Most banks serving Sacramento region see solid profits, improved loan climate

Published: Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 - 10:34 am

An improving loan climate enabled most banks serving the Sacramento region to post solid profits in 2013, but bank officials said a competitive marketplace and a sluggish economic recovery make for tough going throughout Northern California.

Among those putting up strong calendar 2013 earnings was Dixon-based First Northern Community Bancorp, parent of First Northern Bank. The banking company reported net income of $5.4 million for 2013, up more than 17 percent from $4.6 million in 2012. Net income for the quarter ending Dec. 31 was $1.2 million, compared with $1.1 million a year ago.

Louise Walker, president and CEO, noted that “the year was certainly not without its challenges,” including intense competition for loans.

First Northern oversees 10 offices, including in Sacramento and West Sacramento.

Other bank results for the most recent quarter:

• Folsom-based Sierra Vista Bank, which has branches in Folsom and Cameron Park, had its best year since opening in 2007, thanks to a one-time accounting adjustment to its deferred tax valuation allowance of approximately $4 million.

That helped push 2013 net income to $4.69 million, or $1.25 a share, a dramatic improvement over a loss of $485,000, or 20 cents a share, in 2012. Core earnings, not figuring in the tax adjustment, totaled $671,000 in 2013. Total assets grew $23 million to $101.7 million year over year, and deposits grew $17.6 million in 2013 to $83.6 million.

• Placerville-based El Dorado Savings Bank, which operates 32 branches in California and three in northern Nevada, reported a profit of $9.83 million for all of 2013, up 9 percent from $9.02 million in 2012. Fourth quarter 2013 net income totaled $3.68 million, up sharply from $2.8 million in 2012.

“Stronger loan volume and higher interest rates on new investments contributed to profitability,” said CEO George L. Cook Jr.

• Sacramento-based River City Bank had net income of $11.5 million for 2013, a slight decrease from a profit of $11.7 million in 2012.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, the bank amassed profits of $3.1 million, or $2.19 per share, down from $3.4 million, or $2.35 a share, in the prior year. The bank said total gross loans increased by about $80 million year-over-year, to $710 million as of Dec. 31.

• Auburn-based Community 1st Bank, which also has a Roseville branch and recently opened a new loan office in Sacramento, amassed profits of $1.9 million for all of 2013. The bank reported net income of $1 million in the fourth quarter alone, partly the result of a $900,000 tax benefit.

Community 1st said loans totaled $116.4 million as of Dec. 31, up from $87.1 million the prior year.

• Fresno-based Central Valley Community Bancorp, parent of Central Valley Community Bank, amassed record net income of $8.25 million, or 77 cents a share, last year. That was up from $7.52 million, or 75 cents a share, in 2012. The banking firm has 21 branches, including one in Sacramento.

The 34-year-old banking firm, which last year acquired Visalia Community Bank and added four new branches in Tulare County, cited year-over-year increases in net interest and non-interest income and a reduced provision for credit losses in 2013.

• Chico-based Tri Counties Bank and Redding-based North Valley Bank, which recently announced an agreement to merge, reported positive results to close out 2013.

TriCo Bancshares, parent of Tri Counties Bank, had a profit of $5.23 million, or 32 cents a share, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, up from $4.72 million, or 29 cents a share, the prior year. Net income for all of 2013 was $27.39 million, or $1.69 a share, up from $18.94 million, or $1.18 a share, in 2012.

North Valley Bancorp, holding company for North Valley Bank, reported net $3.62 million, or 53 cents a share, for the year, a sharp drop from $6.29 million, or 92 cents a share, in 2012. Fourth-quarter profit totaled $890,000, or 13 cents a share, up from $545,000, or 8 cents a share, in the last quarter of 2012.

There are about a dozen Tri Counties Bank branches in the Sacramento region. North Valley has commercial bank offices throughout the region, including Placer and Yolo counties. Under terms of the announced merger agreement, North Valley banks will carry the Tri Counties name and their shareholders will receive proportional shares of TriCo Bancshares stock. The merger is expected to be completed by midyear.

Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

Read more articles by Mark Glover

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