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Profitable quarter for Santa Cruz County Bank

April 20, 2011

By Jondi Gumz - Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz County Bank posted a profit of $454,000 for the quarter ending March 31, up from $268,000 a year ago.

"We are off to a good start toward achieving another record year for the bank," said David Heald, president and chief executive officer of the 7-year-old locally owned bank.

Last year's year-end profit was $1.79 million.

Heald attributed the increase in income to a better interest margin, 4.65 percent, up from 4.49 percent, and the $12 million increase in loans from a year ago.

Loans total $167 million although they dipped 8 percent during the first quarter.

Heald said short-term loans taken out in the fourth quarter were repaid in the first quarter.

"We're seeing a little uptick in requests for loans," he said. "The quality is improving. People are healthier than what they were. Last year was the year whether you were going to survive or not. The survivors are looking better."

Deposits grew to $252 million, up 4 percent from a year ago, but up less than 1 percent during the first quarter, which is seasonally slow.

"We're still adding accounts," Heald said. "Our lobby traffic is up."

He said the bank added two part-time customer service staffers in the first quarter and is looking to add a loan officer.

Total assets grew to $280 million from a year ago, but dipped 2 percent during the quarter due to seasonality.

Shareholders equity increased 3 percent during the quarter to $24 million. Income tax liability for the quarter is $274,000.

The loan loss reserve was increased to $583,000, which Heald said was precautionary.

He said the bank took back a piece of property in Monterey County.

The bank's capital ratio is 8.6 percent. Regulators consider 8 percent to be adequately capitalized.

The Findley Reports rated Santa Cruz County Bank as a "Super Premier Performing Bank" for 2010.

The bank won a "Gold Can" recognition for collecting more than 10,000 pounds of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank holiday drive and a "Bronze Award" from United Way for its 2010 employee campaign.

The annual meeting of shareholders will be at 3 p.m. May 17 at Bittersweet Bistro in Aptos.

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