Commerce Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBSH) announced earnings of $.75 per share for the three months ended September 30, 2012 compared to $.72 per share in the third quarter of 2011, or an increase of 4.2%. Net income for the third quarter amounted to $66.0 million compared to $65.4 million in the same quarter last year and $70.7 million in the prior quarter. For the quarter, the return on average assets totaled 1.28%, the return on average equity was 11.6% and the efficiency ratio was 60.0%.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, earnings per share totaled $2.29 compared to $2.13 in the first nine months of 2011, an increase of 7.5%. Net income amounted to $202.5 million for the first nine months of 2012 compared with $194.8 million for the same period last year, or an increase of $7.7 million. The return on average assets for the first nine months of 2012 was 1.32%, the return on average equity was 12.1% and the efficiency ratio was 59.1%.
In announcing these results, David W. Kemper, Chairman and CEO, said, “Although record low interest rates continued to pressure our net interest income, we were pleased to report solid quarterly earnings which benefited from loan growth, low credit losses and good expense management. Compared to the previous quarter, the decline in net interest income was partly due to non-recurring interest received last quarter and a reduction of $6.2 million in interest on our inflation-protected government securities. Also, while non-interest income continued to be affected by recent debit card interchange regulations, commercial card fees grew 21.8% compared to last year and remained strong, while trust fees also increased 7.1%. Non-interest expense was flat compared to the same quarter of last year. Average loans for the quarter grew $209.4 million, or 2.3%, this quarter compared to the previous quarter and resulted from growth in business, personal real estate loans and consumer loans. Average deposits declined by $111.7 million this quarter, or .7%.”