Five of areas seven banks report profits first quarter

Published 3:46 pm Friday, May 14, 2010

Only two of the areas seven banks reported losses in the first quarter of 2010.
Since the last quarter of 2009, Mountain 1st Bank returned to profitability, as did Wells Fargo.
Brief summaries of the 1st quarter income statements for the area banks, from smallest to largest, follow:
Mountain 1st Bank
1st Financial Services Corp., parent company of Mountain 1st Bank & Trust, reported on Monday net income of $348,000 for the first quarter of 2010, January through March.
That compares to net income of $375,000 for the same period last year. Total interest income was $7.8 million, $900,000 less than for the prior year as a result of lower average loan balances and lower interest rates, and also a higher level of non-performing loans. Net loans decreased by $9.6 million, reflecting a reduction in the real estate loan portfolio.
“It is nice to see black ink,” bank president Vince Rees said. “Our problem assets are shrinking, and our balance sheet is strong. We are starting to see a lift in the economy and are cautiously optimistic.”
“Our communities continue to work through a difficult economic period and our results reflect that,” said Mike Mayer, chief executive officer. “We are being aggressive with the management of non-performing loans and anticipate continued emphasis in this area.”
Total assets for the bank increased 2.2% in the first quarter, with $15 million in deposit growth. The banks total assets were $810 million as of March 31, compared to $793 million at the end of 2009.
Mountain 1st reported a net loss of $19.6 million for 2009 and in early March entered in a Stipulation to the Issuance of a Consent Order agreeing to the issuance of a Consent Order with the Federal Desposit Insurance Corp. and the N.C. Commissioner of Banks. Bank president Vince Rees said the bank was 70% complete in meeting the conditions of the consent order.
Macon Bank
Macon Bank reported a $175,000 loss for the first quarter of 2010. The bank at the end of 2009 increased its loan loss reserves by $4.6 million, mostly accounting for development and land loans, and as a result booked a $7.4 million loss for the past year. However, Macon Bank CEO Roger Plemens said in his annual report in April that the bank was aggressive last year in booking the brunt of the financial hit. “We feel we can show significant gains and improvement in 2010.”
Tryon Federal Bank
HomeTrust Bank, parent company of Tryon Federal Bank, reported a net income for the first quarter of 2010 of $3.1 million. The bank earned $2.118 million in 2009.
Carolina First
The South Financial Group, parent company of Carolina First, reported a first quarter 2010 net loss of $85.8 million. The company reported a net loss in the fourth quarter of 2009 of $193.9 million, and a net loss for the past year of $736.9 million. At the end of the year, the bank had approximately $11.9 billion in assets and operated 177 branch offices in North and South Carolina and in Florida, where TSFG operates the Mercantile Bank.
“This quarter exhibited improvements in credit costs,” said H. Lynn Harton, president and CEO. “Customer deposit growth was solid during the quarter and we continue to hold substantial excess liquidity. That being said, the credit environment continues to be difficult. We are encouraged that our loss this quarter was an improvement over previous quarters. However, given our expectation of additional losses during 2010, we will need to raise additional capital during the year. We are expending our best efforts to do so, but market conditions, along with our performance, continue to make access to capital a challenge.”
First Citizens Bank
First Citizens Bancshares Inc. reported earnings of $107.6 million for the quarter ending March 31, compared to $8.7 million for the first quarter of 2009. First Citizens reported earnings for 2009 of $115.6 million, including gains of $63 million related to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation assisted acquisition of Temecula Valley Bank in Temecula, California and Venture Bank in Lacey, Washington.
First Citizens also announced last week that it has received 12 distinguished Greenwich Excellence Awards for business banking services.
The bank received nine wins in the Small Business Banking category in addition to those in the Middle Market Banking category.
“Were extremely pleased to be recognized as one of the top business banks in the nation again this year, especially with additional honors in the small business segment,” said Hope Holding Connell, the banks manager of business services.
Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo announced first quarter earnings of $2.37 billion, a 1 percent drop due to continuing losses on consumer loans. However, the bank said it believes it has turned the corner with its credit problems.
“While the U.S. economy is gradually regaining its footing, it has yet to deliver a broad-based recovery for our country and for many of our customers,” chief executive John Stumpf said. “Though the signs of strength we are seeing in the economy are encouraging, we are not counting on them alone to deliver the performance you have come to expect from Wells Fargo.”
Wells Fargo set aside $5.3 billion to cover soured loans during the quarter, down 9.9 percent from the $5.9 billion in the previous quarter. Chief Credit and Risk Officer Mike Loughlin said he believes the bankss provisions for loan losses “have peaked.”
Bank of America
Bank of America reported first quarter 2010 net income of $3.2 billion, compared with a net loss of $194 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 and net income of $4.2 billion a year earlier.
“With each day that passes, the 2010 story appears to be one of continuing credit recovery, and our results reflect a gradually improving economy,” said CEO Brian T. Moynihan.”

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