Commerce Bancshares, Inc. announced record earnings of $3.09 per share in 2006 compared to $3.01 per share in 2005, an increase of 3 percent. Net earnings for 2006 amounted to $219.8 million and compared to $223.2 million in 2005 which included non-recurring tax benefits of $13.7 million or $.18 per share. For the year the return on average assets was 1.54%, the return on average equity was 16.0%, and the efficiency ratio was 60.6%.
For the three months ended December 31, 2006, earnings per share totaled $.80, an increase of 4% compared with $.77 in the fourth quarter of 2005. Net income amounted to $57.0 million compared with $56.2 million in the same period last year. The return on average assets for the three months ended December 31, 2006 was 1.51%, the return on average equity was 15.5%, and the efficiency ratio was 59.1%.
Total assets at December 31, 2006 were $15.2 billion, total loans were $10.0 billion, and total deposits were $11.7 billion. During the quarter, the Company announced plans to acquire South Tulsa Financial Corporation, a one-bank holding company with two branch locations and loans of $107 million and deposits of $101 million. It is expected that this transaction will be completed in the second quarter of 2007. Also during the quarter, the Company purchased approximately 1.1 million shares of its common stock through its treasury stock buyback plan and paid a 5% common stock dividend on December 13, 2006.
Commerce Bancshares, Inc. is a registered bank holding company offering a full line of banking services, including investment management and securities brokerage. The Company currently operates in over 350 locations in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas. The Company also has operating subsidiaries involved in mortgage banking, credit related insurance, venture capital, and real estate activities.