Bar Harbor Bank & Trust parent company Bar Harbor Bankshares posted profits of $2.9 million in the first quarter, a 19.6 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago.
Those profits, said bank President and CEO Joseph Murphy in a Friday statement, came despite a continued sluggish economy.
“Considering the continued slow emergence from the national economic recession, characterized by diminished consumer confidence, spotty loan demand, still-high unemployment and depressed real estate markets, we are pleased to announce solid earnings results for the first quarter while maintaining relatively strong asset quality,” said Murphy.
The bank said a big part of the year-over-year increase in profits was its repurchase of all shares of its preferred stock from the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the first quarter of 2010. According to the release, the preferred stock was sold to the Treasury in the first quarter of 2009 as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. As a result of the repurchase, in the first quarter of 2010 the company accelerated the accretion of $496,000 in preferred stock discount, reducing profits.
“Given the uncertainties associated with a more meaningful economic recovery, we believe any community bank’s future success will be underpinned by a strongly capitalized balance sheet. In this regard, we believe that we are well positioned for any uncertainties or opportunities that may lie ahead, given our strong regulatory capital ratios and tangible common equity position,” said Murphy.
According to Friday’s release, the bank ended the quarter with assets of $1.16 billion, up $44.6 million from Dec. 21. That growth, the bank said, was driven by increases in consumer and commercial loans, along with an increase in investment securities.
The bank’s total loans ended the quarter at $727.7 million, up $27 million from Dec. 21, mainly due to Bar Harbor Bankshare’s end-of-quarter purchase of a Maine-based portfolio of prime consumer loans amounting to $23.5 million.
Bar Harbor Bank & Trust has 12 branches in coastal Maine.