surrounding areas expanded with loans growing by 6.7% or $19.3 million and deposits growing by 0.6% or $1.9 million. Commercial non-real estate and real estate loans were the strongest growth areas. Deposit growth was primarily from both noninterest-bearing and interest-bearing checking and savings accounts.
In Arkansas, loans were down slightly by 0.4% or $506,000 and deposits grew a robust 13.1% or $17.3 million. Commercial real estate loans contributed the majority of the growth in loans while noninterest-bearing and interest-bearing checking and savings accounts were the largest growth areas in deposits. We continue to see great success in the Arkansas market.
Century Next Bank, our subsidiary bank, is celebrating 115 years of serving the Ruston Community and Lincoln Parish. Ouachita parish continues to be a growth market with strong expansion opportunities. In February of 2020, we opened our newest branch location in West Monroe and were very pleased to see $9.0 million in new loans and $3.0 million in new deposits by year-end.
We are also pleased with solid market share growth in Arkansas, while continuing the traditional focus on serving the Ashley County area as has been the case for over 116 years. Our three full-service branches and one drive through location continue to provide us a very strong presence in the region.
As we move into 2021, our Company focus will remain on strong asset quality, expanding our customer base, and strategic growth opportunities in North Louisiana and Southeast Arkansas. We will expand our marketing efforts in 2021 to attract new customers while remaining laser-focused on our most important task of meeting the needs of our existing customers.
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