First Busey profits up 52 percent

First Busey profits up 52 percent

CHAMPAIGN — First Busey Corp. saw second-quarter net income rise by 52 percent over the same quarter last year.

The Champaign-based parent of Busey Bank on Tuesday reported net income of about $7.4 million for the quarter that ended June 30, up from about $4.9 million during the same quarter in 2012.

That translated to earnings of 8 cents per fully diluted common share, up from 5 cents per share a year earlier.

"Our market areas show signs of strengthening, and credit quality continued to improve," First Busey CEO Van Dukeman said in announcing the results.

The improvement in income came partly from a lower provision for loan losses.

But it also stemmed from reductions in salaries, wages and employee benefits. Those expenses totaled $15.7 million in the second quarter, down from $16.8 million in the first quarter — and down from $16.3 million in the second quarter of 2012.

Dukeman said an evaluation of operations "resulted in personnel reductions and other cost-containment efforts in early 2013" that contributed to the decreased spending.

He said senior management proposed reductions in compensation for the bank's executive officers, and that reduction took effect in April.

Dukeman also hailed growth in the bank's loan portfolio.

"Our business outreach across our footprint has increased substantially, and we are encouraged by our loan pipeline," he said. That has "begun to translate into increased loans," he added.

The loan portfolio as of June 30 was up nearly 7 percent from a year earlier.

Non-performing loans were down sharply from a year ago — $20.2 million, compared with $33.7 million. But a subset of those — loans 90 or more days past due — has increased.

In an encouraging sign, net income for all three of the company's operating segments were up from a year earlier.

Busey Bank's net income for the quarter was $6.5 million, up from $4.2 million a year earlier. Net income for Busey Wealth Management and for FirsTech, the company's retail-payment processing subsidiary, also rose.

First Busey had $3.5 billion in assets as of June 30. Busey Bank has 28 banking centers in Illinois, one in Indianapolis and seven in southwest Florida.

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Lostinspace wrote on July 24, 2013 at 11:07 am

I'm happy profits are up.  I'm looking forward to a better return on deposits.