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Evans’ first quarter net income falls 10.5 percent

Evans Bancorp first-quarter profits fell 10.5 percent from a year ago, but the bank said its core activities were robust despite those results.

Hamburg-based Evans reported net income of $1.7 million, compared to $1.9 million a year ago. It recorded earnings per share of 40 cents, compared to 44 cents last year.

The bank’s net interest income, from making loans and taking deposits, increased 9 percent from a year ago. Evans president and CEO David J. Nasca said those gains were “muted” by the bank’s spending on technology systems and hiring more revenue-generating employees like commercial lenders and business development officers.

Evans recorded non-interest expenses of $8.5 million in the quarter, up 13.5 percent from a year ago. The largest piece of that, personnel costs, rose 15 percent from the previous year.

While that spending impacted the first quarter results, he said, the investments will pay off in the long run.

“Year over year, we had really robust balance sheet growth, which is going to drive continued earnings over a period of time,” Nasca said. Evans’ total deposits were up nearly $69 million from a year ago.

Another factor coming to the fore, he said, is KeyCorp’s planned deal for First Niagara Financial Group. Evans’ deposits increased $46 million from the fourth quarter.

“We think that that [market] disruption will continue to pay dividends to our organization going forward, but we’ve already seen a really strong start to that,” Nasca said. The bank has been running ads to try to capitalize on the planned deal.

Evans will hold its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday morning in Hamburg.