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Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Business First Bancshares, Inc., Announces Financial Results for Fiscal Year 2019 and Q4 2019

January 22, 2020 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Business First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: BFST) (Business First), parent company of b1BANK, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, today announced its unaudited results for the year ended December 31, 2019, including net income of $23.8 million, or $1.74 per diluted share, increases of $9.7 million and $0.52, respectively, from the prior year. Core net income for the year ended December 31, 2019, which excludes noncore income and expenses, was $24.6 million, or $1.80 per diluted share, which reflects increases of $7.8 million and $0.35, respectively, from the prior year.

“2019 was a year of successful transition for our company,” said Jude Melville, president and CEO. “We rebranded, we opened new locations in growth markets, we solidified relationships from our two most recent acquisitions and we increased core earnings per share year-over-year by almost 25%, while growing organically at a healthy, well capitalized rate and maintaining sound asset quality. I really couldn’t have asked for more from our team over the past year and we take the field just as excited about our opportunities in 2020 as we are celebratory of the year we had in 2019.”

On January 22, 2020, Business First’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend based upon financial performance for the fourth quarter in the amount of $0.10 per share, same as the prior quarter, to the common shareholders of record as of February 15, 2020. The dividend will be paid on February 28, 2020, or as soon thereafter as practicable.

Quarterly Highlights

-- Improved Credit Quality.Ratios of nonperforming loans compared to loans held for investment and nonperforming assets compared to total assets decreased from 0.70% and 0.64%, respectively, at September 30, 2019, to 0.53% and 0.58% at December 31, 2019. Nonperforming assets for the quarter ended December 31, 2019 were impacted by $566,000 in write-downs on other real estate owned properties; however, excluding this impact, credit quality still improved compared to prior quarter. -- Loan Growth. Total loans held for investment at December 31, 2019, were $1.7 billion, an increase of $15.5 million compared to September 30, 2019. Loan growth was 3.7% (annualized) for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, and 11.9% for year ended December 31, 2019. Loan growth for the quarter was tempered due to higher than anticipated paydowns and delayed closings due to the holiday calendar. -- Net Interest Margin and Spread. Net interest margin and spread were negatively impacted due to the federal funds rate cut of an additional 25 basis points during the quarter ended December 31, 2019. Net interest margin and net interest spread were 4.08% and 3.65%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 4.10% and 3.66% for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. Excluding loan discount accretion, net interest margin and spread were 3.92% and 3.49%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 3.99% and 3.55% for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. -- Dallas Branch Network Expansion. Business First opened its second full-service banking center in the Dallas, Texas metropolitan area in December 2019.

Financial Condition

December 31, 2019, Compared to September 30, 2019

Balance Sheet

As of December 31, 2019, Business First had total assets of $2.3 billion, total loans of $1.7 billion, total deposits of $1.8 billion and total shareholders’ equity of $285.1 million, compared to $2.2 billion, $1.7 billion, $1.7 billion and $280.3 million, respectively, as of September 30, 2019.

Total loans held for investment increased by $15.5 million compared to September 30, 2019, or 3.7% annualized, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019. Loan growth was tempered during the quarter due to higher than anticipated payoffs and delayed closings due to the holiday calendar.

Book value per common share was $21.47 at December 31, 2019, compared to $21.12 at September 30, 2019. Tangible book value per common share was $17.31 at December 31, 2019, compared to $16.96 at September 30, 2019.

Credit Quality

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans held for investment decreased from 0.70% as of September 30, 2019, to 0.53% as of December 31, 2019. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets decreased from 0.64% as of September 30, 2019, to 0.58% as of December 31, 2019. A portion of the decrease in nonperforming assets was associated with $566,000 in write-downs on other real estate owned properties during the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

December 31, 2019, Compared to December 31, 2018

Balance Sheet

As of December 31, 2019, Business First had total assets of $2.3 billion, total loans of $1.7 billion, total deposits of $1.8 billion and total shareholders’ equity of $285.1 million, compared to $2.1 billion, $1.5 billion, $1.7 billion and $260.1 million, respectively, as of December 31, 2018. The balance sheet increases were largely attributable to organic growth in loans and funding sources.

Book value per common share was $21.47 at December 31, 2019, compared to $19.68 at December 31, 2018. Tangible book value per common share was $17.31 at December 31, 2019, compared to $15.34 at December 31, 2018.

Credit Quality

Nonperforming loans as a percentage of total loans held for investment decreased from 0.89% as of December 31, 2018, to 0.53% as of December 31, 2019. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets decreased from 0.74% as of December 31, 2018, to 0.58% as of December 31, 2019. The decreases were mainly attributable to improved credit quality in relation to the size of the loan portfolio and total assets of Business First.

Results of Operations

Fourth Quarter 2019 Compared to Third Quarter 2019

Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

For the quarter ended December 31, 2019, net income was $5.8 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to net income of $5.5 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. The increase was largely attributable to additional interest and fee income on loans and a reduction in provision expense, offset by an adjustment to estimated income tax expense associated with the sale of the Mangham banking center and write-downs on other real estate owned properties.

Core net income, which excludes noncore income and expenses, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, was $6.1 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, compared to core net income of $6.3 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. Notable noncore events impacting earnings for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, included the incurrence of $125,000 in losses associated with the disposal of former bank premises and equipment in noninterest income related to the rebranding of b1BANK and a $216,000 adjustment to estimated income tax expense associated with the sale of the Mangham banking center, compared to $594,000 in losses associated with the disposal of former bank premises and equipment in noninterest income and $288,000 of acquisition-related expenses in noninterest expense for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Return on Assets and Equity

Return on average assets and equity, each on an annualized basis, increased to 1.04% and 8.18%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 1.02% and 7.93%, respectively, for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

As adjusted, core return on average assets and core return on average equity, each on an annualized basis, were 1.11% and 8.69%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 1.16% and 9.01%, respectively, for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Interest Income

For the quarter ended December 31, 2019, net interest income totaled $20.6 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 4.08% and 3.65%, respectively, compared to $20.3 million, 4.10% and 3.66% for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $800,000) were 3.92% and 3.49%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 3.99% and 3.55% (excluding loan discount accretion of $544,000) for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. The ratios were negatively impacted by lower yielding loans due to the federal funds rate cut of 25 basis points at the end of October, offset by a reduction in cost of funds.

The average yield on the loan portfolio was 5.82% for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 5.87% for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. The average yield on total interest-earning assets was 5.28% for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 5.32% for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.

Interest Expense

For the quarter ended December 31, 2019, overall cost of funds (which includes noninterest-bearing deposits) decreased by four basis points, from 1.31% to 1.27%, compared to the quarter ended September 30, 2019. The decrease in cost of funds was largely attributable to an overall reduction in interest rates on Business First’s deposit offerings and increase in noninterest-bearing deposits, offset partially by an increase in interest rates on other borrowings.

Provision for Loan Losses

During the quarter ended December 31, 2019, Business First recorded a provision for loan losses of $192,000, compared to $479,000 for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. The reserve for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, was impacted by lower net loan growth.

Fourth Quarter 2019 Compared to Fourth Quarter 2018

Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

For the quarter ended December 31, 2019, net income was $5.8 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, compared to net income of $3.4 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2018. The increase in net income and diluted earnings per share resulted from the overall growth and improved efficiency of Business First over the past 12 months, mainly attributable to growth in net interest income and partially offset by increases in noninterest expenses and income taxes. Both the growth in net interest income and increase in noninterest expenses and income taxes were impacted by the acquisition of Richland State Bank which occurred in December 2018.

Core net income, which excludes noncore income and expenses, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, was $6.1 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, compared to core net income of $4.7 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2018. Notable noncore events impacting earnings for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, included the incurrence of $125,000 in losses associated with the disposal of former bank premises and equipment in noninterest income related to the rebranding of b1BANK and a $216,000 adjustment to estimated income tax expense associated with the sale of the Mangham banking center, compared to $2.1 million in noninterest expenses related to acquisition-related activities and $588,000 related to gains associated with former premises and equipment, investment and impaired loan sales for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

Return on Assets and Equity

Return on average assets and return on average equity, each on an annualized basis, increased to 1.04% and 8.18%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, from 0.75% and 6.03%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

As adjusted, core return on average assets and core return on average equity, each on an annualized basis, were 1.11% and 8.69%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 1.03% and 8.23%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

Interest Income

For the quarter ended December 31, 2019, net interest income totaled $20.6 million and net interest margin and net interest spread were 4.08% and 3.65%, respectively, compared to $17.1 million, 4.07% and 3.70% for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

Net interest margin and net interest spread (excluding loan discount accretion of $800,000) were 3.92% and 3.49%, respectively, for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 4.01% and 3.63% (excluding loan discount accretion of $283,000) for the quarter ended December 31, 2018. The reductions were largely attributable to the three federal funds rate cuts of 25 basis points which occurred throughout the second half of 2019.

The average yield on the loan portfolio was 5.82% for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 5.72% for the quarter ended December 31, 2018. The average yield on total interest-earning assets was 5.28% for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, compared to 5.13% for the quarter ended December 31, 2018.

Interest Expense

For the quarter ended December 31, 2019, overall cost of funds (which includes noninterest-bearing deposits) increased by 15 basis points, from 1.12% to 1.27%, compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2018. The increase was largely attributable to an overall increase in interest rates on interest-bearing deposits over the past 12 months and the issuance of subordinated debt in December 2018.

Provision for Loan Losses

During the quarter ended December 31, 2019, Business First recorded a provision for loan losses of $192,000, compared to $939,000 for the quarter ended December 31, 2018. The large provision for the quarter ended December 31, 2018 was attributable to a single loan.

About Business First Bancshares, Inc.

Business First Bancshares, Inc., through its banking subsidiary b1BANK, formerly known as Business First Bank, operates 26 banking centers in markets across Louisiana and in the Dallas, Texas area. b1BANK provides commercial and personal banking, treasury management and wealth solutions services to small to midsize businesses and their owners and employees. Visit www.b1BANK.com for more information. Business First’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “BFST.”

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This press release includes certain non-GAAP financial measures (e.g., referenced as “core” or “tangible”) intended to supplement, not substitute for, comparable GAAP measures. These measures typically adjust income available to common shareholders for certain significant activities or transactions that, in management’s opinion, can distort period-to-period comparisons of Business First’s performance. Transactions that are typically excluded from non-GAAP measures include realized and unrealized gains/losses on former bank premises and equipment, investment sales, impaired loan sales, acquisition-related expenses (including, but not limited to, legal costs, system conversion costs, severance and retention payments, etc.). Management believes presentations of these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful supplemental information that is essential to a proper understanding of the operating results of the Company’s core business. These non-GAAP disclosures are not necessarily comparable to non-GAAP measures that may be presented by other companies. Reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP financial measures are provided at the end of the tables below.

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this release may not be based on historical facts and are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements may be identified by their reference to a future period or periods or by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “may,” “might,” “will,” “would,” “could” or “intend.” We caution you not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this news release, in that actual results could differ materially from those indicated in such forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors. We undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date of this news release.

Additional Information

For additional information on Business First, you may obtain Business First’s reports that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, free of charge by using the SEC’s EDGAR service on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov or by contacting the SEC for further information at 1-800-SEC-0330. Alternatively, these documents can be obtained free of charge from Business First by directing a request to: Business First Bancshares, Inc., 500 Laurel Street, Suite 101, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801, Attention: Corporate Secretary.

No Offer or Solicitation

This release does not constitute or form part of any offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase, any securities of the Company. There will be no sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.

Business First Bancshares, Inc. Selected Financial Information (Unaudited) December 31, September 30, June 30, March 31, December 31, (Dollars in thousands) 2019 2019 2019 2019 2018 --------------------------------------- - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Balance Sheet Ratios Loans (HFI) to Deposits 95.97 % 97.77 % 96.46 % 90.93 % 88.15 % Shareholders’ Equity to Assets Ratio 12.54 % 12.62 % 12.88 % 12.81 % 12.41 % Loans Receivable Held for Investment Commercial $ 390,398 $ 415,163 $ 411,256 $ 389,855 $ 363,640 Real Estate: Construction and Land 244,181 220,524 227,102 211,888 211,054 Farmland 48,681 45,809 47,245 44,066 45,989 1-4 Family Residential 293,142 281,413 278,610 275,610 270,583 Multi-Family Residential 36,454 31,448 38,698 39,548 39,273 Nonfarm Nonresidential 612,608 620,427 561,149 550,103 518,660 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Total Real Estate 1,235,066 1,199,621 1,152,804 1,121,215 1,085,559 Consumer 84,801 79,943 78,513 75,112 79,270 Total Loans $ 1,710,265 $ 1,694,727 $ 1,642,573 $ 1,586,182 $ 1,528,469 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Allowance for Loan Losses Balance, Beginning of Period $ 12,090 $ 11,603 $ 11,818 $ 11,220 $ 10,273 Charge-offs – Quarterly (190 ) (13 ) (1,565 ) (57 ) (19 ) Recoveries – Quarterly 32 21 48 22 27 Provision for Loan Losses – Quarterly 192 479 1,302 633 939 Balance, End of Period $ 12,124 $ 12,090 $ 11,603 $ 11,818 $ 11,220 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Allowance for Loan Losses to Total 0.71 % 0.71 % 0.71 % 0.75 % 0.73 % Loans (HFI) Net Charge-offs (Recoveries) to Average 0.01 % 0.00 % 0.09 % 0.00 % 0.00 % Total Loans Nonperforming Assets Nonperforming Loans: Nonaccrual Loans $ 8,977 $ 11,577 $ 9,363 $ 13,183 $ 11,691 Loans Past Due 90 Days or More 72 277 727 77 1,876 Total Nonperforming Loans 9,049 11,854 10,090 13,260 13,567 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Other Nonperforming Assets: Other Real Estate Owned 4,036 2,326 2,324 1,683 1,909 Other Nonperforming Assets 160 5 6 11 11 Total Other Nonperforming Assets 4,196 2,331 2,330 1,694 1,920 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Total Nonperforming Assets $ 13,245 $ 14,185 $ 12,420 $ 14,954 $ 15,487 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Nonperforming Loans to Total Loans 0.53 % 0.70 % 0.61 % 0.84 % 0.89 % (HFI) Nonperforming Assets to Total Assets 0.58 % 0.64 % 0.58 % 0.71 % 0.74 %

Business First Bancshares, Inc. Selected Financial Information (Unaudited) Quarter Ended Year Ended -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------- December 31, September 30, June 30, March 31, December 31, December 31, December 31, (Dollars in thousands, except 2019 2019 2019 2019 2018 2019 2018 per share data) ------------------ - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - Per Share Data Basic Earnings per $ 0.43 $ 0.41 $ 0.51 $ 0.43 $ 0.28 $ 1.79 $ 1.27 Common Share Diluted Earnings $ 0.42 0.40 0.50 0.41 0.28 1.74 1.22 per Common Share Dividends per 0.10 0.10 0.10 0.08 0.08 0.38 0.30 Common Share Book Value per 21.47 21.12 20.77 20.14 19.68 21.47 19.68 Common Share Tangible Book Value per Common 17.31 16.96 16.60 15.86 15.34 17.31 15.34 Share (Non-GAAP) Average Common 13,277,968 13,315,351 13,361,482 13,287,560 12,099,659 13,310,577 11,124,585 Shares Outstanding Average Diluted 13,638,168 13,669,370 13,740,937 13,653,125 12,521,017 13,670,777 11,545,943 Shares Outstanding End of Period Common Shares 13,279,363 13,274,823 13,361,482 13,361,482 13,213,280 13,279,363 13,213,280 Outstanding Annualized Performance Ratios Return on Average 1.04 % 1.02 % 1.30 % 1.09 % 0.75 % 1.11 % 0.84 % Assets Return on Average 8.18 % 7.93 % 10.13 % 8.62 % 6.03 % 8.70 % 7.04 % Equity Net Interest 4.08 % 4.10 % 4.19 % 4.01 % 4.07 % 4.10 % 4.02 % Margin Net Interest 3.65 % 3.66 % 3.75 % 3.61 % 3.70 % 3.67 % 3.71 % Spread Efficiency Ratio 66.50 % 67.16 % 59.85 % 64.35 % 73.51 % 64.37 % 71.78 % (1) Other Operating Expenses Salaries and $ 9,025 $ 8,793 $ 8,756 $ 8,552 $ 7,444 $ 35,126 $ 27,862 Employee Benefits Occupancy and Bank 920 1,230 1,079 1,103 877 4,332 3,509 Premises Depreciation and 588 645 633 628 484 2,494 1,730 Amortization Data Processing 477 380 576 616 397 2,049 1,557 FDIC Assessment (15 ) (105 ) 248 150 276 278 1,221 Fees Legal and Other 302 346 353 318 456 1,319 1,695 Professional Fees Advertising and 385 544 279 327 422 1,535 1,239 Promotions Utilities and 316 397 323 298 238 1,334 1,073 Communications Ad Valorem Shares 388 345 345 345 170 1,423 1,135 Tax Directors’ Fees 119 121 125 205 92 570 436 Other Real Estate Owned Expenses and 632 19 72 27 - 750 9 Write-Downs Merger and Conversion-Related (1 ) 350 235 (254 ) 1,959 330 3,024 Expenses Other 2,067 1,813 1,553 1,475 1,594 6,908 5,758 Total Other $ 15,203 $ 14,878 $ 14,577 $ 13,790 $ 14,409 $ 58,448 $ 50,248 Expenses - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - (1) Noninterest expense (excluding provision for loan losses) divided by noninterest income plus net interest income less gain/loss on sales of securities.

Business First Bancshares, Inc. Consolidated Balance Sheets (Unaudited) December 31, September 30, June 30, March 31, December 31, (Dollars in thousands) 2019 2019 2019 2019 2018 -------------------------------------- - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Assets Cash and Due From Banks $ 89,371 $ 63,356 $ 64,043 $ 52,606 $ 96,072 Federal Funds Sold 61,372 43,705 20,809 30,093 41,836 Securities Available for Sale, at Fair 278,193 288,231 294,981 304,122 309,516 Values Mortgage Loans Held for Sale 251 256 443 753 58 Loans and Lease Receivable 1,710,265 1,694,727 1,642,573 1,586,182 1,528,469 Allowance for Loan Losses (12,124 ) (12,090 ) (11,603 ) (11,818 ) (11,220 ) - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Net Loans and Lease Receivable 1,698,141 1,682,637 1,630,970 1,574,364 1,517,249 Premises and Equipment, Net 29,280 27,092 27,577 27,014 15,114 Accrued Interest Receivable 8,025 7,513 7,957 7,054 8,223 Other Equity Securities 12,565 12,697 11,717 8,508 9,282 Other Real Estate Owned 4,036 2,326 2,324 1,683 1,909 Cash Value of Life Insurance 32,568 32,398 32,223 32,050 31,882 Deferred Taxes, Net 2,145 2,674 2,527 3,077 3,848 Goodwill 48,495 48,333 48,503 49,534 49,488 Core Deposit Intangible 6,694 6,916 7,139 7,655 7,885 Other Assets 2,699 2,706 2,395 2,887 2,534 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Total Assets $ 2,273,835 $ 2,220,840 $ 2,153,608 $ 2,101,400 $ 2,094,896 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Liabilities Deposits: Noninterest-Bearing $ 398,847 $ 406,146 $ 394,848 $ 396,775 $ 382,354 Interest-Bearing 1,383,163 1,327,244 1,308,054 1,347,608 1,351,580 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Total Deposits 1,782,010 1,733,390 1,702,902 1,744,383 1,733,934 Securities Sold Under Agreements to 67,989 31,037 16,096 11,070 12,229 Repurchase Subordinated Debt 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 25,000 Federal Home Loan Bank Borrowings 93,000 128,000 108,000 30,000 55,000 Accrued Interest Payable 1,533 1,837 1,924 2,039 1,374 Other Liabilities 19,206 21,236 22,217 19,764 7,301 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Total Liabilities 1,988,738 1,940,500 1,876,139 1,832,256 1,834,838 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Shareholders’ Equity Common Stock 13,279 13,275 13,361 13,361 13,213 Additional Paid-In Capital 212,505 212,104 213,823 213,537 212,332 Retained Earnings 56,700 52,265 48,087 42,576 37,982 Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss 2,613 2,696 2,198 (330 ) (3,469 ) - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Total Shareholders’ Equity 285,097 280,340 277,469 269,144 260,058 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Total Liabilities and Shareholders’ $ 2,273,835 $ 2,220,840 $ 2,153,608 $ 2,101,400 $ 2,094,896 Equity - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - - --------- -

Business First Bancshares, Inc. Consolidated Statements of Income (Unaudited) Quarter Year Ended Ended -------- -------- -------- ------------------ December SeptemberJune 30, March December December December 31, 30, 31, 31, 31, 31, (Dollars in thousands) 2019 2019 2019 2019 2018 2019 2018 ------------------------------------------- -------- -------- -------- -------- -------- --------- -------- Interest Income: Interest and Fees on Loans $ 24,732 $ 24,408 $ 23,870 $ 22,423 $ 19,778 $ 95,433 $ 69,780 Interest and Dividends on Securities 1,739 1,783 1,829 1,874 1,611 7,225 5,834 Interest on Federal Funds Sold and Due From 193 129 197 290 164 809 581 Banks - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------ Total Interest Income 26,664 26,320 25,896 24,587 21,553 103,467 76,195 - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------ Interest Expense: Interest on Deposits 4,908 5,050 5,038 4,757 3,853 19,753 11,833 Interest on Borrowings 1,129 1,012 665 710 583 3,516 2,133 - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------ Total Interest Expense 6,037 6,062 5,703 5,467 4,436 23,269 13,966 - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------ Net Interest Income 20,627 20,258 20,193 19,120 17,117 80,198 62,229 Provision for Loan Losses 192 479 1,302 633 939 2,606 2,390 - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------ Net Interest Income After Provision for 20,435 19,779 18,891 18,487 16,178 77,592 59,839 Loan Losses Other Income: Service Charges on Deposit Accounts 1,028 1,035 1,034 938 869 4,035 2,810 Gain (Loss) on Sales of Securities 22 26 58 - 7 106 7 Other Income 1,206 861 3,127 1,373 1,615 6,567 4,962 - ------ Total Other Income 2,256 1,922 4,219 2,311 2,491 10,708 7,779 - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------ Other Expenses: Salaries and Employee Benefits 9,025 8,793 8,756 8,552 7,444 35,126 27,862 Occupancy and Equipment Expense 1,715 2,135 1,884 1,894 1,523 7,628 5,865 Other Expenses 4,463 3,950 3,937 3,344 5,442 15,694 16,521 - ------ Total Other Expenses 15,203 14,878 14,577 13,790 14,409 58,448 50,248 - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------ Income Before Income Taxes 7,488 6,823 8,533 7,008 4,260 - 29,852 17,370 Provision for Income Taxes 1,729 1,312 1,690 1,349 815 6,080 3,279 - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------ Net Income $ 5,759 $ 5,511 $ 6,843 $ 5,659 $ 3,445 $ 23,772 $ 14,091 - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------ - ------- - ------

Business First Bancshares, Inc. Consolidated Net Interest Margin (Unaudited) Quarter Ended December 31, 2019 September 30, 2019 December 31, 2018 ----------------------------- ----------------------------- ----------------------------- Average Average Average Outstanding Interest Average Outstanding Interest Average Outstanding Interest Average Earned / Earned / Earned / (Dollars in Balance Interest Yield Balance Interest Yield Balance Interest Yield thousands) Paid / Rate Paid / Rate Paid / Rate ------------------- ------------- -------- ------ ------------- -------- ------ ------------- -------- ------ Assets Interest-Earning Assets Total Loans $ 1,698,947 $ 24,732 5.82 % $ 1,664,283 $ 24,408 5.87 % $ 1,383,526 $ 19,778 5.72 % Securities 290,034 1,739 2.40 % 297,121 1,783 2.40 % 270,511 1,611 2.38 % Available for Sale Interest-Bearing Deposit in Other 31,648 193 2.44 % 16,070 129 3.21 % 27,203 164 2.41 % Banks - --------- - - ------ - --------- - - ------ - --------- - - ------ ---- - Total Interest-Earning 2,020,629 26,664 5.28 % 1,977,474 26,320 5.32 % 1,681,240 21,553 5.13 % Assets Allowance for Loan (12,174 ) (11,783 ) (10,451 ) Losses Noninterest-Earning 200,727 191,068 156,809 Assets Total Assets $ 2,209,182 $ 26,664 $ 2,156,759 $ 26,320 $ 1,827,598 $ 21,553 - --------- - - ------ - --------- - - ------ - --------- - - ------ Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity Interest-Bearing Liabilities Interest-Bearing $ 1,295,791 $ 4,908 1.52 % $ 1,300,740 $ 5,050 1.55 % $ 1,138,786 $ 3,853 1.35 % Deposits Subordinated Debt 25,000 422 6.75 % 25,000 422 6.75 % 8,333 69 3.31 % Advances from Federal Home Loan 96,763 516 2.13 % 105,588 560 2.12 % 82,419 462 2.24 % Bank (“FHLB”) Other Borrowings 67,087 191 1.14 % 23,718 30 0.51 % 11,466 52 1.81 % - --------- - ---- - - --------- - ---- - - --------- - ---- - Total Interest-Bearing 1,484,641 6,037 1.63 % 1,455,046 6,062 1.67 % 1,241,004 4,436 1.43 % Liabilities - --------- - - ------ ---- - - --------- - - ------ ---- - - --------- - - ------ ---- - Noninterest-Bearing Liabilities Noninterest-Bearing $ 419,231 398,748 349,915 Deposits Other Liabilities 23,721 24,937 8,183 - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Total Noninterest-Bearing 442,952 423,685 358,098 Liabilities Shareholders’ 281,589 278,028 228,496 Equity Total Liabilities and Shareholders’ $ 2,209,182 $ 2,156,759 $ 1,827,598 Equity - --------- - - --------- - - --------- - Net Interest Spread 3.65 % 3.66 % 3.70 % Net Interest Income $ 20,627 $ 20,258 $ 17,117 - ------ - ------ - ------ Net Interest Margin 4.08 % 4.10 % 4.07 % Overall Cost of 1.27 % 1.31 % 1.12 % Funds NOTE: Average outstanding balances are determined utilizing monthly averages and average yield/rate is calculated utilizing a 30/360 day count convention.

Business First Bancshares, Inc. Consolidated Net Interest Margin (Unaudited) For the Year Ended December 31, ------------------------------------------------------------- 2019 2018 ------------------------------ ----------------------------- Average Average Outstanding Interest Average Outstanding Interest Average Earned / Earned / (Dollars in thousands) Balance Interest Yield Balance Interest Yield Paid / Rate Paid / Rate --------------------------------------------- ------------- --------- ------ ------------- -------- ------ Assets Interest-Earning Assets Total Loans $ 1,628,803 $ 95,433 5.86 % $ 1,258,178 $ 69,780 5.55 % Securities Available for Sale 300,038 7,225 2.41 % 258,153 5,834 2.26 % Interest-Bearing Deposit in Other Banks 27,878 809 2.90 % 31,475 581 1.85 % - --------- - - ------- ---- - - --------- - - ------ ---- - Total Interest-Earning Assets 1,956,719 103,467 5.29 % 1,547,806 76,195 4.92 % Allowance for Loan Losses (11,762 ) (9,749 ) Noninterest-Earning Assets 191,124 144,120 Total Assets $ 2,136,081 $ 103,467 $ 1,682,177 $ 76,195 - --------- - - ------- - --------- - - ------ Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity Interest-Bearing Liabilities Interest-Bearing Deposits $ 1,316,896 $ 19,753 1.50 % $ 1,051,932 $ 11,833 1.12 % Subordinated Debt 25,000 1,688 6.75 % 2,083 69 3.31 % Advances from Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) 69,183 1,581 2.29 % 84,187 1,849 2.20 % Other Borrowings 29,419 247 0.84 % 17,766 215 1.21 % - --------- - ---- - - --------- - ---- - Total Interest-Bearing Liabilities 1,440,498 23,269 1.62 % 1,155,968 13,966 1.21 % - --------- - - ------- ---- - - --------- - - ------ ---- - Noninterest-Bearing Liabilities Noninterest-Bearing Deposits 402,147 319,623 Other Liabilities 20,231 6,393 - --------- - - --------- - Total Noninterest-Bearing Liabilities 422,378 326,016 Shareholders’ Equity 273,205 200,193 Total Liabilities and Shareholders’ Equity $ 2,136,081 $ 1,682,177 - --------- - - --------- - Net Interest Spread 3.67 % 3.71 % Net Interest Income $ 80,198 $ 62,229 - ------- - ------ Net Interest Margin 4.10 % 4.02 % Overall Cost of Funds 1.26 % 0.95 % NOTE: Average outstanding balances are determined utilizing monthly averages and average yield/rate is calculated utilizing a 30/360 day count convention.

Business First Bancshares, Inc. Non-GAAP Measures (Unaudited) December 31, September 30, June 30, March 31, December 31, (Dollars in thousands, except per 2019 2019 2019 2019 2018 share data) ---------------------------------- - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - Tangible Common Equity Total Shareholders’ Equity $ 285,097 $ 280,340 $ 277,469 $ 269,144 $ 260,058 Adjustments: Goodwill (48,495 ) (48,333 ) (48,503 ) (49,534 ) (49,488 ) Core Deposit Intangible (6,694 ) (6,916 ) (7,139 ) (7,655 ) (7,885 ) Total Tangible Common Equity $ 229,908 $ 225,091 $ 221,827 $ 211,955 $ 202,685 - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - Tangible Assets Total Assets $ 2,273,835 $ 2,220,840 $ 2,153,608 $ 2,101,400 $ 2,094,896 Adjustments: Goodwill (48,495 ) (48,333 ) (48,503 ) (49,534 ) (49,488 ) Core Deposit Intangible (6,694 ) (6,916 ) (7,139 ) (7,655 ) (7,885 ) Total Tangible Assets $ 2,218,646 $ 2,165,591 $ 2,097,966 $ 2,044,211 $ 2,037,523 - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - Common Shares Outstanding 13,279,363 13,274,823 13,361,482 13,361,482 13,213,280 Book Value per Common Share $ 21.47 $ 21.12 $ 20.77 $ 20.14 $ 19.68 Tangible Book Value per Common $ 17.31 $ 16.96 $ 16.60 $ 15.86 $ 15.34 Share Common Equity to Total Assets 12.54 % 12.62 % 12.88 % 12.81 % 12.41 % Tangible Common Equity to Tangible 10.36 % 10.39 % 10.57 % 10.37 % 9.95 % Assets

Business First Bancshares, Inc. Non-GAAP Measures (Unaudited) Quarter Ended Year Ended -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ----------------------------- December 31, September 30, June 30, March 31, December 31, December 31, December 31, (Dollars in thousands, 2019 2019 2019 2019 2018 2019 2018 except per share data) ---------------------- - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - Core Net Income Net Income $ 5,759 $ 5,511 $ 6,843 $ 5,659 $ 3,445 $ 23,772 $ 14,091 Adjustments: (1) Noninterest Income Sale of Impaired - - (91 ) - (87 ) (91 ) (87 ) Credit Tax Impact - - 19 - 18 19 18 (Gains) Losses on Former Bank Premises 125 594 - - (494 ) 719 (355 ) and Equipment Tax Impact (26 ) (125 ) - - 104 (151 ) 75 (Gains) Losses on Sale (22 ) (26 ) (58 ) - (7 ) (106 ) (7 ) of Securities Tax Impact 5 5 12 - 1 22 1 (Gains) Losses on Sale - 12 (593 ) - - (581 ) - of Banking Center Tax Impact 216 (3 ) 125 - - 338 - Noninterest Expense Early Lease - 87 - - - 87 - Termination Penalty Tax Impact - (18 ) - - - (18 ) - Employee Share Awards - - - - - - 118 – NASDAQ Listing Tax Impact - - - - - - (25 ) Acquisition-Related 76 288 436 (50 ) 2,132 750 3,568 Expenses (2) Tax Impact (11 ) (60 ) (91 ) 16 (410 ) (147 ) (623 ) Core Net Income $ 6,121 $ 6,265 $ 6,602 $ 5,625 $ 4,702 $ 24,614 $ 16,774 - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - Average Common Shares 13,277,968 13,315,351 13,361,482 13,287,560 12,099,659 13,310,577 11,124,585 Outstanding Average Diluted Shares 13,638,168 13,669,370 13,740,937 13,653,125 12,521,017 13,670,777 11,545,943 Outstanding Earnings per Share - $ 0.43 $ 0.41 $ 0.51 $ 0.43 $ 0.28 $ 1.79 $ 1.27 Basic Earnings per Share - $ 0.42 $ 0.40 $ 0.50 $ 0.41 $ 0.28 $ 1.74 $ 1.22 Diluted Core Earnings per $ 0.46 $ 0.47 $ 0.49 $ 0.42 $ 0.39 $ 1.85 $ 1.51 Share – Basic Core Earnings per $ 0.45 $ 0.46 $ 0.48 $ 0.41 $ 0.38 $ 1.80 $ 1.45 Share – Diluted Total Quarterly/Year-to-Date $ 2,209,182 $ 2,156,759 $ 2,102,692 $ 2,075,683 $ 1,827,598 $ 2,136,081 $ 1,682,177 Average Assets Total Quarterly/Year-to-Date $ 281,589 $ 278,028 $ 270,262 $ 262,681 $ 228,496 $ 273,205 $ 200,193 Average Equity Return on Average 1.04 % 1.02 % 1.30 % 1.09 % 0.75 % 1.11 % 0.84 % Assets Return on Average 8.18 % 7.93 % 10.13 % 8.62 % 6.03 % 8.70 % 7.04 % Equity Core Return on Average 1.11 % 1.16 % 1.26 % 1.08 % 1.03 % 1.15 % 1.00 % Assets Core Return on Average 8.69 % 9.01 % 9.77 % 8.57 % 8.23 % 9.01 % 8.38 % Equity Core Efficiency Ratio Noninterest Expense 15,203 14,878 14,577 13,790 14,409 58,448 50,248 Core Adjustments (76 ) (375 ) (436 ) 50 (2,132 ) (837 ) (3,686 ) Net Interest and 22,861 22,154 24,354 21,431 19,601 90,800 70,001 Noninterest Income (3) Core Adjustments 125 606 (684 ) - (581 ) 47 (442 ) Efficiency Ratio 66.50 % 67.16 % 59.85 % 64.35 % 73.51 % 64.37 % 71.78 % Core Efficiency Ratio 65.81 % 63.72 % 59.74 % 64.58 % 64.55 % 63.42 % 66.94 % Net Interest Income Net Interest Income $ 20,627 $ 20,258 $ 20,193 $ 19,120 $ 17,117 $ 80,198 $ 62,229 Adjustments: Loan Discount (800 ) (544 ) (826 ) (432 ) (283 ) (2,602 ) (1,278 ) Accretion Net Interest Income Excluding Loan $ 19,827 $ 19,714 $ 19,367 $ 18,688 $ 16,834 $ 77,596 $ 60,951 Discount Accretion - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - - ---------- - Total Average Interest-Earnings $ 2,020,629 $ 1,977,474 $ 1,929,035 $ 1,904,870 $ 1,681,240 $ 1,956,719 $ 1,547,806 Assets Net Interest Margin 4.08 % 4.10 % 4.19 % 4.01 % 4.07 % 4.10 % 4.02 % (4) Net Interest Margin Excluding Loan 3.92 % 3.99 % 4.02 % 3.92 % 4.01 % 3.97 % 3.94 % Discount Accretion (4) Net Interest Spread 3.65 % 3.66 % 3.75 % 3.61 % 3.70 % 3.67 % 3.71 % Net Interest Spread Excluding Loan 3.49 % 3.55 % 3.58 % 3.52 % 3.63 % 3.54 % 3.63 % Discount Accretion (1) Tax rates, exclusive of certain nondeductible merger-related expenses and goodwill, utilized were 21% for 2019 and 2018. These rates approximated the marginal tax rates. (2) Includes merger and conversion-related expenses and salary and employee benefits. (3) Excludes gains/losses on sales of securities. (4) Calculated utilizing a 30/360 day count convention.

Misty Albrechtb1BANK225.286.7879Misty.Albrecht@b1BANK.com