Total noninterest expenses decreased $594,000, or 5.9% compared to the first quarter of 2012. The decrease in expenses was mainly due to lower losses on sales and writedowns of Other Real Estate Owned (OREO) as well as lower OREO carrying costs. Real estate values continued to increase in the Bank's market area, reducing the need to write down the carrying values of foreclosed properties held for sale and resulting in gains on sales of some properties following earlier write downs.
The Company remains in the process of an Internal Revenue Service audit for its 2007 through 2010 tax years. During the second quarter of 2012 we recorded a federal income tax expense to reflect the amount of a settlement that we offered to the IRS early in the third quarter of 2012. While we cannot predict the outcome of the IRS audit, or any appeal we may pursue as a result of an IRS assessment from the audit, we are optimistic that a settlement agreement will be reached without the need to record significant additional tax expense.
Total assets of the company increased $17.6 million compared to December 31, 2012, with total loans held for investment decreasing $12.5 million and cash and investment securities increasing $28.0 million. Capital increased $2.4 million since the end of last year due to the profit and the private placement of $1.7 million of common stock. As a result, even though assets increased, the ratio of equity to assets increased from 6.59% at the end of 2012 to 6.68% at March 31, 2013. The Tier 1 Leverage ratio for the Bank, which is one of the primary ratios used by banking regulators, increased from 6.38% as of December 31, 2012 to 6.43% as of March 31, 2013. The Bank remains adequately capitalized as measured by applicable regulatory standards. The company's liquidity position remained very strong, with cash and investments increasing from 43.0% of assets at the end of 2012 to 44.6% at March 31, 2013.