The parent company of Santa-Rosa based Exchange Bank (EXSR) on Tuesday reported first-quarter profits that were higher than at year-end but below earnings from a year ago, a dip attributed to real estate sales.

Earnings in the first quarter, ended in March, were $9.07 million, up slightly from $9.01 million in the fourth quarter but down 18.3% from $11.1 million in the first quarter of 2018. That was the result of property transactions last year, according to a statement released with the report.

“During the first quarter of 2018, the Bank successfully completed the disposition of other real estate held for sale, which contributed pretax gains of approximately $3.25 million. The Bank recognized no such gain on sale of [other real estate owned] in the first quarter of 2019,” the statement said.

The bank’s net interest income increased about 8% over 12 months to $24.1 million in the opening quarter of this year. That growth was thanks largely to rising interest rates during that time, the bank said.

A noticeable change on the balance sheet was an $82.8 million decline in client deposits, down 3.41% to $2.345 billion. Bank deposits swelled in the months after the massive October 2017 wildfires, as insurance payments came in for homes and other property lost.

"As the rebuild efforts have continued to accelerate, those clients have had the opportunity to utilize cash reserves from their insurance proceeds held at the Bank to rebuild or relocate their primary residence," the bank announcement said. "The Bank expects this trend of deposits utilized to support the rebuild efforts to continue throughout 2019."

In March the bank paid a quarterly cash dividend of $1.05 per share on common stock. Fifty-five percent of that dividend goes to the Doyle Trust, which funds scholarships at Santa Rosa Junior College. The trust was established by bank co-founder Frank Doyle.

The first quarter this year also saw Exchange Bank expand with its acquisition of the trust department of First Northern Bank of Dixon.

Assets totaled $2.63 billion for Exchange Bank at the end of last quarter, down 1.54% from a year before.