Bank reports improve in Sacramento area

Published: Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 7B

Numerous banks serving the Sacramento region devoted months of post-recession work to getting a handle on bad loans, and quarterly financial reports throughout 2012 indicated that financial institutions were making a comeback.

The first round of full-year 2012 financial reports support that trend, although not every regional bank is awash in profits.

Bank operators seeing year-over-year improvements on the bottom line cited a gradually improving economy and loan climate.

On Thursday, American River Bankshares, parent of Rancho Cordova's American River Bank, reported net income of $3.2 million, 34 cents a share, for 2012. That was up from a profit of $2.5 million, 25 cents a share, in 2011.

In last year's fourth quarter, ARB's net income was $870,000, 9 cents a share, down from $1 million, 10 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

The bank cited a reduction in the provision for loan and lease losses as a primary factor driving profits.

"We were also able to reduce nonperforming assets by 18 percent as well as increase core deposits by 5 percent," said David Taber, ARB president and CEO.

Other bank results in the most recent quarter include:

• Portland, Ore.-based Umpqua Holdings Corp., which oversees more than 20 Umpqua Bank branches in the Sacramento region, reported 2012 net income of $101.2 million, or 90 cents a share, up from $74.1 million, or 65 cents a share in 2011.

In last year's final quarter, Umpqua amassed a profit of $27.8 million, 25 cents a share, compared with net income of $21.3 million, 19 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

"Excellent loan growth, record revenue totals and continued credit quality improvements highlight this quarter's performance," said Ray Davis, president and CEO of Umpqua Holdings.

During last year's fourth quarter, Umpqua completed its acquisition of Circle Bancorp, acquiring assets totaling $318 million and adding six branches in the Bay Area.

• Medford, Ore.-based PremierWest Bancorp, parent of PremierWest Bank, reported a 2012 fourth-quarter loss of $7.3 million, 72 cents a share. That compares with third-quarter net income of $114,000, a penny a share, and a loss of $4.1 million, 41 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

While there were no expenses attributed to loan-loss provisions, the bank reported non-earning real estate and foreclosed asset expenses of $4.6 million in last year's final quarter and a charge of $2.8 million for an updated estimate of liability for post-retirement health insurance benefits.

The net loss for 2012 was $13.9 million, $1.39 a share, compared with a 2011 loss of $17.6 million, $1.76 a share.

PremierWest, which has struggled with high loan-loss provisions and non-earning real estate assets, announced in last year's final quarter that it was in the process of being acquired by Spokane, Wash.-based AmericanWest Bank.

"We continue to make significant reductions in problem assets," said James Ford, PremierWest president and CEO.

Sacramento-area PremierWest branches are in Davis, Elk Grove, Folsom, Galt, Rocklin and Woodland.

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