HTLF reports strong 2nd quarter, predicts continued success

A Dubuque-based financial institution on Monday reported strong second-quarter earnings and forecast continued success for the remainder of the year.

HTLF, formerly known as Heartland Financial USA, reported net income of $59.6 million for the quarter ending June 30. That was an increase of 98% compared to the same quarter the prior year.

Net income through the year’s first six months was $110.4 million, up from $50.2 million over the first half of the previous year.

Company officials on Monday outlined how operations are slowly returning to a new sense of normalcy following major disruptions associated with COVID-19.

President and CEO Bruce Lee noted that HTLF employees returned to the office in early July. Many employees are working a hybrid schedule, which allows them to spend some days in the office and others working from home.

“There is an energy to serve our customers and communities that we are experiencing in person again,” said Lee.

The pandemic also accelerated changes in consumer behavior, with more clients embracing digital channels, and the use of traditional banking locations waning as a result.

“Based on changes in customer behavior, including increased adoption of digital channels, we will continue to optimize our branch network,” Lee said. “We expect a further reduction in our branch network of 10%.”

Heartland’s total assets continued to climb and stood at $18.37 billion at the end of the second quarter. That marks an increase of $462.7 million, or about 3%, compared to the end of 2020.

Executive Operating Chairman Lynn Fuller indicated that HTLF will continue to pursue growth through mergers and acquisitions.

“We continue to have a very deep pipeline of acquisition opportunities across our footprint, with a number of active opportunities currently in process,” he said.

Officials acknowledged that the company faces some challenges as it moves past the midway mark of 2021. These include supply-chain issues, inflation and the threats posed by new COVID-19 variants.

“There are some headwinds,” Lee said. “But they are speed bumps, not stop signs.”

He also acknowledged that the company, like many others, faces workforce challenges.

HTLF and its subsidiary banks currently have about 180 job openings across their national footprint, which spans a dozen states.

The company is looking to fill more than 70 positions in Dubuque, with 57 openings tied to HTLF and around 15 more associated with Dubuque Bank & Trust. Between its corporate presence and DB&T, HTLF currently has around 550 employees in Dubuque.

HTLF, formerly Heartland Financial, changed its branding in early 2021. The new moniker reflects the four-letter combination that has served as the company’s stock ticker symbol since 1981.