Conference Call Details

Chemical Financial Corporation will host a conference call to discuss its first quarter 2017 operating results on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. ET. Anyone interested may access the conference call on a live basis by dialing toll-free at 1-855-490-5692 and entering 268798 for the conference ID. The call will also be broadcast live over the Internet hosted at Chemical Financial Corporation's website at www.chemicalbank.com under the "Investor Info" section. A copy of the slide-show presentation and an audio replay of the call will remain available on Chemical Financial Corporation's website for at least 14 days.

For further information
David T. Provost, CEO
Dennis Klaeser, CFO
989-839-5350

Chemical Financial Corporation Reports 2017 Second Quarter Cash Dividend 

MIDLAND, Mich., April 26, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Chemical Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:CHFC) today announced that the Board of Directors of the Corporation declared a second quarter 2017 cash dividend on its common stock of $0.27 per share.  The second quarter 2017 dividend will be payable on June 16, 2017, to shareholders of record on June 2, 2017. The ex-dividend date is May 31, 2017.   

Chemical Financial Corporation is the largest banking company headquartered and operating branch offices in Michigan. The Corporation operates through its subsidiary bank, Chemical Bank, with 249 banking offices located primarily in Michigan, northeast Ohio and northern Indiana. At March 31, 2017, the Corporation had total assets of $17.64 billion. Chemical Financial Corporation's common stock trades on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol CHFC and is one of the issuers comprising The NASDAQ Global Select Market and the S&P MidCap 400 Index. More information about the Corporation is available by visiting the investor relations section of its website at www.chemicalbank.com.

Chemical Financial Corporation Reports 2017 First Quarter Operating Results and Conference Call

MIDLAND, MI, April 25, 2017 -- Chemical Financial Corporation ("Corporation" or "Chemical") (NASDAQ:CHFC) today announced 2017 first quarter net income of $47.6 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, compared to 2016 fourth quarter net income of $47.2 million, or $0.66 per diluted share and 2016 first quarter net income of $23.6 million, or $0.60 per diluted share. Excluding transaction expenses and the change in fair value in loan servicing rights ("significant items"), net income in the first quarter of 2017 was $50.7 million, or $0.71 per diluted share, compared to $49.9 million, or $0.70 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $25.3 million, or $0.65 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2016.(1)

            During the first quarter of 2017, significant items included transaction expenses of $4.2 million and a $0.5 million detriment to earnings due to the change in fair value in loan servicing rights, compared to transaction expenses of $18.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, that were partially offset by $7.4 million of net gain on the sale of branches and a $6.3 million gain due to the change in fair value in loan servicing rights. Transaction expenses for the first quarter of 2016 were $2.6 million.

            "We continue to make good progress towards our goal of being the preeminent Midwest Community Bank. Our first quarter 2017 financial results yielded solid underlying operating results. Importantly, we continued to generate strong organic loan growth, exceeding $280 million in the first quarter to bring our total organic loan growth over the past twelve months to more than $1 billion.  During the quarter, we fast-tracked implementation of key infrastructure initiatives including significant risk management and compliance platform upgrades, accelerating the important benefits associated with those initiatives," noted David B. Ramaker, Chief Executive Officer and President of Chemical Financial Corporation. "Our operating expense run rate in the first quarter modestly exceeded expectations and, as a factor that we can control, will continue to be an area of significant focus as we move forward in 2017."

            “We continue to build a great franchise, laying a strong foundation for future growth and enhanced shareholder value.  In addition, the communities and markets we serve provide an attractive economic environment in which Chemical Bank can grow and prosper, and our talented team of bankers continues to capture an increasing share and range of our customers’ financial service needs.”

            The Corporation's return on average assets was 1.09% during both the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 1.02% in the first quarter of 2016. The Corporation's return on average shareholders' equity was 7.4% in both the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 9.3% in the first quarter of 2016. Excluding significant items, the Corporation's return on average assets was 1.16% during both the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 1.09% in the first quarter of 2016 and the Corporation's return on average shareholders' equity was 7.8% in both the first quarter of 2017 and the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to 9.9% in the first quarter of 2016. (2)

                    Net interest income was $130.1 million in the first quarter of 2017, $2.4 million, or 1.8%, lower than the fourth quarter of 2016 and $55.8 million, or 75.0%, higher than the first quarter of 2016. The decrease in net interest income in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 was impacted by there being two less days in the quarter, a decrease in interest accretion from purchase accounting discounts on acquired loans and a reduction in prepayment fees recognized, partially offset by the positive impact of organic loan growth. The increase in net interest income in the first quarter of 2017 over the first quarter of 2016 was primarily attributable to loans acquired in the merger with Talmer Bancorp, Inc. ("Talmer"), although also partially attributable to organic loan growth. The Corporation experienced net organic loan growth of $282.6 million during the first quarter of 2017. The merger with Talmer added $4.88 billion of loans on August 31, 2016.

            The net interest margin was 3.41% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 3.48% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 3.50% in the first quarter of 2016. The net interest margin (on a tax-equivalent basis) was 3.49% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 3.56% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 3.60% in the first quarter of 2016. (3) The decrease in the net interest margin (on a tax-equivalent basis) in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, was largely attributable to lower average yields on the Corporation's loan portfolio resulting from a lower contribution of interest accretion from purchase accounting discounts on acquired loans and a reduction in prepayment fees recognized. Interest accretion from purchase accounting discounts on acquired loans contributed 12 basis points to the Corporation's net interest margin (on a tax-equivalent basis) in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 14 basis points in the fourth quarter of 2016 and three basis points in the first quarter of 2016.

            The provision for loan losses was $4.1 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $6.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $1.5 million in the first quarter of 2016. The decrease in the provision for loan losses in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, was primarily the result of overall credit quality and collateral position improvements, partially offset by organic growth in the loan portfolio. The increase in the provision for loan losses in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the first quarter of 2016, was primarily the result of an increase in organic growth in the loan portfolio.

            Net loan charge-offs were $3.5 million, or 0.11% of average loans, in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $1.8 million, or 0.06% of average loans, in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $4.5 million, or 0.25% of average loans, in the first quarter of 2016. Net loan charge-offs in the first quarter of 2017 included $1.5 million of losses from one commercial loan relationship.

            The Corporation's nonperforming loans totaled $47.8 million at March 31, 2017, compared to $44.3 million  at December 31, 2016 and $53.4 million at March 31, 2016. Nonperforming loans comprised 0.36% of total loans at March 31, 2017, compared to 0.34% at December 31, 2016 and 0.73% at March 31, 2016. The decrease in the percentage of nonperforming loans to total loans at March 31, 2017, compared to March 31, 2016, was primarily due to $4.9 billion of total loans added as a result of the merger with Talmer, as none of these loans are classified as nonperforming after the merger date since they are recorded in loan pools at their estimated net realizable value in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

            At March 31, 2017, the allowance for loan losses of the originated loan portfolio was $78.8 million, or 0.99% of originated loans, compared to $78.3 million, or 1.05% of originated loans, at December 31, 2016 and $70.3 million, or 1.17% of originated loans, at March 31, 2016. The allowance for loan losses of the originated loan portfolio as a percentage of nonperforming loans was 164.7% at March 31, 2017, compared to 176.5% at December 31, 2016 and 131.6% at March 31, 2016. The reduction in allowance for loan losses as a percentage of originated loans primarily reflects overall credit improvement and collateral position improvement on loans individually evaluated for impairment.

            Noninterest income was $38.0 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $54.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $19.4 million in the first quarter of 2016. Noninterest income in the first quarter of 2017 decreased compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 primarily due to the fourth quarter 2016 net gain on the sales of the Chicago, Illinois and Las Vegas, Nevada branches totaling $7.4 million and a $5.3 million decrease in mortgage banking revenue. Mortgage banking revenue included a $519 thousand detriment to earnings due to a change in fair value in loan servicing rights in the first quarter of 2017, compared to a benefit of $6.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. As of January 1, 2017, the Corporation elected to account for loan servicing rights previously accounted for under the lower of cost or fair value method under the fair value measurement method. This change in accounting policy did not impact the income statement retrospectively, but resulted in a positive balance sheet adjustment to retained earnings as of January 1, 2017 in the amount of $3.7 million. Noninterest income in the first quarter of 2017 was higher than the first quarter of 2016 due primarily to incremental revenue resulting from the merger with Talmer.

            Operating expenses were $104.2 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $114.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $58.9 million in the first quarter of 2016. Operating expenses included transaction expenses of $4.2 million in the first quarter of 2017, $18.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $2.6 million in the first quarter of 2016. Excluding these transaction expenses, operating expenses were $100.0 million in the first quarter of 2017 compared to $96.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and $56.3 million in the first quarter of 2016.(4) The increase in operating expenses, excluding transaction expenses, in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the fourth quarter of 2016 was primarily due to increases in credit-related expenses of $2.2 million, mostly due to a reduction in the amount of gains on sales of other real estate, and employee benefits of $2.0 million primarily due to an increase in payroll taxes due to stock option exercises and the beginning of a new tax year. The increase in operating expenses, excluding transaction expenses, in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the first quarter of 2016, was primarily attributable to incremental expenses resulting from the merger with Talmer.

            The effective tax rate was 20.5%  in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 28.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 29.2% in the first quarter of 2016. The decrease in the tax rate for the first quarter of 2017 compared to the prior and year ago quarters was primarily due to the tax benefit received from stock option exercises that occurred in the first quarter 2017 and growth in the Corporation's lending on real estate projects that receive either low income housing or historic tax credits.

            The efficiency ratio is a measure of operating expenses as a percentage of net interest income and noninterest income. The Corporation's efficiency ratio was 62.0% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 61.2% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 62.8% in the first quarter of 2016. The Corporation's adjusted efficiency ratio, which excludes transaction expenses, changes in fair value of the loan servicing portfolio, amortization of intangibles and net gains on sales of branches, closed branch locations and investment securities, was 57.4% in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 53.7% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 57.6% in the first quarter of 2016. (5)

            Total assets were $17.64 billion at March 31, 2017, compared to $17.36 billion at December 31, 2016 and $9.30 billion at March 31, 2016. The increase in total assets during the three months ended March 31, 2017 was primarily attributable to loan growth that was funded by a combination of organic growth in customer deposits and an increase in FHLB advances. The increase in total assets during the twelve months ended March 31, 2017 was primarily attributable to the merger with Talmer in addition to organic loan growth.

            Total loans were $13.27 billion at March 31, 2017, an increase of $282.6 million, or 2.2%, from total loans of $12.99 billion at December 31, 2016 and an increase of $5.91 billion, or 80.2%, from total loans of $7.37 billion at March 31, 2016. The Corporation experienced organic loan growth of $282.6 million during the first quarter of 2017 and $1.02 billion during the twelve months ended March 31, 2017. The Corporation added $4.88 billion of loans as part of the merger with Talmer on August 31, 2016.

            Total deposits were $13.13 billion at March 31, 2017, compared to $12.87 billion at December 31, 2016 and $7.65 billion at March 31, 2016. The Corporation experienced organic growth in customer deposits of $259.2 million during the first quarter of 2017. The Corporation added $5.29 billion of deposits as part of the merger with Talmer, including $403.2 million of brokered deposits. The Corporation reduced the balance of brokered deposits by $318.5 million during the period of September 30, 2016 to March 31, 2017.

            Securities sold under agreements to repurchase with customers were $398.9 million at March 31, 2017, compared to $343.0 million at December 31, 2016 and $283.4 million at March 31, 2016. Short-term borrowings were $900.0 million at March 31, 2017 and $825.0 million at December 31, 2016 and consisted of short-term FHLB advances utilized by the Corporation to fund short-term liquidity needs. Long-term borrowings were $490.9 million at March 31, 2017, compared to $597.8 million at December 31, 2016 and $273.7 million at March 31, 2016.

            The Corporation's shareholders' equity to total assets ratio was 14.7% at March 31, 2017, compared to 14.9% at December 31, 2016 and 11.1% at March 31, 2016. The Corporation's tangible equity to tangible assets ratio and total risk-based capital ratio were 8.8% and 11.4% (estimated), respectively, at March 31, 2017 compared to 8.8% and 11.5%, respectively, at December 31, 2016 and 8.2% and 11.5%, respectively, at March 31, 2016. (6) The Corporation's book value was $36.56 per share at March 31, 2017, compared to $36.57 per share at December 31, 2016 and $26.99 per share at March 31, 2016. The Corporation's tangible book value was $20.32 per share at March 31, 2017, compared to $20.20 per share at December 31, 2016 and $19.20 per share at March 31, 2016. (7)

(1) Net income, excluding significant items, and diluted earnings per share, excluding significant items, are non-GAAP financial measures. Please refer to the section entitled “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in this press release and to the financial tables entitled “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures.

(2) Return on average assets, excluding significant items, and return on average shareholders’ equity, excluding significant items, are non-GAAP financial measures. Please refer to the section entitled “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in this press release and to the financial tables entitled “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures.

(3) Net interest margin, on a tax equivalent basis, is a non-GAAP financial measure. Please refer to the section entitled “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in this press release and to the financial tables entitled “Average Balances, Fully Tax Equivalent (FTE) Interest and Effective Yields and Rates” for a reconciliation of net interest income used to compute net interest margin on a tax equivalent basis to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

(4) Operating expenses excluding transaction expenses is a non-GAAP financial measure.

(5) Adjusted efficiency ratio is a non-GAAP financial measure. Please refer to the section entitled “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in this press release and to the financial tables entitled “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

(6) Tangible equity to tangible assets ratio is a non-GAAP financial measure. Please refer to the section entitled “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in this press release and to the financial tables entitled “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

(7) Tangible book value per share is a non-GAAP financial measure. Please refer to the section entitled “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” in this press release and to the financial tables entitled “Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

Conference Call Details

            Chemical Financial Corporation will host a conference call to discuss its first quarter 2017 operating results on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. ET. Anyone interested may access the conference call on a live basis by dialing toll-free at 1-855-490-5692 and entering 268798 for the conference ID. The call will also be broadcast live over the Internet hosted at Chemical Financial Corporation's website at www.chemicalbank.com under the "Investor Info" section. A copy of the slide-show presentation and an audio replay of the call will remain available on Chemical Financial Corporation's website for at least 14 days.

About Chemical Financial Corporation

            Chemical Financial Corporation is the largest banking company headquartered and operating branch offices in Michigan. The Corporation operates through its subsidiary bank, Chemical Bank, with 249 banking offices located primarily in Michigan, northeast Ohio and northern Indiana. At March 31, 2017, the Corporation had total assets of $17.64 billion. Chemical Financial Corporation's common stock trades on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol CHFC and is one of the issuers comprising The NASDAQ Global Select Market and the S&P MidCap 400 Index. More information about the Corporation is available by visiting the investor relations section of its website at www.chemicalbank.com.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

            This press release contains references to financial measures which are not defined in generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). Such non-GAAP financial measures include the Corporation's tangible equity to tangible assets ratio, tangible book value per share, presentation of net interest income and net interest margin on a fully taxable equivalent (FTE) basis, and information presented excluding transaction expenses or significant items, including net income, diluted earnings per share, return on average assets, return on average shareholders' equity, operating expenses and the efficiency ratio. These non-GAAP financial measures have been included as the Corporation believes they are helpful for investors to analyze and evaluate the Corporation's financial condition. Reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure may be found in the financial tables included with this press release.

Forward-Looking Statements

            This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on management's beliefs, assumptions, current expectations, estimates and projections about the financial services industry, the economy and the Corporation. Words and phrases such as "anticipates," "believes," "continue," "estimates," "expects," "forecasts," "future," "intends," "is likely," "judgment," "look ahead," "look forward," "on schedule," "opinion," "opportunity," "plans," "potential," "predicts," "probable," "projects," "should," "strategic," "trend," "will," and variations of such words and phrases or similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Such statements are based upon current beliefs and expectations and involve substantial risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These statements include, among others, statements related to future levels of loan charge-offs, future levels of provisions for loan losses, real estate valuation, future levels of nonperforming assets, the rate of asset dispositions, future capital levels, future dividends, future growth and funding sources, future liquidity levels, future profitability levels, future deposit insurance premiums, future asset levels, the effects on earnings of future changes in interest rates, the future level of other revenue sources, future economic trends and conditions, future initiatives to expand the Corporation’s market share, expected performance and cash flows from acquired loans, future effects of new or changed accounting standards, future opportunities for acquisitions, opportunities to increase top line revenues, the Corporation’s ability to grow its core franchise, future cost savings and the Corporation’s ability to maintain adequate liquidity and capital based on the requirements adopted by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and U.S. regulators. All statements referencing future time periods are forward-looking.

            Management's determination of the provision and allowance for loan losses; the carrying value of acquired loans, goodwill and mortgage servicing rights; the fair value of investment securities (including whether any impairment on any investment security is temporary or other-than-temporary and the amount of any impairment); and management's assumptions concerning pension and other postretirement benefit plans involve judgments that are inherently forward-looking. There can be no assurance that future loan losses will be limited to the amounts estimated. All of the information concerning interest rate sensitivity is forward-looking. The future effect of changes in the financial and credit markets and the national and regional economies on the banking industry, generally, and on the Corporation, specifically, are also inherently uncertain. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions ("risk factors") that are difficult to predict with regard to timing, extent, likelihood and degree of occurrence. Therefore, actual results and outcomes may materially differ from what may be expressed or forecasted in such forward-looking statements. The Corporation undertakes no obligation to update, amend or clarify forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

            Risk factors include, but are not limited to, the risk factors described in Item 1A of Chemical's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016. These and other factors are representative of the risk factors that may emerge and could cause a difference between an ultimate actual outcome and a preceding forward-looking statement.