Two Valley banks achieve high financial rating

For the second year in a row, Fresno First Bank earned a five-star rating from Bauer Financial for its overall performance and growth. Murphy Bank of Fresno also received the coveted rating.

Bauer Financial, an online analyzer of banks and credit unions across the country, takes into account asset size, profitability, return on assets and return on equity when determining its ratings.

For Fresno First Bank, with a location at 7690 N. Palm Ave. in Fresno, its continual growth over the last five quarters was reason for the recent rating.

"We are thrilled to have reached a Five Star Rating for two consecutive years," said Rick Whitsell, CEO of Fresno First Bank. "We have worked hard over the years to create a real sense of ownership among staff members, which has translated into higher customer satisfaction and financial growth."

Fresno First Bank, established in 2005, reported a net income of $1.44 million in the first three quarters of 2011, up 44 percent from $992,000 in the same period in 2010 and up from $175,000 in the same period in 2009.

It's total assets in the first three quarters of 2011 stood at $163.8 million, up from $143.1 million at the end of 2010 and $122.4 million in 2009.

Murphy Bank of Fresno also received a Five-Star rating by Bauer Financial. The bank reported a net income of $2.15 million in the first three quarters of 2011 compared to $2.37 million in all of 2010 and $2.28 million in 2009.

The bank, established in 1984, reported $109 million in assets in the first three quarters of last year.