We'll begin the call with management's prepared remarks and then open the call up to questions. However, before we begin today's call, it is my responsibility to inform you that this call may involve certain forward-looking statements such as projections of revenue, earnings and capital structure, as well as statements on the plans and objectives of the company's business. The company's actual results could differ materially from the forward-looking statements made today due to the important factors described in the company's latest Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made during the call. If anyone does not already have a copy of the press release issued by Mercantile today, you can access it at the company's website at www.mercbank.com.At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Mercantile's CEO, Mike Price. Mike? Michael H. Price Thank you, Karen. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. Earlier this morning, we released our third quarter operating results, and I'm pleased to note that we continue our recovery from the effects of the Great Recession. Mercantile has developed strong, sustainable momentum as the years progressed. Net profit has increased substantially, nonperforming assets continued to decrease, and our bank continues to grow stronger by the quarter. We are making continued improvements in core operating earnings and limiting controllable expenses while strengthening our capital ratios. As a result of the improving conditions of our business, we also announced our planned payment of the dividends on our preferred stock and distributions on our trust preferred securities. While this cannot be taken as an indicator of the potential for future repayments, we are encouraged that today Mercantile is a revitalized bank focused on gaining market share and engaging our customers with new and innovative products and providing value to our relationship approach to banking. We continue to be grateful for our strong team of associates and loyal customers, and we look forward to a strong finish to 2011.
On the call today are Chief Financial Officer, Chuck Christmas, who will provide some of the details of our financial results, followed by Chief Operating Officer, Bob Kaminski, and his comments regarding asset quality and other operational successes for the quarter. At this time, I'll turn it over to Chuck.Charles E. Christmas Thanks, Mike. Good morning, everybody. Now this morning, we announced that we recorded net income of $2.7 million or $0.30 per diluted share during the third quarter of 2011, compared to a net loss of $5.7 million or $0.67 per diluted share during the third quarter of 2010. This $8.4 million improvement expands to $9.1 million if we exclude the federal income tax benefit recorded during the third quarter of last year. Net income totaled $6.2 million during the first 9 months of this year, compared to a net loss of $9.3 million during the first 9 months of last year. This $15.5 million improvement expands to $18.2 million if we exclude the federal income tax benefit recorded during the first 9 months of last year, as well as the one-time investment and loan sales gains recorded during the first quarter of last year. The improved operating results reflect improvements in many key areas of our financial condition and operating performance but especially reflect a significant lower provision expense and improved net interest margin. We are, of course, pleased to be able to report a net profit for the third quarter of 2011, our third consecutive profitable quarter after 2 years of quarterly losses. These positive results are reflection of the somewhat improved economic conditions, combined with the positive impact of numerous strategies developed and implemented over the past several years. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com