Chittenden reports solid results

Chittenden Corporation, parent company of Ocean National Bank, reported a solid third quarter on Oct. 20 and announced it will be buying back about 2 percent of its shares because it has enough capital.

The bank holding company said it earned $21.7 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30, or 46 cents a share, and it will paying a quarterly dividend of 18 cents a share on Nov. 11. Earnings per share were 10 percent higher than last year, mainly fueled by expanding loan income.

Loans were up 11 percent from last year, and New Hampshire contributed to strong growth in commercial real estate and construction, said Kirk W. Walters, executive vice president and Chief financial officer in a morning conference call.

Particularly important, stressed Walters, was the sharp increase in net interest margin, which was up six basis points from the second quarter and 15 from the same quarter last year. The resulting interest income was $62.8 million for the quarter, a 10.2 percent increase.
The large margin is due to two reasons, said Walters: an increase in short-term interest rates and a drop in the number of delinquencies. Nonperforming assets declined by 21 percent from the previous quarter as well.

“The credit quality and reserves remain very strong,” said Walters.
In the conference call, Walters put off questions about future mergers and acquisitions, saying that the price for a good mid-sized bank “is very high.” – BOB SANDERS

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