Western Liberty Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:WLBC),
the holding company for Service1st Bank of Nevada (Service1st Bank) and Las Vegas Sunset Properties (LVSP), today reported its tangible book value per share was $5.53, down slightly from $5.60 in the preceding quarter. Western Liberty narrowed its first quarter loss to $1.1 million, or $0.08 per share, in the first quarter of 2012, compared to $2.4 million, or $0.17 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011. Net loss for the year ago quarter was $409,000, or $0.03 per share. All financial results are unaudited.
“Our loan portfolio is beginning to stabilize. No new properties moved into classified status during the quarter, and we are receiving solid interest from investors in some of our foreclosed properties,” said William Martin, Chief Executive Officer. “During December, we moved $4 million of foreclosed real estate into our new holding company asset resolution subsidiary, Las Vegas Sunset Properties (LVSP). Then during the first quarter of 2012, we moved an additional $18 million in classified loans to LVSP. These transfers improved the Bank’s ratio of classified assets to Tier 1 capital plus reserves to 29% at March 31, 2012, down from 84% at year end. While on a consolidated basis our nonperforming assets are still higher than we would like, at the Bank level we are much closer to achieving asset quality levels mandated by our regulators.”
“Our capital levels at both Service1st Bank and Western Liberty Bancorp remain very strong. For Service1st Bank and Western Liberty Bancorp, we ended the quarter with a Tier 1 Risk based-capital of 35.61% and 71.28%, respectively,” Martin continued. “And, as an improving economy emerges in Las Vegas, we expect to be able to deploy capital and liquidity into loans as demand improves.”
“While we earned a profit at the bank level of $62,000, expenses at the holding company generated a loss of $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2012, reflecting ongoing elevated expenses for legal and professional fees, and a $117,000 impairment charge for other real estate owned at LVSP,” said Martin. “We will continue to monitor asset quality and maintain our reserves at the appropriate level, as well as work diligently to keep expenses down.”