During the first quarter of 2013, the Company identified eight loans totaling $2,001,000, net of charge-offs, as additional nonperforming loans. The additions were offset by reductions in nonperforming loans totaling $1,387,000 due primarily to collections received on certain loans and secondarily due to charge-offs and the transfer of three properties to OREO totaling $602,000. Of the eight loans totaling $2,001,000 identified as nonperforming loans during the first quarter of 2013, three relationships make up $1,828,000 of the balance. The first relationship is for a multi-family commercial real estate loan totaling $642,000 located in Yolo County. The Company has recorded a $239,000 charge-off for this loan and there is no specific reserve established. The second relationship consists of three loans totaling $617,000 to a contractor located in Shasta County. The Company has recorded an $86,000 charge-off for these loans and there is no specific reserve established. The third relationship consists of two hospitality commercial real estate loans totaling $569,000 located in Humboldt County. The Company has not recorded a charge-off for these loans and there is no specific reserve established. The remaining two loans of the eight identified as nonperforming loans in the first quarter total $173,000. Charge-offs of $71,000 were recorded against one of the loans and there were no specific reserves established.
Gross loan charge offs for the first quarter of 2013 were $1,056,000 and recoveries totaled $249,000 resulting in net charge offs of $807,000. Gross loan charge offs for the first quarter of 2012 were $885,000 and recoveries totaled $103,000 resulting in net charge offs of $782,000.
Nonperforming assets (nonperforming loans and OREO) totaled $27,814,000 at March 31, 2013, a decrease of $4,726,000 from the March 31, 2012 balance of $32,540,000, and a $444,000 decrease from the December 31, 2012 balance of $28,258,000. Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets were 3.05% at March 31, 2013 compared to 3.56% at March 31, 2012 and 3.13% at December 31, 2012.
The Company's OREO properties decreased $1,058,000 to $21,365,000 at March 31, 2013 from $22,423,000 at December 31, 2012. The decrease in OREO was due to the sale of three properties totaling $1,425,000 (a gain of $26,000 was recorded on the sale), and the write-down of the value of certain other OREO properties of $261,000 during the quarter ended March 31, 2013, which was partially offset by the transfer of three properties to OREO totaling $602,000.
Net interest income, which represents the Company's largest component of revenues and is the difference between interest earned on loans and investments and interest paid on deposits and borrowings, increased $44,000, or 0.6%, for the three months ended March 31, 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Interest income decreased by $741,000, or 8.6%, primarily due to both the lower yield on earning assets and a decrease in average earning asset balances. The Company had foregone interest income of $85,000 and $155,000 for the loans on nonaccrual status for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively. Average loans increased $32,936,000 in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012, while the yield on the loan portfolio decreased 42 basis points to 5.33% for the quarter ended March 31, 2013. Offsetting the decrease in interest income was a decrease in interest expense of $785,000, or 64.5%, due to both a decrease in the rates paid on deposits and the rates paid on its subordinated debt for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Overall, average earning assets decreased $32,329,000 to $797,861,000 in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the first quarter of 2012. Average yields on earning assets decreased 17 basis points from the quarter ended March 31, 2012, to 4.03% for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 while the average rate paid on interest-bearing liabilities decreased by 48 basis points to 0.28%. The Company's net interest margin for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 was 3.81%, an increase of 20 basis points from the margin of 3.61% for the first quarter in 2012 and a decrease of 12 basis points from the 3.93% net interest margin for the linked quarter ended December 31, 2012.
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