East West Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: EWBC), parent company of East West Bank, the financial bridge between the United States and Greater China, today reported financial results for the first quarter of 2012. For the first quarter of 2012, net income was $68.1 million or $0.45 per dilutive share. East West increased first quarter net income by $12.0 million or 21% and increased earnings per dilutive share $0.08 or 22% from the prior year period.
“East West is pleased to report strong earnings of $68.1 million or $0.45 per share for the first quarter of 2012,” stated Dominic Ng, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of East West. “Earnings per share for the first quarter of 2012 was 5% higher than the prior quarter and 22% higher than the prior year. This increase in earnings is reflective of healthy, profitable and prudent growth in our loan and deposit portfolios, which has resulted in a strong net interest margin of 4.21% and a reduced cost of deposits down to 0.47%. During the first quarter, we grew our noncovered loans by $211.9 million or 2%, and increased core deposits by $256.2 million or 2% to a record $10.6 billion. This growth in core deposits was fueled by an increase in demand deposits to a record $3.7 billion, or 21% of our total deposits as of March 31, 2012.”
Ng continued, “For the past two years our credit quality has steadily improved and as a result, credit costs have declined. During the first quarter, net charge-offs declined to $10.3 million, an improvement of 70% from the first quarter of 2011. Net charge-offs decreased while we also reduced nonperforming assets to $167.1 million or 0.77% of total assets as of March 31, 2012.”
“Earlier in the year, the Board of Directors approved a $200 million stock repurchase plan and increased the dividend to $0.40 per year. These actions were taken due to the strength of our balance sheet, capital levels and core profitability. As we continue to build our business and execute on our strategy as the premier financial bridge between East and West, I am confident that East West can increase our core profitability and market share, and return strong value to our shareholders for the remainder of 2012 and beyond,” concluded Ng.