published on April 18, 2017 - 10:23 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Communities First Financial Corp., parent company of Fresno First Bank, announced net first quarter income of $837,000, up 19 percent from the same period last year.

On a per diluted share basis, income was 29 cents, compared to 26 cents last year.

“After delivering solid profitability in 2016, we continued the momentum with our first quarter earnings generating solid year-over-year growth,” said Steve Miller, president and CEO, in a statement. “Profits in the last two quarters were amongst the highest we have produced in our history. With solid year-over-year loan and deposit growth, our net interest income increased over 21% from a year ago, and our net interest margin continued to improve to 4.06%.

The bank also raised $521,000 in new capital from its employee stock ownership plan.

“By issuing new shares to our ESOP, we will be in a stronger position to continue to implement our strategic growth initiatives and, at the same time, reward our employees for their efforts to provide excellent service and generate solid growth,” Miller said.

The bank’s total assets stood at $352 million as of March 31, up 18 percent from the same time in 2016.

“Total assets increased 18%, year-over-year, but declined on a linked quarter basis. The slight shrinking of assets from the fourth quarter was primarily due to the fluctuation of our agricultural business which is typical for the time of year.  As we focus on the year ahead, we are looking to grow our assets by 15% to 20%,” said Miller.  “Full time equivalent employees were 42 at March 31, 2016, compared to 34 a year ago, and 37 at the end of 2016.”

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