Business News: Week of July 28, 2014

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Westamerica Bancorporation (Nasdaq:WABC), parent company of Westamerica Bank, reported net income for the second quarter, ended June 30, of $15.2 million and diluted earnings per common share of 58 cents. That's down 0.6 percent from net income of $15.3 million, or 58 cents a share, for the prior quarter, and down 11.1 percent from $17.1 million, or 64 cents a share, for the second quarter of 2013. The company reported that the bank's credit quality remained sound, with nonperforming assets totaling $30 million on June 30, essentially unchanged from March 31. Net loan losses remained below $1 million for the second consecutive quarter, reflecting the improved quality of the loan portfolio, the bancorp reported. Net interest margin was 3.76 percent in the second quarter, down from 3.83 percent in the first quarter. Low market interest rates continued to pressure net interest margin, particularly yields on the investment securities portfolio where they are purchasing shorter-duration, lower-yielding securities to prepare for rising interest rates, the company said. The bank is focusing on managing operating costs to be efficient. Second-quarter earnings delivered a relatively high annualized return on common equity of 11.6 percent for our shareholders. The bancorp paid a 38 cent-a-share dividend during the quarter.

Willow Creek Wealth Management, with offices in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa, has been recognized as one of the best registered independent advisory firms in the U.S. The United Kingdom-based business newspaper Financial Times listed the best U.S. advisers based on research of more than 2,000 firms. Willow Creek was the only independent wealth management firm to be recognized in California north of the Golden Gate. It was one of 33 firms statewide and 300 firms nationwide to receive this rating. The newspaper noted the growth in the investment advisory field due to the transition of millions of baby boomers into retirement and the growing complexity of investing. The criteria for the paper's ranking included assets under management, growth of managed assets, tenure in business, compliance record, industry certification and online accessibility. Willow Creek celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

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