North Bay Business Journal

Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 10:03 am

Westamerica earnings level in second quarter


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    SAN RAFAEL — Westamerica Bancorporation (Nasdaq: WABC), parent company of San Rafael-based Westamerica Bank, reported a net income of $21 million in the second calendar quarter of 2012, level with earnings in the prior quarter and down slightly from $21.3 million a year before.

    Those earnings, for the three months ending June 30, equaled 75 cents per share, up one cent from the same period in 2011 and level with earnings per share in the prior quarter.

    “Westamerica continues to focus on operating in a low-cost, efficient manner while banking industry revenues are pressured by low interest rates and increased regulation,” President and CEO David Payne said in a statement.

    Nonperforming assets declined from $80.9 million to $79.3 million from the first quarter, and down from $124.1 million at the same time last year.

    The bank said it has worked to eliminate troubled loans in its portfolio. Loan volumes decreased to $2.38 billion from $2.8 billion in the prior year.

    Low market interest rates have driven net interest income down to $50.3 million during the quarter, according to the bank. That income was $55.8 million during the same quarter in 2011.

    The net interest margin for the second quarter was 4.86 percent, down from 5.12 percent in the prior quarter and 5.38 percent during the same period in 2011.

    Operating expenses continued to decline, with an 8.9 percent reduction from the prior year and 2.3 percent reduction since the prior quarter.

    The provision for loan losses was identical to the prior quarter and the same quarter one year ago, at $2.8 million. Net loan losses charged against the allowance for losses were $3.2 million for the quarter, down from $3.5 in the first quarter and $4.1 million one year ago. The allowance for loan losses totaled $31.5 million as of June 30, 2012.

    Westamerica’s tangible common equity ratio was 8.5 percent, with $5 billion in assets.

    “Westamerica’s capital ratios remain at historically high levels,” Mr. Payne said.

    The bank paid a 37 cent dividend per common share in the second quarter, and repurchased 300,000 shares through its share repurchase program.

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