FirstBank Q2 up slightly

Mortgage fees jump, credit quality improves again

FirstBank reported net income of $6.1 million in the second quarter, which was up 4 percent a year ago, as the bank continued to work down its problem assets and grow its mortgage business.

Operating revenues (excluding mortgages) for the quarter came in at $22.0 million, up slightly from the spring of 2012. FirstBank’s loan portfolio ended the quarter at $1.33 billion, up 11 percent from mid-2012 and 2.5 percent from March 31.

The year-over-year pace of growth was a good bit slower in Q2 than early this year but FirstBank is still up 16 percent through the first half, excluding a 2012 securities gain of $2.5 million.

“The continuing growth of our customer base as well as core earnings has allowed us to maintain the momentum we established last year,” said FirstBank President and CEO Chris Holmes. “Our trends are positive and we continue to see growth in many markets, especially the Nashville market.”

A $2.2 million jump in mortgage lending fees helped lift noninterest income for the quarter to $10.6 million from $8.2 million. Helped by falling deposit costs, FirstBank’s net interest margin for the quarter was 3.76 percent, down slightly from a year ago but up from Q1’s 3.71 percent.

Also boosting the bottom line was a drop in the ratio of nonperforming assets as a percent of total loans. At 3.23 percent, that number ended the first half at almost half its 6.09 percent for the quarter ended June 2012.

FirstBank’s leaders, who have in the past year recruited several senior executives, plan to continue their push with the opening of offices in Green Hills and Murfreesboro during the fourth quarter.

“We set aggressive targets for third and fourth quarters, and we expect to meet them,” Holmes said. “Our focus for the remainder of the year will be on adding customers, while knowing that managing expenses and maintaining asset quality are requirements as we grow.”