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Great Southern Bank's net income falls by more than 15% in the first quarter.
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Great Southern Bank's net income falls by more than 15% in the first quarter.

Great Southern cites coronavirus for earnings drop

Posted online

Springfield-based Great Southern Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: GSBC) cited the coronavirus pandemic as a factor in a 15.6% drop in first-quarter earnings.

The operator of Great Southern Bank reported net income of $14.9 million for the first three months of 2020, compared with $17.6 million in first-quarter 2019, according to a news release. Earnings per diluted share dropped to $1.04 from $1.23 per share a year earlier.

Great Southern President and CEO Joe Turner said the pandemic adversely affected share earnings to the tune of 8 cents. He said the virus’ impact mostly was felt late in the first quarter.

"We entered the COVID-19 crisis prepared to respond and in a position of strength with regard to capital, earnings and liquidity," he said in the release. "By the end of the first quarter, the majority of our markets were under a (stay-at-home) mandate, resulting in a sharp reduction in economic activity."

However, company officials pointed to coronavirus stimulus funds for a boost in business. Great Southern expects to originate roughly $100 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. That's based on the $349 billion currently allocated for the forgivable Small Business Administration-guaranteed loans.

Great Southern in the first quarter also set up a $300,000 fund to help nonprofits navigate the COVID-19 crisis in the company's 11-state service area. The company disbursed $234,000 from the fund in the first quarter, according to the release.

Great Southern also incurred $1.1 million in employee bonus pay expenses in response to the pandemic, as well as $103,000 related to cleaning services, supplies, equipment and costs to set up remote work sites.

“I want to thank our nearly 1,200 associates for their dedication and resilience during this difficult time," Turner said in the release. "Our associates’ commitment to our customers runs deep and it has been underscored by their extraordinary effort and show of compassion."

As of March 31, Great Southern had roughly $5 billion in assets and $4.2 billion in deposits. The company has 97 branches, according to the release.

GSBC shares were trading at $38.50 as of 8:51 a.m., compared with a 52-week range of $32.23 to $64.48.


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