First Evanston Bankcorp, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, First Bank & Trust, scored a 48 percent increase in earnings for the first half of 2011, thanks in part to increases in commercial and real estate loans.

Nevertheless, the 16-year-old institution is not ready to declare its first dividend to stockholders.

“By almost any measure,” wrote chief executive officer Robert Yohanan in a letter last week to stockholders, “the results…were exceptional.”  Net income for the January-to-July period was $1,905,000, compared with $1,291,000 for the first half of 2010.

After setting aside allowances for loan losses, the company’s net loans on June 30 amounted to $478,516,000, an increase of 20 percent over the $396,941,000 on the same date last year.

Real estate loans, at $194,099,000 were up 35 percent while commercial loans, at $163,099,000 were up 33 percent. Home equity loans, at $78,267,000, were down about 9 percent, while consumer loans, at $50,865,000, were off by about the same amount.

Other significant balance sheet items showed increases as well, with deposits, at $561,021,000, and total assets, at $629,367,000, both up about 12 percent from a year ago.

As for dividends, Yohanan explained that the bank is still in a growth mode, which requires increases in capital. “Our growth in the last 20 months,” he said, “has been spectacular, and we are poised to continue that growth.”

If the company’s planned growth fails to materialize, he said, then the board might consider paying a dividend. “However, in our current situation, with such opportunity ahead and our competitors severely weakened, we would be remiss in paying a dividend,” Yohanan explained.

Related document

First Bank & Trust Consolidated Financial Statement

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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