BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Savings Bank saw a 4.7 percent increase in earnings in its last fiscal year, hitting a record $17.7 million.
The bank announced the numbers Monday, the same day it held its 159th annual meeting in Orono, at the University of Maine. The bank’s fiscal year runs from March to March.
According to Bangor Savings’ 2011 annual report, its assets grew to $2.48 billion, up from $2.32 billion in FY 2010.
Those numbers are despite a “sluggish” economy, the bank said in its report. The bank made $238 million in home loans, including loans for 500 first-time home buyers. It also saw 23,000 new deposit accounts opened, including 2,353 small-business accounts. The bank generated more than $245.5 million in business loans, according to the report.
The loans indicate a thawing economy, said bank President and CEO James Conlon in an interview with the Bangor Daily News.
“People are feeling a bit more confident,” he said.
Conlon noted that the bank executed a significant, $4 million expansion into the Portland market over the past year, opening four branches in the area. The bank now operates 56 branches around the state, with 100,000 customers.
The bank has no plans for new branches this year, said Conlon, though he added that the bank is always open to opportunities that arise in the market. Bangor Savings currently employs 700 throughout Maine.
This year the bank plans to grow what it has for business, and to continue studying and reacting to federal changes in banking regulations.
There’s some 500 regulations under review, and almost 5,000 rules being written governing banks at the federal level, said Conlon.
“We don’t know quite what it’s going to mean, but we do know it’s going to impact the banking business model in the next two to three years,” said Conlon.
On the state level, action in the Legislature largely has left the banking industry unharmed, said Conlon, the outgoing chairman of the Maine Bankers Association.
He said a recent survey of bank executives in Maine revealed they expect consolidation in the future, though all of the banks expected to be doing the acquisitions. Conlon said he thought there would be further consolidation because there are too many banks in the market, and there’s too much expense related to regulatory compliance.
He did think the consolidation among larger, national and international bank chains was leading to growth in the community banking sector in Maine.
“It’s resonating with people, that localness,” said Conlon.