Columbia Bancorp net income rises 19.6%

Total assets of No. 2 bank in Howard County set record of nearly $1 billion

July 17, 2002|By William Patalon III | William Patalon III,SUN STAFF

Columbia Bancorp said yesterday that its second-quarter net income jumped nearly 20 percent to $2.32 million, while its total assets reached a record level of nearly $1 billion.

Columbia, the parent company of Columbia Bank, said diluted per-share earnings rose 18.5 percent, to 32 cents a share in this year's second quarter from 27 cents a share in the second three months of last year.

Columbia said its net income increased 19.6 percent to $2.32 million in the second three months of this year from $1.94 million during the corresponding quarter a year ago.

"We were very pleased with the quarter," said John A. Scaldara Jr., chief financial officer.

Though the second-quarter financial figures matched her forecasts, analyst Jennifer H. Demba said the bank's underlying business performance was much better than she had expected. Loan growth was strong, and the bank did a good job reducing its nonperforming assets, she said.

The bank is No. 2 behind Allfirst Bank in terms of market share in the strong Howard County market, is well-run and should continue to benefit from the trends that continue to favor smaller "community" banks, Demba said.

"Columbia is a great franchise," said Demba, who follows Columbia and other community banks for SunTrust Robinson Humphrey out of Atlanta.

As of June 30, loans were 15.6 percent higher at $666.5 million than on June 30 a year ago, an increase the bank was especially proud of considering the sluggish economy, Scaldara said.

That loan growth underscores that community banks such as Columbia are doing a great job serving the small and medium-size companies the larger commercial banks tend to ignore, Demba said.

Nonperforming assets and past-due loans declined 71.5 percent, falling to $1.99 million on June 30 from $6.97 million on June 30 last year. That improvement resulted from collections and resolutions of other bad loans since last year's second quarter, Scaldara said.

Deposits and other short-term bank borrowings from customers reached $826.82 million, up 12.2 percent, Columbia said. Total assets reached $926.2 million as of June 30, 11.2 percent more than on June 30 last year.

Shares of Columbia lost 36 cents yesterday to close at $20.74 on the Nasdaq stock market.

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