Community bank earnings rise

July 31, 2011

Despite the uneven economic recovery, Washington area community banks, some more than others, recorded substantial growth in profits for the second quarter.

A decline in loan loss provisions bolstered income for most local players, including Washington Savings Bank of Bowie, Reston-based Access National Bank and McLean-based Capital One.

Sandy Spring Bank, which took in $8.3 million in net income, reported provisions of $1.2 million in the last quarter, compared to $6.1 million a year ago. The Olney-based bank, like many of its peers, has steadily reduced its troubled assets, which declined from $109.3 million in the second quarter of 2010 to $76.5 million this time around.

Loan growth played a significant role in the earnings of a number of other community banks, especially Bethesda-based EagleBank. It ended the quarter with a loan book of $1.95 billion, compared to $1.5 billion in 2010. The bank, with $2.3 billion in assets, posted $4.9 million in net income, or 24 cents per share, up 56 percent from a year ago.

Virginia Heritage Bank of Fairfax, with $521 million in assets, pulled in $1.2 million in net income in last quarter, compared to $624,000 a year earlier. Similar to EagleBank, it has been lending at a steady clip, growing its loan book to $395 million, an increase of $51 million from the same period a year earlier.

Notably, both Virginia Heritage and EagleBank recently received awards from the Small Business Lending Fund at a 1 percent dividend because of their healthy lending activity. Most community banks, however, continue to bemoan the dearth of loan demand from quality applicants.

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