Total expenses for the first quarter of 2012 increased 7.9% to $28.0 million, compared to $25.9 million for the first quarter of 2011. This increase was primarily due to higher general and administrative expense of $1.1 million, marketing and advertising costs of $0.5 million and technology and communications costs of $0.5 million, offset by lower employee compensation and benefits of $0.4 million.
The effective tax rate for the first quarter of 2012 was 40.7%, compared to 39.0% for the first quarter of 2011.
Employee headcount as of March 31, 2012 was 238, compared to 232 as of March 31, 2011.
Dividends and Share RepurchasesThe Company continues to return capital to its shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Dividends The Company’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.11 per share of common stock outstanding, to be paid on May 24, 2012 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on May 10, 2012. Share Repurchases In October 2011, the Company’s board of directors authorized a $35 million share repurchase program. Under the repurchase program, a total of 582,896 shares were repurchased in the first quarter of 2012 at a cost of $18.2 million. In February 2012, the Company also repurchased 1,821,730 shares at a cost of $52.9 million from selling stockholders affiliated with JP Morgan Chase & Co. Balance Sheet Data As of March 31, 2012, total assets were $274.5 million and included $179.9 million in cash, cash equivalents and securities available-for-sale. Total stockholders’ equity as of March 31, 2012 was $248.9 million. Non-GAAP Financial Measure EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure. The Company believes that this non-GAAP financial measure, when taken into consideration with the corresponding GAAP financial measure, is important in understanding the Company's operating results. See the attached schedule for a full reconciliation of GAAP net income to EBITDA.