People's Bank comes out ahead in quarter

People's Bank of Commerce's bottom line is dragging a bit as it pours resources into incremental growth.

The only local bank based in Medford made money in the third quarter, but just enough to buy a median-priced home in Jackson County.

Nonetheless, the East Barnett Road-based bank demonstrated it could expand again, raise $5 million through a stock offering and add to its coffers.

People's Bank reported third-quarter earnings of $223,000, or 14 cents per share, down 12 percent from a year ago, when it socked away $252,000, or 20 cents per share.

"Personnel expenses associated with our newest branch offices in Medford and Grants Pass have resulted in increased non-interest expenses reducing net income during the period," said President and CEO Ken Trautman.

"Per-share earnings in the third quarter were affected by the nearly 500,000 shares of common stock added during the quarter."

Mortgage lending income in the third quarter decreased 51 percent, compared with the year before, as higher home-loan interest rates reduced the incentive to refinance. Aside from mortgage application fees, however, non-interest income rose 39 percent.

Non-interest expenses showed an increase of 11 percent over the same period last year.

Through nine months, People's Bank has earned $585,000 in 2013, 13.5 percent off 2012's corresponding figure of $676,000.

The bank saw loans pick up 16 percent and deposits grow 22 percent, primarily because borrowers were looking for a local alternative, Trautman said.

"The opening of our new administrative offices, loan center and branch in November of 2012 has assisted us greatly in our growth over the last year," Trautman said, noting People's now has a branch in Grants Pass.

The bank's reduced loan loss provision was $154,000 for the first nine months, compared to $242,000 for the first nine months of 2012.

"At the end of the quarter, the bank has only one foreclosed property on its books," Trautman said.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, and read his blog at Edge.

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