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Fellow Shareholders:

Thanks to those who joined us for our annual shareholder meeting last month at our new LEED Gold certified offices in the First Western building, right between the Gates and DaVita buildings next to Union Station.   Our First Western signage atop the tallest building in the Union Station area should raise our profile in downtown Denver!  I hope you will join us for our grand opening event on the 12th floor of 1900 16th St at 4:30pm on May 22.

For those who could not attend our ASM, I wanted to provide some highlights from my presentation, as well as our recent quarterly financial performance.   If you find this format helpful, our intention is to continue to provide this information quarterly.

Here are the major points from my shareholder presentation (condensed from 44 slides):

  • First Western is a proven, successful and unique private bank and trust platform, with 11 locations in four states;
  • We have an 8 year history of solid growth with ongoing core (i.e. pre-credit) earnings;
  • Our mature offices are highly profitable, with contribution margins above 60%;
  • The banking industry has become increasingly capital intensive, and the cost of capital in the banking sector has climbed sharply;
  • We have worked hard to balance growth and capital, avoiding dilution, in spite of multiple, prolonged and pervasive environmental headwinds;
  • For 2012, we focused on earnings, capital, asset quality and revenue growth, with the intention of moving back on offense (growth and expansion) late in 2013;
  • In 2012, our net credit losses returned to our historic position favorable to our FDIC peer banks (who averaged 53% above our cumulative loan losses over the past six years);
  • Investment results for our clients have been excellent – First Western’s core equity and fixed income products have significantly outperformed their respective 1, 3 and 5 year benchmarks;
  • We completed a trust acquisition in Laramie, and opened an office in Jackson Hole in 2012; and,
  • Our path to attractive shareholder value and liquidity, limited by the regulatory and equity market headwinds, lies in building towards a successful IPO.

Our 2012 and Q1 2013 financial results appear elsewhere in this update, but I will highlight a few key milestones:

  • We ended 2012 with total assets of $725.1mm, up 9% from 2011;
  • Book value per share ended the year at $16.53 per share, up 2.3%;
  • Adjusted book value (including DTA) has grown from $50.5m in 2008 to $85.8mm in 2012 with almost no dilution;
  • Revenue per share is up from $3.19 to $9.97 during the Great Recession;
  • Revenues (pre-provision) were up again in 2012 to $46.4mm, up 126% since 2008, with a coveted 50/50 mix of net interest and recurring fee income;
  • Trust and investment assets ended the year at $4.0 billion, up from $2.1 billion in 2008 and up another $613mm in Q1 2013 to $4.6 billion today.

If you would like more information or have any questions, please just give me a call at 303-531-8101 or email me at scott.wylie@myfw.com.  Thanks again for all your support.

Scott