NHTB income rises, earnings dip slightly

An influx of federal cash was part of the reason that New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares shareholders had a very slight decline in quarterly earnings per share during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year.The Newport-based parent company of Lake Sunapee Bank posted a net income of slightly over $2 million, a $57,000 increase over the same quarter last year. But the net income available to shareholders was $1.8 million, or 31 cents per share, which is a $64,000 decline. Shareholders will receive a 13 cents dividend, the same as last quarter.In August 2011, NHTB received $20 million from the federal Small Business Lending Fund, which was used in part to pay off money from its predecessor, the Capital Purchase Program, part of the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program. There was $737,000 left on the warrant under the older program , and that was paid off in February.But there is a downside.”The dividend related to these programs reduces net income available to common stockholders,” the bank said in its release.The Small Business Lending Fund is designed to encourage lending for small business. In November, NHTB acquired Newport-based insurance firm McCrillis & Eldredge for about $1.8 million: $272,000 in cash, some $685,000 in shares, notes payable of $543,000 and contingent liabilities of $269,000. The acquisition resulted in a $1.3 million in good will, the bank said. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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