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Evans Bancorp reports 11% increase in first-quarter net income

Evans Bancorp reported an 11 percent increase in its first-quarter net income, as its chief executive officer said he sees encouraging trends in the bank’s performance.

“The momentum in earnings and growth is continuing to build here,” said David J. Nasca, president and CEO of the Hamburg-based parent of Evans Bank.

Evans reported net income of $2 million, compared with $1.8 million a year ago. It recorded diluted earnings per share of 47 cents, which increased from 43 cents from a year ago and was in line with analysts’ estimates.

Nasca said the bank’s quarterly results were fueled by growth in loans, deposits and its wealth management business. “Really in a lot of sectors, we’re having success,” he said. Evans’ loans increased by 12.5 percent from a year earlier, which Nasca said was due in part to “increased production. We’re out there getting our fair share of projects.”

Evans’ total deposits rose by 3.4 percent, or $23.6 million, from a year ago. “There’s been some cross-sell activity,” Nasca said. “On top of that, we’ve been adding new customers. But we’re working very hard to make sure we’re looking at their full portfolio of needs and serving that full portfolio of needs.”

The bank’s wealth-management business benefited from the hiring of more personnel to focus on that area, Nasca said. “We started out a little below peer averages,” he said, “but we’re making up great ground there.”

Evans’ non-interest income increased by 2.6 percent from a year ago, to $3.4 million. It reported a 7.7 percent increase in non-interest expenses from a year ago, which was due to a 9.5 percent increase in personnel expenses, such as from hiring to support the wealth management business.

“We would anticipate to continue making strategic investments like that, but we also anticipate that revenue will increase following those investments, as well,” said Gary A. Kajtoch, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Nasca said the bank has been growing “very fast, so we continue to try to be out in front of that growth by building our structure with investments in people, processes, systems.”

What is Nasca’s view of the state of the local economy? “I think we’re optimistic that things are improving. I think the further we go, we’re putting the 2008 financial crisis in the rearview mirror. We’re seeing the results of our efforts sort of pay off.”

Evans’ annual meeting is scheduled for this morning in Orchard Park.