Plaza Bank reports 328 percent increase in first-quarter net income

Plaza Bank on Thursday posted a 328 percent increase in net income for the first quarter over last year, as a decline in nonperforming assets, loan growth and loan sales were the primary drivers of profitability for the business bank.

The bank, with branches in Las Vegas and Irvine, Calif., reported net income of $1.25 million, compared with $294,000 for the first quarter of 2012. Earnings were 7 cents per share, a 5-cent increase over the first quarter of last year.

Gene Galloway, president and CEO of Plaza Bank, said a 42 percent jump, or $1.4 million increase, in net interest income also contributed to the bank’s impressive quarterly earnings. He said the bank focuses on four lines of business — asset-based lending, small-business lending, Small Business Administration real estate and commercial real estate.

“Year-over-year, we continue to stay focused on our strategies for excelling in four specific business niches,” Galloway said. “This focus continues to allow us to consistently improve our financial performance.”

Plaza Bank experienced significant growth in total loans compared to the first quarter of 2012, increasing 27.7 percent. Loan originations, committed and funded, jumped from the prior year’s quarter from $32.2 million to $59.1 million, $29.2 million to $49 million, respectively.

Galloway said the bank’s Las Vegas branch plays a critical role in its success.

“We are off to a good start,” the veteran banker said. “We’ve got a lot of traction in Las Vegas. I’m very bullish about the region.”

Galloway said Plaza Bank restaffed its Las Vegas branch last year, including bringing in a new executive to oversee SBA lending. He said the bank made its first SBA loan last week in Las Vegas and has eight more in the pipeline.

Overall, loan sales for the second quarter were $16.5 million, generating gains on sales of $1.2 million. Nonperforming assets declined to 1.58 percent from 2.31 percent in the first quarter of last year.

In its 2013 shareholders report, Plaza Bank said it was prepared to expand through acquisition this year, preferring to work with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Galloway said the bank keeps looking for possible deals in Southern Nevada and Southern California.

“It just depends on what pops and if it fits into our strategy,” Galloway said.

The business bank also expects “organic growth to $500 million in assets.” As of March 31, Plaza Bank had $435 million in assets.

Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at csieroty@reviewjournal
.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @sierotyfeatures on Twitter.

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