Sandy Spring Bancorp posts record net income

Report on first quarter demonstrates strength of the bank, analyst says

April 16, 2002|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

Sandy Spring Bancorp, the parent company of Sandy Spring Bank, reported yesterday record net income for its first quarter, an achievement that underscores the bank's strength, an analyst said.

"It was a very strong quarter for the company," said Adam C. Barkstrom, an analyst who follows the company for Legg Mason Inc., in Richmond, Va. "The company continues to have very solid growth."

For the first quarter ending March 31, the Olney-based Sandy Spring reported record net income of $6.6 million, a 24 percent increase from the $5.3 million it earned in the same quarter last year.

Per-share net income rose 22 percent, to 45 cents per share this year from the 37 cents recorded in the first quarter of last year. Total assets grew 9 percent to $2.1 billion, while total deposits increased 10 percent to $1.4 billion.

Sandy Spring President and Chief Executive Officer Hunter R. Hollar said the bank saw growth in such key areas as loans, deposits and noninterest income.

Noninterest income spiked in part from commissions collected by the Chesapeake Insurance Group, which Sandy Spring acquired in December.

Executing well on such obvious business basics as customer service is helping Sandy Spring grow, said Hollar.

"I once described us as boring," Hollar said. "When I said that, I meant that we stick to our knitting, and do the basic things pretty well," which translates into higher profits.

Sandy Spring is to hold its annual stockholders meeting at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Indian Spring Country Club in Silver Spring.

Shares of Sandy Spring closed at $30.70 yesterday, down $1.20.

The shares have risen about 50 percent over the past year.

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