Return on average equity (ROE) and return on average assets (ROA) were 14.09% and 1.28%, respectively, as compared to 12.77% and 1.17% respectively, for 2020. ROE was 11.2% for the fourth quarter, down from 14.98% from the fourth quarter of 2020. ROA was 1.01% for the fourth quarter, which represents a decrease from 1.34% for the comparable 2020 quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Arrow continued its branch optimization initiative. In November, Saratoga National Bank consolidated two smaller branches into one larger, fully renovated branch in nearby Wilton Square. In December, Glens Falls National Bank consolidated two branches within a mile of each other in Fort Edward, allowing the Team to serve the community from one central, updated location. Throughout the year, a combination or renovation, consolidation, and relocation has allowed them to deliver an enhanced customer experience while streamlining expenses.
On the technology front, the Team prepared a new online account opening platform, which launched earlier this month for Saratoga National Bank and will be followed later in 2022 at Glens Falls National Bank. Work also began in late 2021 on replacing their core technology in preparation for an upgrade this summer.
“Arrow Financial Corporation delivered another year of strong financial results in 2021, with exceptional earnings, strong profitability ratios, and asset growth to a record $4 billion, all while weathering a second year of pandemic-related issues,” said Arrow President and CEO Thomas J. Murphy. “In addition to driving shareholder value in 2021, I am proud to say we advanced many continuous improvement initiatives with key investments in our Team, our branch network, and our technology to position us for the future. Arrow also gave back to the communities it serves through increased charitable support to meet increasing and evolving needs. I commend the Arrow Team for their stellar performance, commitment, and dedication to our company, our customers, and our communities.
In addition to reporting their annual net income and total assets, the Board of Directors of Arrow Financial Corporation have also announced a declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.27 per share payable March 15, 2022, to shareholders of record on March 1, 2022.
This represents a 1-cent increase over the December 2021 cash dividend paid to shareholders and is a 3.8% increase over the cash dividend paid in the fourth quarter of 2021, as a result of the 3% stock dividend distributed on Sept. 24, 2021.
For expanded fourth quarter and 2021 results go online to www.arrowfinancial.com, then click News & Highlights.