Santa Cruz County Bank In The News
The agricultural business near Silicon Valley could soon get a financial boost.
Santa Cruz County Bank announced last month that it was approved to issue government-backed loans to help farmers buy land that they currently lease or to help finance their operations. The Santa Cruz-based lender expects to close its first three deals by mid-February. Two of those deals involve farmers in Watsonville buying their properties for a combined $1.45 million.
Santa Cruz County Bank reported a record year-end after-tax profit of $1.79 million for the period ending Dec. 31, up from $203,000 the previous year.
The previous record profit for the nearly 7-year-old locally owned bank was $480,000 in 2006.
"And that was before we paid taxes," said David Heald, president and chief executive officer.
The bank increased net income by $1.6 million to $1.8 million over the year.
Santa Cruz County Bank on Monday posted a nearly 10-fold increase of fourth quarter profit, as deposits and loans both climbed this past year.
The Santa Cruz-based lender (OTCBB:SCZC) said it earned about $700,000 of net income for the three months ending Dec. 31, compared to $71,000 in the same period in 2009.
Santa Cruz County Bank has been approved to participate in the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency guaranteed loan program. This allows the bank to extend credit to farmers to finance their current operations or expand.
Loans may be made to buy farmland, construct or repair buildings, promote soil and water conservation or refinance debt.
Santa Cruz County Bank announced Tuesday that it had raised $2,500,560 by issuing 241,600 shares of common stock.
The locally owned bank offered stock at $10.35 per share to a limited number of investors and closed the offering Nov. 19. The stock price has ranged from $8.05 to $12.95 in the past year.
Santa Cruz County Bank reported a profitable third quarter, with net income of $452,881, compared to $369,149 for the quarter that ended June 30 and $42,872 a year ago.
The quarter resulted in year-to-date net income of $1.1 million, a record for the locally owned bank, which opened in 2004.
"This accomplishment highlights the keen focus of our board and management on earnings achievement through strategic measures," David Heald, president and chief executive officer.
Cost-savings measures and new income helped boost second quarter assets and profits for Santa Cruz County Bank.
The bank reported net income of $369,149 compared to net income of $66,243 for the same quarter a year ago, and $267,980 for the first quarter of 2010. Assets have climbed to more than $280.3 million. Non-interest bearing deposits, which represent 34 percent of the bank's total deposits, grew 35 percent from a year ago.
Banks that started up six years ago have had tough times, according to statistics Santa Cruz County Bank chairman George Gallucci cited for 100 stockholders at the annual meeting Tuesday at Bittersweet Bistro in Aptos.
"Of 83 banks started since February 2004, only 18 were profitable. We were one of those," Gallucci said. "Of those 83, only four have a cumulative profit. Your bank is one of those banks."
Banks that made loans to real estate developers who got caught in the housing market crash are putting aside money for losses instead of lending to jump-start the economy.
Santa Cruz County Bank doesn't have that problem.
In fact, the 7-year-old locally owned bank last month won a Lender Excellence Award from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
Higher net interest income, office consolidation and employee attrition helped boost the bottom line for Santa Cruz County Bank which reported a leap in net revenue to $267,980 from just $22,509 a year ago in the same quarter.
First quarter numbers, from loans to deposits to assets and the total number of accounts, all grew compared to this time last year.