Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff announced Thursday a fourth quarter earnings report that shows a 53 percent decline from last year’s profit as a result of the bank’s $53.6 million buyout of Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock.

Simmons announced in September, it was the winning bidder after Metropolitan’s holding company, Rogers Bancshares, filed for bankruptcy.

In a conference call following the acquisition in November, Simmons Chairman and CEO George Makris said the deal would result in "significant branch consolidations."

Last week, Simmons announced it has filed applications to close 27 out of 88 branches throughout the state including the former Metropolitan branch at 2400 Donaghey Ave. and the Simmons First National branch at 820 Elsinger Blvd.

A 90-day notice must be given to branch customers; so local branches could not close any earlier than April.

Simmons reported fourth quarter net income of $3.7 million, or 23 cents per share, down from the $8 million, or 48 cents per share, reported during the fourth quarter last year.

Simmons said when the one-time Metropolitan merger related expenses and additional consolidation expenses are factored out; the bank’s core earnings were $7.7 million, or 48 cents per share.

"We are pleased with the core earnings results for the fourth quarter and for the year," Makris said in a statement.

"As a result of our fourth quarter acquisition of Metropolitan National Bank, other recent acquisitions and efficiency initiatives, we have and will continue to recognize one-time revenue and expense items which may skew our short-term business results, but provide long-term performance benefits.

Our focus continues to be improvement in core operating income."

Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at