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Great Western Bancorp confident in agriculture sector

Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Great Western Bancorp Inc. executives expect continuedgrowth in its agriculture portfolios and its Arizona and Colorado sectors, theysaid on an earnings call.

The company completed its annual grain portfolio reviewduring the quarter and, while the sector is under stress, bank executives saidApril 28 that they are confident in the long-term outcomes of the agriculturesectors.

More than 70% of grain borrowers reported leverage ratiosthat were lower than 40%, with nearly all borrowers' loan-to-value ratios beingless than or equal to 70%, bank executives said.  

"We're really quite happy with the results, and it'sgood to finally show the market some of the numbers," President and CEOKenneth Karels said.

The bank reported second fiscal quarter net income of $30.7million, or 55 cents per share, compared to net income of $19.7 million, or 34cents per share, for the same quarter of fiscal year 2015. The S&P CapitalIQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the recent quarter was 52 cents.

Great Western also plans to close about five branches and isopening branches in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Waterloo, Iowa, executives said onthe call. They also said that, while all of Great Western's markets aregrowing, Arizona and Colorado are the strongest, with upticks in commercial andindustrial loans, tourism and commercial real estate.