Published October 31, 2012
Heritage earns $2.9M in Q3, eyes moving Tumwater branchRolf Boone/The Business Blog
The parent company of Heritage Bank earned a $2.9 million profit in the third quarter, the companys ninth straight meaningful quarterly profit, Heritage Financial Corp. President and Chief Executive Brian Vance said Wednesday.Another quarter of strong loan growth and lower expenses helped Heritage earn net income of $2.9 million, or 19 cents a share, compared to net income of $1.8 million or 12 cents a share in the third quarter of 2011.Vance called it a good, solid quarter, and that profitability trends were improving. Business and commercial real estate lending was strong in the quarter, and the company reduced its overall expenses, including lower credit costs, Vance said.Since the end of the second quarter, though, earnings per share fell two cents, or about $300,000, partly due to these factors: the low-interest environment for banks and having to set aside funds to cover potentially bad loans purchased when the bank acquired Cowlitz Bank in Longview and Pierce Commercial Bank in Tacoma.The company also reported $180,000 in merger-related expenses tied to the pending acquisition of Northwest Commercial Bank of Lakewood. That deal is expected to close in mid-December, Vance said. Vance also announced expansion plans for Heritage Bank in Vancouver, Wash., and its Tumwater branch could potentially move, he said.The company is set to begin work next year on a new branch in east Vancouver and has expanded its downtown Vancouver location by adding a commercial lending center and wealth management group, Vance said. Heritage Bank also has a branch in Tumwater at Trosper Road and Capitol Boulevard, but is looking at moving it to the area of Littlerock Road and Trosper Road, creating a bigger building with better access, Vance said. Nothing is official about the move just yet, he said.The company also announced an eight-cent cash dividend to be paid on Nov. 21 to all shareholders of record as of Nov. 9.On Wednesday, meanwhile, Heritages stock, which trades under the ticker symbol of HFWA, fell 18 cents to close at $13.83 a share. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $11.06 a share and $15.57 a share.