Chittenden earnings rise

Chittenden Corporation, the Vermont-based parent company of Ocean National Bank in New Hampshire , earned a record $83 million in fiscal year 2005, an 11 percent increase, the company announced Thursday.

Earnings were $1.77 per diluted share, with some $21.8 million — or 46 cents per diluted share – earned in the fourth quarter, slightly up from the previous year.

The company also announced a quarterly dividend of 18 cents per shared, which will be paid out on Feb. 10.

Total loans (some 71 percent of its loans are commercial) increased 10 percent. Its commercial and commercial real estate portfolio was particularly strong in New Hampshire, the company said.

Deposits were up 9 percent from last year. The bank had $6.5 billion in total assets as of Dec. 31, a 6.5 percent from the previous year.

Chittenden as a whole has 122 branches, including a newly opened Ocean National branch in Manchester. It doesn’t plan any major openings in the near future, said Kirk Walters, chief financial officer, in a conference call following the release. – BOB SANDERS

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