published on April 25, 2016 - 12:54 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
Sierra Bancorp, Porterville-based parent company of Bank of the Sierra, saw an 8-percent bump in first-quarter net income compared to last year.

For the quarter ended March 31, the Sierra Bancorp earned net income of $4.03 million, an improvement of $298,000 from the first quarter of 2015.

The increase is due to higher net interest income, growth in interest-earning assets and an increase in service charges stemming from higher deposit activity, especially commercial accounts.

Kevin McPhaill, Sierra Bancorp, president and CEO, said growth in core deposits and income was tempered by decreased loan activity.

“Core deposits continued their favorable growth trend through the first three months of 2016, but we experienced a reduction in total loans subsequent to year-end due in large part to fluctuations in the mortgage warehouse portfolio and strong loan growth during the fourth quarter of last year.  We are optimistic that we will see loans resume growing this year as a result of the marketing and business development efforts of our banking team,” McPhaill stated.

The bank’s total assets as of March 31 was $1.76 billion, up from $1.73 billion at the same time last year, but below $1.79 billion at the end of 2015.

The drop in assets was due to a net decline of $39 million, or 3 percent, in gross loan balances and a reduction of $5 million, or 9 percent, in cash balances, partially offset by an increase of $15 million, or 3 percent, in investment securities, according to the bank.

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