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Sterling Bancorp's Management Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Let me highlight some of our specific accomplishments for the 2012 first quarter. Net income available to common shareholders was up almost 40% to $4.6 million. Earnings per share increased to $0.15 on a diluted basis, up 25%. The rate of increase included the impact of $3.3 million more average shares outstanding, due to our March 2011 equity offering.

Total revenues for the 2012 first quarter were $35.7 million, an increase of $1.5 million from the prior year. In contrast non-interest expenses increased only $744,000 or 3%, due to our rigorous expense management process. Net interest income was up 13%.

As I noted earlier, our yield benefited from the increase in loans in our asset mix, while funding cost declined, due to our liability management efforts. This led to an 18 basis points increase in the net interest margin to 4.07%. Loans and portfolio were up 13% approaching $1.5 billion.

I believe many lending institutions will be pleased to be able to report our pace of loan growth. Loan demand has been strong across our product range, including the mortgage warehouse lending product that we recently introduced. We are seeing increased economic activity among our existing clients and are also actively acquiring new customer relationships.

The loan pipeline remains robust, considering that our loan growth is usually somewhat muted in the first quarter, due to seasonal factors. This strong start to the new year is encouraging. Total deposits were up 15% to about $2 billion at year end, while total assets approached $2.5 billion rising 4%. Non-interest-bearing demand deposits increased to $816 million from $562 million.

Our credit metrics have remained sound. Net charge-offs were $2.9 million for the 2012 first quarter, improving by about 10% from a year ago. The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of non-accrual loans was 314% at March 31, 2012, versus 257% a year ago.

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