Ameriana Bancorp (NASDAQ: ASBI), parent company for Ameriana Bank, today announced results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2010. For the third quarter, Ameriana reported net income of $142,000 or $0.05 per basic and diluted share compared with $187,000 or $0.06 per basic and diluted share for the third quarter of 2009. For the first nine months of 2010, Ameriana's net income totaled $451,000 or $0.15 per basic and diluted share versus a net loss of $392,000 or $(0.13) per basic and diluted share in the year-earlier period.
Commenting on the announcement, Jerome J. Gassen, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are pleased to report another profitable quarter for Ameriana. This accomplishment is notable, we believe, considering the lingering and substantial weakness seen generally across the economy and the very challenging business conditions we face. These challenges include the low-interest rate environment, lack of attractive investment opportunities, and weak loan demand, which together have restrained the growth of net interest income. We do not foresee these forces abating until the housing market recovers and unemployment begins to decline. Nevertheless, we believe the Ameriana brand remains strong and well situated across attractive markets, and we continue to work diligently to reduce our exposure to problem assets. As a result, Ameriana remains fundamentally well positioned, in our view, to take advantage of the economic upturn as it occurs."
Ameriana's third quarter earnings continued to reflect the impact of several broad trends. Aside from brisk rate-driven mortgage loan refinancing, loan demand has been generally weak as many potential borrowers are reluctant to borrow and qualifying for credit has become more difficult. Purchase mortgage activity remains anemic. As a result, net interest income was virtually flat in the third quarter of 2010 versus the year-earlier quarter. Also, credit costs remain elevated in 2010, both in terms of a slightly higher provision for loan losses, as the Company builds reserves for problem loans and potential charge-offs, and increased expenses associated with carrying other real estate owned (OREO), reflecting the challenges involved with disposing of properties in the current real estate market. Additionally, the third quarter of 2009 benefitted from significant gains on the sale of securities, as the Company began to restructure and shrink its balance sheet; only minimal such gains occurred in the third quarter of 2010. Offsetting the reduced amount of securities gains in the current year quarter to some extent were decreased losses on the sale of OREO and other repossessed property, along with lower FDIC insurance expense.