I'm happy to say that loans increased for the fourth consecutive quarter and period end balances grew $439 million from year-end 2011. That’s a quarterly increase of 4%. In part it reflected kind of an order of importance for stronger gains in C&I lending. Second, a modest pick up in commercial real estate lending and third, new and refinanced home loans to private client borrowers. So I think there are some positive trends in those numbers in where we’re seeing the growth.
Loan production actually reached a new record for City National in the first quarter. At $741 million, it was up 15% from the fourth quarter and 51% from a year ago. Line utilization actually ticked up slightly, but at the same time, it’s still well below our historical levels. We have seen a steady rise in both loan outstandings and loan commitments through last year and now into the first quarter of 2012. And I’m happy to say that our loan pipeline, looking forward, remains healthy.
Credit quality, I’m also happy to say remains very solid and improved noticeably in our criticized and classified assets. Excluding the covered loan portfolio, non-performing assets declined slightly and we had net recoveries of about $4.5 million in the quarter as opposed to net charge-offs in the last quarter. Excluding those covered loans, City National recorded no loan loss provision in the first quarter of 2012 as compared to a modest provision in the last quarter of last year.
Given the improving strength and increased size of our loan portfolio today, City national remains quite well reserved at 2.09% of total loans. Nonetheless, we still expect to have some loan loss provisions during the remainder of this year provided we have the loan growth that we’re anticipating.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com