Columbia Bancorp net jumps 19% Mortgages, cost-cutting make for record quarter

Banking

October 15, 1998|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Columbia Bancorp's net income jumped 19 percent in the third quarter to a record as the company boosted the bottom line with sales of mortgage loans and by controlling expenses.

Columbia made $1.3 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, compared with net income of $1.1 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, for the same period a year earlier.

For the first nine months of the year, the Columbia-based banking company made $3.5 million, a nearly 16 percent increase over the $3 million the company made for the corresponding period in 1997. Columbia made 77 cents per diluted share for the nine months period, up nearly 15 percent, compared with 67 cents a year earlier.

"They had a nice quarter," said Christopher K. Mutascio, regional bank analyst at Baltimore-based Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., who expected Columbia to earn 26 cents a share in the quarter. "Going forward, the key is going to continue to be loan growth."

Shares of Columbia lost 56.25 cents yesterday to close at $13.6875 on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Indeed, loan growth was sluggish for Columbia because of intense competition. Loans for the year rose 1.3 percent to $268.2 million, compared with $264.6 million for the same period a year earlier, the company said.

Assets were up 12.1 percent for the year to $415 million, compared with $370.3 million for the 1997 period, and deposits rose 12.4 percent to $330.7 million, compared with $294.1 million.

Net income in the quarter was driven partly by $482,724 in gains on the sale of mortgage loans in the quarter, compared with $86,571 in the 1997 period. Income from fees charged to customers for services was $374,228 in the quarter, compared with $338,995.

Expenses rose 8.5 percent in the quarter to $3.9 million.

"The story of the quarter seems to be cost containment," Mutascio said. "They really brought down operating expenses quite a bit from where they had been."

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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