Banking: Earnings rise at Exchange Bank

Exchange Bank announced its after-tax income for the first three months this year was 9 percent higher than a year before, partly attributed to improvements in efficiency and loan quality.

The bank announced $3.21 million in net income for the period. The loan-loss provision, $1.45 million, declined 47.3 percent from the same period in 2012, and expenses decreased by 5.4 percent.

Citing soft demand for new loans, the bank announced a $30 million decline in its overall portfolio and an 11 percent reduction in net interest income for the first quarter of 2013. Yet while both consumer and commercial loans had declined, real estate loans -- representing 67.8 percent of the bank's loan portfolio by dollar volume-- increased 1.8 percent.

Exchange Bank paid a quarterly cash dividend of 25 cents per share to common shareholders on March 22. It was the third since the bank reinstated its quarterly dividend.

That most recent dividend amounts to a payment of more than $218,500 to the Frank P. Doyle and Polly O’Meara Doyle Trust that administers the Doyle Scholarship at Santa Rosa Junior College, which owns 51 percent of the bank's common stock.

Diluted earnings per share for the period were equivalent to $1.68, up from $1.38 during the same three months last year.

The price of the bank's stock (EXSR) was unchanged Wednesday at $62.25 a share.***

A low interest rate environment a fierce competition for loans was cited for a decline in first quarter earnings for San Rafael-based Westamerica Bank, with parent company Westamerica Bancorporation announcing net income had fallen 17.6 percent versus the same period last year.

Those earnings were equivalent to 64 cents per common share, versus 75 cents in the first three months of 2012.

The bank reduced its expenses by 4.5 percent comparing the two quarters, and executives noted that the bank continues to produce returns in a challenging environment. Credit quality continues to improve, with a 31 percent decline in the volume of problem loans and repossessed loan collateral from March 31 of 2012 to the same time this year.

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