NewBridge has 22 percent drop in net income

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — NewBridge Bancorp reported Thursday a 22 percent decline in first-quarter net income to $3.1 million, as merger costs and higher expenses more than offset an increase in loan revenue.

When excluding a preferred stock dividend of $337,000, the Greensboro bank would have had $3.45 million in net income.

Diluted earnings were down 2 cents to 11 cents a share. The average forecast was 12 cents by three analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

NewBridge reported taking $88,000 in merger-related charges connected to its recently completed purchase of Security Savings Bank of Southport. As expected, personnel costs were up at 6.6 percent to $8.34 million.

Revenue from loans was up 17.1 percent to $16.5 million, while revenue from fees was down 7.4 percent to $4.33 million. The bank reported no gain in sale of investment securities, compared with a $208,000 gain in the first quarter of 2013.

Pressley Ridgill, the bank’s president and chief executive, said the bank had pre-tax core net income of $5.4 million, up $916,000 year over year.

“We were able to achieve these results through the effective execution of our growth strategies, which rely heavily on organic growth bolstered by strategic acquisitions,” Ridgill said.

Besides the Security Savings purchase, the bank completed its purchase of CapStone Bank of Raleigh on April 1. The bank said Monday it was cutting 5 percent of its workforce, or 22 jobs, as part of restructuring its branch operations.

Like most large and community banks serving the Triad, NewBridge benefited from more improvements in its loan portfolio as more consumers were able to make on-time loan payments.

The bank reduced its provision for loan losses to $144,000 compared with $979,000 a year ago. Lowering the provision is considered to be a key financial metric given that it comes off banks’ bottom lines.

Nonperforming assets were at $18.5 million on March 31 compared with $16.9 million on Dec. 31 and $24.2 million on March 31, 2013. Net charge-offs were at $259,000 on March 31 compared with $1.48 million on Dec. 31 and $1.5 million on March 31, 2013.