By DENNIS SEID / Daily Journal

BancorpSouth Bank reported fourth-quarter net income of $65.8 million, or 63 cents per share.

The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 60 cents per share.

The bank posted revenue of $278.5 million in the period. Its revenue net of interest expense was $245.5 million, also exceeding Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $242.6 million.

For the year, the company reported a record profit of $234.3 million, or $2.30 per share. For 2018, BancorpSouth posted a profit of $221.3 million, or $2.23 per share.

Revenue for the year was $930.6 million.

For the year, BancorpSouth surpassed $20 billion in total assets for the first time in the company’s history, ending the year at $21.1 billion in total assets. That growth was aided by its completed mergers with Casey Bancorp Inc., Merchants Trust Inc., Van Alstyne Financial Corporation and Summit Financial Enterprises Inc., which collectively contributed $1 billion in loans and $1.3 billion in deposits.

Net interest margin increased to 3.72 percent from 3.64 percent for the year,

Additionally, at its regular quarterly meeting Wednesday, the company’s board of directors declared quarterly cash dividends of 18.5 cents per share of common stock and 34.375 per share of Series A Preferred Stock. The common stock dividend is payable on April 1, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 13, 2020. The preferred stock dividend is payable on Feb. 20 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 5.

“We are pleased to report record financial results for 2019,” said BancorpSouth Chairman and CEO Dan Rollins. “First and foremost, we are excited to pass the $20 billion mark in total assets. This achievement is a tremendous milestone for our company and a testament to the hard work and success of our teammates in growing our company both organically and through acquisitions.”

Net interest revenue was $170.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, an increase of 11.7 percent.