By NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – BancorpSouth reported first-quarter net income of $8.4 million, or 10 cents per share, compared to $29.5 million a year ago.
It also reversed a fourth-quarter loss of $2.1 million, or 3 cents a share.
The company noted net interest margin improved to 3.88 percent, the highest level since the first quarter of 2003. Net interest revenue also rose $1.8 percent to $111.9 million, from the year-ago period.
“BancorpSouth has operated effectively in a stressful economic environment that has continued to challenge the financial services industry,” said BancorpSouth Chairman and CEO Aubrey Patterson. “As throughout 2009, our new loan production for the first quarter of 2010 essentially offset loan runoff. We experienced strong growth in deposits, especially low-cost interest-bearing demand deposits and strengthened liquidity by reducing short-term debt by a significant percentage on a sequential quarter basis for the fifth consecutive quarter.”
For the first quarter, BancorpSouth’s provision for credit losses was $43.5 million, compared to $14.9 million for the first quarter of 2009 and $62.3 million for the fourth quarter.
Annualized net charge-offs were 1.26 percent of average loans and leases for the first quarter, compared with 0.54 percent same period a year ago and 1.27 percent for the fourth quarter of 2009.
Nonperforming loans and leases increased to $235.7 million, or 2.43 percent of net loans and leases, from $73.8 million, or 0.76 percent of net loans and leases, from the year-ago period. In the fourth quarter, the figure was $186.5 million, or 1.91 percent of net loans and leases.
BancorpSouth said $171.3 million of the $235.7 million are impaired loans with specific reserves of $30.8 million included in the allowance for credit losses. The total allowance for credit losses increased to 1.95 percent of net loans and leases for the first quarter, compared to 1.39 percent last year and 1.80 percent on Dec. 31.
Noninterest revenue was $63.3 million for the first quarter, compared to $67.8 million last year and $64.5 million for the fourth quarter.
Total assets were $13.2 billion, compared with $13.5 billion a year ago. Total deposits were $11 billion, an 8.9 percent increase from $10.1billion last year. Loans and leases, net of unearned income, were relatively even at $9.7 billion.
“Loan growth in the current economic environment continues to be a challenge,” Patterson said. “The banking industry, as a whole, has experienced a decline in loans for the last several quarters. We are encouraged that we have been able to maintain our volume of loans outstanding and believe that we are well-positioned to capitalize on loan growth opportunities as the economy improves.”