California First National Bancorp (NASDAQ: CFNB) (“CalFirst Bancorp”) today announced net earnings of $1.8 million for the second quarter ended December 31, 2012, a decline of 12% from net earnings of $2.1 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2012. For the six months ended December 31, 2012, net earnings were down 26% to $3.3 million from $4.6 million for the first six months of fiscal 2012. Diluted earnings per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2013 of $0.17 were down 12% from $0.20 from the second quarter of fiscal 2012, while diluted earnings per share of $0.32 for the first six months of fiscal 2013 were down 27% from $0.44 per share for the same period of fiscal 2012.
The decline in net earnings during the second quarter and first six months of fiscal 2013 is largely due to lower direct finance income resulting from a drop in average yields earned that during the second quarter more than offset the benefit of a 17% growth in the lease portfolio, 25% decline in interest expense and 7% decline in non-interest expenses.
Total direct finance, loan and interest income for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 decreased 11% to $5.3 million from $5.9 million during the second quarter of the prior year. A $631,000, or 15%, decline in direct finance income reflected a 17% increase in average investment in leases that offset by a 194 basis point decline in average yield to 5.07%. Interest expense paid on deposits and borrowings during the second quarter of fiscal 2013 decreased by $205,000, or 25%, reflecting a 26 basis point drop in average interest rates paid to .89% and a 4% decrease in average balances. For the second quarter of fiscal 2013 and 2012, the Company did not record an allowance for credit losses. The lack of provision in 2013 is due to an improvement in the credit metrics as the growth in the portfolio is largely related to higher rated credits. All of these factors led to a $470,000, or 9%, decrease in net direct finance and interest income after provision for credit losses to $4.6 million.