Ameriana Bancorp (NASDAQ: ASBI), parent company for Ameriana Bank, today announced that earnings for the fourth quarter of 2012 increased 27% to $577,000, or $0.19 per basic and diluted share, from $453,000, or $0.15 per basic and diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2011. For 2012, Ameriana's net income increased 61% to $1.8 million, or $0.62 per basic and diluted share, from $1.1 million, or $0.38 per basic and diluted share, in 2011. With these results, Ameriana has remained consistently profitable for more than three years.
Commenting on the announcement, Jerome J. Gassen, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are pleased to report solid fourth quarter results – our 14 th consecutive profitable quarter – to cap another successful year for Ameriana. In the fourth quarter, we achieved increased loan production that pushed our loan portfolio to the highest level of the year, which in turn had a positive effect on our net interest margin, as did a one-time fourth quarter realization of a loan discount. Deposit levels also remained relatively stable in the fourth quarter on a linked-quarter basis and increased significantly year over year against the backdrop of an ongoing decline in funding costs and a continued shift in deposit mix away from time deposits. In the area of non-interest income, we were gratified by the growth of our residential mortgage lending volume, which produced higher mortgage banking revenue in the fourth quarter and for the year to help offset the impact of costs associated with other real estate owned and the impact from the decision to take considerably fewer gains on the sale of securities in 2012 versus 2011. Lastly, during the fourth quarter we reduced our personnel costs by 12%, leading to an overall reduction of almost 7% for the year and overall lower non-interest expense for the quarter and year." Gassen also noted that credit quality continued to show improvement during the fourth quarter, with non-performing loans declining 14% for the year.
"Looking ahead, we are cautiously optimistic about loan volume in the coming year, knowing that strong competitive conditions will continue to pressure pricing," Gassen continued. "Because of this, we also anticipate that the banking industry will confront an even more challenging margin environment in 2013. The impact of these forces will depend largely on the depth and breadth of the ongoing economic recovery, which in our opinion has not strengthened as much as might be expected at this point following the recession. Still, we are encouraged by the progress we have achieved in reducing our recurring expenses and in continuing to improve credit quality in our loan portfolio. Over the long term, we remain confident in the opportunities ahead for Ameriana and our ability to enhance shareholder value."