Non-Interest Income and Non-Interest Expense

Non-interest income for the 2012 fourth quarter was $8.9 million, up $1.0 million from $7.9 million reported in the fourth quarter of last year. The increase was due to an increase of $1.8 million in net gains on sales of SBA loans.

Non-interest expense for the 2012 fourth quarter was $58.1 million, an increase of $11.0 million, or 23.3 percent, versus $47.1 million reported in the 2011 fourth quarter. The increase was primarily a result of the addition of new private client banking teams and the hiring of more than 50 professionals for the launch of Signature Financial.

The Bank’s efficiency ratio increased slightly to 37.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with 35.4 percent for the same period a year ago. The increase was primarily due to the hiring for Signature Financial.

Loans

Loans, excluding loans held for sale, expanded a record $1.02 billion, or 11.6 percent, during the 2012 fourth quarter to $9.77 billion, versus $8.76 billion at September 30, 2012. Due to the expected increase in capital gains taxes for 2013, the fourth quarter loan growth includes approximately $184 million in loans that would have closed in 2013. At December 31, 2012, loans accounted for 56.0 percent of total assets, compared with 53.2 percent at the end of the 2012 third quarter and 46.7 percent at the end of 2011. Average loans, excluding loans held for sale, reached $9.19 billion in the 2012 fourth quarter, growing $810.5 million, or 9.7 percent, from the 2012 third quarter and $2.54 billion, or 38.1 percent, from the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase in loans for the quarter and the year was primarily driven by growth in commercial real estate and multi-family loans as well as specialty finance, which traditionally experiences strong seasonal growth during the fourth quarter. At December 31, 2012, non-accrual loans were $27.2 million, representing 0.28 percent of total loans and 0.16 percent of total assets, versus non-accrual loans of $28.0 million, or 0.32 percent of total loans, at September 30, 2012 and $42.2 million, or 0.62 percent of total loans, at December 31, 2011. At the end of the 2012 fourth quarter, the ratio of allowance for loan losses to total loans was 1.10 percent, versus 1.18 percent at September 30, 2012 and 1.26 percent at December 31, 2011. Additionally, the ratio of allowance for loan losses to non-accrual loans, or the coverage ratio, was 395 percent for the 2012 fourth quarter versus 367 percent for the 2012 third quarter and 204 percent for the 2011 fourth quarter.

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