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Earnings, lending increase at Southern California regional banks

July 17, 2013|By E. Scott Reckard
  • Dominic Ng is chairman and chief executive of East West Bancorp in Pasadena, the largest of several Southern California banks that reported improved earnings Wednesday
Dominic Ng is chairman and chief executive of East West Bancorp in Pasadena,… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Megabanks aren't the only financial firms to meet or beat expectations this earnings season.

Many California regional banks are reporting stronger earnings and putting new loans on their books, thanks to the improving economy and progress in dealing with fallout from the financial bust. 

Pasadena-based East West Bancorp, the largest Chinese American bank, said after the markets closed Wednesday that it earned $74 million during the second quarter, up 5% from $70.5 million a year earlier. Per-share earnings rose 11% to 52 cents, beating Wall Street expectations by a penny.

Dominic Ng, East West's chairman and chief executive, said the bank’s loan portfolio totaled $16.3 billion as of June 30, an increase of $921 million, or 6%, for the quarter. The bank revised its guidance for full-year 2013 earnings upward by a nickel, saying it expected a profit of $2.04 to $2.09 a share.

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L.A.'s Cathay General Bancorp, which is also focused on ethnic Chinese customers and reported its results late in the day, earned $29.9 million, the same as a year earlier. Per-share earnings rose from 33 cents to 35 cents, meeting Wall Street expectations.

Cathay Chairman and CEO Dunson Cheng said loan growth of $330 million during the quarter included increases in business lending and mortgages on housing and commercial properties.

CVB Financial Corp., the Ontario-based parent of Citizens Business Bank, also reported financial results after trading closed, saying it earned $24.5 million for the quarter, up 4% from $23.6 million a year ago. Per-share earnings of 23 cents beat Wall Street estimates of 21 cents. 

San Francisco's First Republic Bank, a private banking specialist that went public in 2010, said early Wednesday that its profit jumped 16% to $113.7 million, or 77 cents a share, far above the average analyst projection of 63 cents reported by Zachs Investment Research. The bank's shares rose 5% to $41.80, a record high.

City National Corp. of Los Angeles, also focused on private banking for wealthy individuals, is scheduled to report its financial results Thursday and SVB Financial Group in Santa Clara, the parent of Silicon Valley Bank, on Monday.

Major banks that have beaten analysts' second-quarter forecasts include Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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