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East West Bancorp's profit climbs 21%

The Pasadena-based bank reports delinquent loans and other nonperforming assets in the first quarter fell 53% from a year earlier to 0.77% of total assets. Revenue rose 9.5%.

April 18, 2012|By E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times

East West Bancorp reported a 21% jump in first-quarter earnings, with an increased profit margin on lending and fewer troubled loans.

The Pasadena company, the nation's largest Asian American bank, said Tuesday that it earned $68.1 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with $56.1 million, or 37 cents, a year earlier. Revenue, a challenge for many banks as the economy slowly recovers, rose 9.5% to $240.6 million from $219.8 million.

The results, which beat Wall Street estimates by 2 cents a share, represented "another solid quarter" for East West, with steady increases in its portfolios of home mortgages and commercial and trade finance loans, RBC Capital Markets analyst Joe Morford said. Total assets rose to $21.7 billion from $21.1 billion a year earlier.

East West Chairman Dominic Ng said growth in deposits to $17.3 billion from $16.4 billion was accompanied by a shift in the mix, with low-cost commercial deposits rising and higher-cost certificates of deposit falling. The average interest rate the bank paid on deposits was 0.47%, down from 0.66% a year earlier.

Delinquent loans and other nonperforming assets fell 53% from a year earlier to 0.77% of total assets. Loans charged off as uncollectable declined 11%.

East West reported the financial results after the markets closed. Its shares rose 46 cents, or 2.1%, to $22.49 in regular trading.

scott.reckard@latimes.com

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