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Press Release

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Community West Bancshares Earns $3.1 Million in Fourth Quarter and $9.0 Million in 2013 Year Highlighted by Improved Credit Quality Metrics, Strong Loan Growth and Subsequent OCC Agreement Termination

Goleta, California, January 28, 2014 – Community West Bancshares (Community West or the Company), (NASDAQ: CWBC), parent company of Community West Bank (Bank), today reported net income was $3.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 (4Q13) compared to $2.6 million in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13) and $2.3 million in the fourth quarter a year ago (4Q12). For the full year, Community West earned $9.0 million compared to $3.2 million a year ago. Community West’s results for 4Q13 include a $2.8 million tax benefit as a result of the reversal of its deferred tax asset valuation allowance.

“Our operational restructuring plan is delivering favorable results, with our fourth quarter results marking our sixth consecutive quarter of profitability. Our team’s success in executing this plan enabled us to end 2013 on a high note, with nonaccrual loans and net loan charge-offs declining substantially compared to 2012, while net REO and repossessed assets also decreased. As a result of this improvement in profitability and asset quality, we reversed the deferred tax asset valuation allowance in the fourth quarter, reflecting our expectation of sustainable profitability in the future,” stated Martin E. Plourd, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Another highlight of the quarter was our balance sheet growth. The loan portfolio increased 5% during the quarter compared to three months earlier, and core deposits remained strong at 82% of total deposits. We continue to improve our capital ratios and credit quality metrics compared to a year ago, while maintaining a strong net interest margin. We will continue to increase our marketing outreach in the communities we serve while focusing on increasing shareholder value.”

Yesterday, the Company announced that, as a result of improvement of its financial condition over the past 24 months, and the Bank’s effective compliance with the Written Consent Agreement (Agreement), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), its primary regulator, has terminated its Agreement with Community West Bank entered into on January 26, 2012. Effective immediately, the Bank will no longer be subject to the terms and conditions of the Agreement. “The termination of our Agreement with the OCC is an independent confirmation of the improvements we have achieved over the past two years. This important milestone substantiates that our efforts to reduce problem assets, document the allowance for loan losses and return to profitability have been successful,” said Plourd.

4Q13 Financial Highlights
  • Net income totaled $3.1 million.
  • Earnings were $0.34 per diluted share.
  • Net interest margin remained strong at 4.40% in 4Q13, compared to 4.54% in 3Q13 and 4.60% in 4Q12.
  • Nonaccrual loans were $16.8 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $15.3 million at September 30, 2013 and $22.4 million at December 31, 2012.
  • Net real estate owned (REO) and repossessed assets, excluding USDA/SBA guarantees, totaled $1.6 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $1.7 million three months earlier and $1.9 million a year earlier.
  • The total allowance for loan losses equaled 2.98% of total loans held for investment at December 31, 2013, compared to 3.01% at September 30, 2013 and 3.66% a year ago.
  • Community West Bank’s capital ratios continue to strengthen - Total risk-based capital ratio was 16.84% and Tier 1 leverage ratio was 12.68% at December 31, 2013.

Including $253,000 of dividends and accretion on preferred stock, the net income available to common stockholders was $2.9 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, in 4Q13 compared to $2.4 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, in 3Q13 and $2.1 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, in 4Q12. In 2013, including $1.0 million of dividends and accretion on preferred stock, the net income available to common stockholders was $7.9 million, or $0.98 per diluted share, compared to $2.1 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, in 2012. Book value per common share was $6.60 at December 31, 2013, compared to $6.24 at September 30, 2013, and $6.29 at December 31, 2012.

On December 26, 2013, Community West announced that the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) approved its request for permission to pay outstanding, cumulative dividends on the Company’s Series A Preferred Stock, which were deferred from May 15, 2012, through November 15, 2013. The $1.4 million in deferred dividend payments were accrued when due and were deducted from capital. The payment, along with the February 15, 2014 payment, are expected to be remitted on February 18, 2014. Now that Community West’s Agreement has been terminated it expects to pay future dividends.

Credit Quality

“Even though credit quality metrics continue to improve substantially compared to a year ago, we decided to add $899,000 to our provision for loan losses to compensate for the growth in the loan portfolio,” said Plourd. “In the preceding quarter, we released $1.6 million in reserves, following recoveries of previously charged-off loans of $1.5 million, and in 4Q12 we released $895,000 in reserves.”

The allowance for loan losses totaled $12.2 million at December 31, 2013, equal to 2.98% of total loans held for investment, compared to 3.01% at September 30, 2013, and 3.66% a year ago. Nonaccrual loans were $16.8 million, or 3.55% of total loans at December 31, 2013, compared to $15.3 million, or 3.39% of total loans, three months earlier, and $22.4 million, or 4.84% of total loans, a year ago.

Of the $16.8 million in nonaccrual loans, $6.2 million (37.0%) were manufactured housing loans, $3.8 million (22.8%) were commercial loans, $3.7 million (21.8%) were commercial real estate loans, $1.8 million (10.7%) were SBA loans, $675,000 (4.0%) were single family real estate loans and $615,000 (3.7%) were home equity line of credit loans.

REO and repossessed assets totaled $3.8 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $4.0 million three months earlier and $1.9 million a year earlier. This amount consists of $3.5 million in REO and $300,000 from repossessed manufactured housing loans. REO consists of four properties for which $2.3 million is guaranteed by the SBA/USDA. Nonaccrual loans plus REO and repossessed assets, net of SBA/USDA guarantees, totaled $18.4 million, or 3.4% of total assets, at December 31, 2013, compared to $17.0 million, or 3.2% of total assets, three months earlier and $24.3 million, or 4.6% of total assets, a year ago.

Net charge-offs were $345,000 in 4Q13, compared to net loan recoveries of $761,000 in 3Q13 and net loan recoveries of $304,000 in 4Q12.

Income Statement

Community West’s fourth quarter net interest income was $5.8 million compared to $6.0 million in 3Q13 and $6.2 million in 4Q12. For the full year, net interest income was $23.5 million compared to $25.4 million in 2012. The fourth quarter net interest margin remained healthy, and well above its peer group average, at 4.40%, compared to 4.54% in 3Q13 and 4.60% in 4Q12. In 2013, the net interest margin was 4.51% compared to 4.49% in 2012.

“Continued pressure on asset yields led to some margin compression during the fourth quarter. However, our margin remains strong primarily as a result of our higher than peer asset yields, which continue to keep our net interest margin in the mid-4% range,” said Charles G. Baltuskonis, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “New loans are being recorded at lower rates, but some of the margin decline in the last two quarters and in 4Q12 was due to the high cash balances in overnight funds which only earn 25 basis points. By the end of 2013, the Company returned to a more normal level of cash balances.”

Non-interest income was $632,000 in 4Q13 compared to $661,000 in 3Q13 and $754,000 in 4Q12. In 2013, non-interest income was $2.8 million compared to $4.3 million in 2012, which included a $1.7 million gain on sale of SBA loans.

Operating or non-interest expenses improved to $5.2 million in 4Q13, compared to $5.6 million in 3Q13 and $5.5 million in 4Q12. In 2013, non-interest expenses were $22.1 million compared to $22.2 million in 2012. Salaries and employee benefits increased due to the additions to staff, primarily lenders and credit administration, but were more than offset by declining costs associated with foreclosed real estate.

Balance Sheet

“The loan pipeline has been active in recent quarters, with net loans increasing 5.1% at December 31, 2013, compared to three months earlier,” said Plourd. Net loans were $462.0 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $439.4 million at September 30, 2013, and $449.2 million a year ago. Manufactured housing loans were down 3.0% from year ago levels to $172.1 million and represent 36.3% of total loans. Commercial real estate loans outstanding were up 12.6% from year ago levels to $142.7 million at December 31, 2013, and comprise 30.1% of the total loan portfolio. SBA loans decreased 17.0% from a year ago to $71.4 million and represent 15.0% of the total loan portfolio and commercial loans increased 67.5% from year ago levels to $62.4 million and represent 13.2% of the total loan portfolio.

Total deposits increased slightly to $436.1 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $431.1 million at September 30, 2013, and $434.2 million a year ago. Non-interest-bearing deposit accounts decreased slightly to $52.5 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $55.5 million at September 30, 2013, and $53.6 million a year ago. Interest-bearing deposit accounts increased 1.7% to $258.4 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $254.0 million three months earlier, but were down 4.1% compared to $269.5 million a year ago. Core deposits, defined as non-interest-bearing checking, interest-bearing checking, money market accounts, savings accounts and retail certificates of deposit totaled $359.0 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $355.2 million at September 30, 2013, and $368.9 million a year ago.

Total assets increased moderately to $539.0 million at year end, compared to $535.5 million at September 30, 2013, and $532.1 million a year ago. Stockholders’ equity improved to $67.6 million at December 31, 2013, compared to $64.6 million at September 30, 2012, and $53.0 million a year ago. Book value per common share increased 5.8% to $6.60 at December 31, 2013, compared to $6.24 at the end of September, and increased 4.9% compared to $6.29 a year earlier.

Company Profile

Community West Bancshares is a financial services company with headquarters in Goleta, California. The Company is the holding company for Community West Bank, which has five full-service California branch banking offices, in Goleta, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura and Westlake Village. The principal business activities of the Company are Relationship banking, Mortgage lending and SBA lending.

The Company is prohibited from paying dividends on its common or preferred stock without the prior approval of the Federal Reserve Board (FRB). The FRB denied the paying of the $195,000 dividend payments on the preferred shares that were due on May 15, 2012, August 15, 2012, November 15, 2012, February 15, 2013 and May 15, 2013. Such amounts continue to be accrued as incurred and deducted from capital.

On December 11, 2012, the U.S. Treasury sold its shares of the Company’s perpetual preferred stock in a non-public offering as part of a modified Dutch auction. The Treasury also sold at auction on June 6, 2013 its warrant to purchase up to 521,158 shares of the Company’s common stock at $4.49 per share.

Safe Harbor

This release contains forward-looking statements that reflect management`s current views of future events and operations. These forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to the Company as of the date of this release. It is important to note that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, the ability of the Company to implement its strategy and expand its lending operations.

Contact Information

Charles G. Baltuskonis, EVP & CFO
(805) 692-5821

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