Mixed quarterly results reported for banks serving Sacramento area

Published: Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 6B

Banks serving the Sacramento region are reporting mixed results for the third quarter, but some are prospering significantly amid what they say is an improved loan environment.

Since 2008, many regional banks have labored to reduce loan-loss provisions, made common stock offerings and instituted belt-tightening measures to get back on more-solid financial footing.

Bank officials say the general loan environment has improved, but low interest rates have hampered their ability to substantially boost profits.

Some, however, are doing quite nicely. That includes Dixon-based First Northern Community Bancorp, holding company for First Northern Bank, which has 10 branches in the area, including in Sacramento and West Sacramento.

First Northern's year-to-date net income is $3.5 million, up 40 percent from $2.5 million in the year-ago period.

"The environment we're operating in continues to be a challenging one," said Louise Walker, president and CEO. "Yet, in spite of the low interest rate environment, sluggish small business loan demand and the need for increased resources focused on ever-changing government regulations, First Northern Community Bancorp's performance has continued to make steady and consistent progress. Assets and deposits are at record levels, and loan totals are up."

Other regional bank results for the most recent quarter included:

• Redding-based North Valley Bancorp, parent of North Valley Bank, reported net income of $5.3 million, or 78 cents a share, compared with a profit of $1.3 million, or 19 cents per share, in 2011.

Through nine months ended Sept. 30, NVB profits totaled more than $7 million, or $1.04 a share, compared with a profit of $2.2 million, or 33 cents a share, in 2011. The bank's loan portfolio increased $18.1 million year over year. NVB operates 24 Northern California commercial bank offices, including in Placer and Yolo counties.

• Low interest rates cut into earnings at El Dorado Savings Bank. The Placerville-based bank reported a quarterly profit of $1.94 million, down 22.5 percent from the same period of 2011.

• Redding-based Bank of Commerce Holdings, parent of Roseville Bank of Commerce, had a third-quarter profit of about $1.5 million, down from $1.7 million in the year-ago period.

• Yuba City-based Bank of Feather River amassed quarterly net income of $270,000, pushing year-to-date profits to $376,000. The nine-month total was up from $335,770 reported in the year-ago period.

• Folsom-based Sierra Vista Bank had a profit of $68,000, or 3 cents a share. That was down from net income of $132,000, or 7 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

• Medford, Ore.-based PremierWest Bancorp, which has struggled with high loan-loss provisions and non-earning real estate assets, said it has a definitive agreement to be acquired by Spokane, Wash.-based AmericanWest Bank.

The deal, which officials hope to wrap up in the first half of 2013, is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

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Read more articles by Mark Glover

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