Sandy Spring Bancorp posts 39% rise in earnings

Third-quarter profit of $8.26 million sets record

October 16, 2002|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. reported yesterday a record third-quarter profit of $8.26 million, helped by growth in mortgage sales, higher interest income and sales of securities.

The parent company of Sandy Spring Bank boosted its profit 39 percent in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, from last year's third-quarter profit of $5.95 million.

Earnings per diluted share were 56 cents in the quarter, beating a consensus estimate of 48 cents a share from Wall Street analysts, according to Zacks Investment Research Inc. Last year's diluted earnings per share were 40 cents a share in the corresponding period.

"We think we're in a pretty strong market here in Central Maryland," said James H. Langmead, Sandy Spring's chief financial officer. "Sandy Spring has been strong and consistent in its performance for a long period of time."

The company said its net interest income, the money it earns from making loans, rose 14 percent, to $19.9 million from $17.4 million in last year's third quarter, because of better interest margins and overall asset growth.

The bank's non-interest income, excluding the effect of nonrecurring items, grew 34 percent in the quarter, to $6.8 million, mainly because of increases in mortgage banking revenue, income from trust operations and commercial property insurance sales through a subsidiary it acquired last year. The sale of securities added $791,000, or 3 cents a share, in profit.

"About a quarter of our revenue is coming from non-interest sources, which we believe is fairly good for a community-based bank," Langmead said.

Sandy Spring's total assets grew 11.1 percent to $2.26 billion in the third quarter, up from $2.04 billion for the third quarter last year. Total deposits climbed 10 percent to $1.5 billion, and total loans and leases grew 6 percent to $1.1 billion, the company said.

"They had a good quarter," said Amy D. Eisner, a research associate covering regional banks for Friedman, Billings Ramsey in Arlington, Va. "They're one of the few companies we cover that's able to show loan and deposit growth at such high rates in this environment."

Sandy Spring has 30 branches and 47 automated teller machines in Anne Arundel, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties. It is based in Olney, in Montgomery County.

Shares of Sandy Spring rose $1.92 to $32.62 yesterday.

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