Northwest Bancshares announces 1Q decline

Northwest Bancshares, Inc. announced Monday net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 of $14.6 million, or $0.16 per diluted share.

This represents a decrease of $658,000, or 4.3 percent, over the same quarter last year when net income was $15.3 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, and a decrease of $5.8 million, or 28.1 percent, compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2013 when net income was $20.4 million, or $0.22 per diluted share.

The annualized returns on average shareholders’ equity and average assets for the current quarter were 5.16 percent and 0.75 percent compared to 5.45 percent and 0.78 percent for the same quarter last year and 7.06 percent and 1.02 percent for the quarter ended December 31, 2013.

The company also announced that its board of directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.13 per share in addition to the $1.00 special dividend announced on April 14. Both dividends are payable on May 15 to shareholders of record as of May 1 with an ex-dividend date, as established by Nasdaq, of April 29. This represents the 78th consecutive quarter in which the company has paid a cash dividend.

In making this announcement, William J. Wagner, president and CEO, said, “Our operating results for the first quarter did not meet our expectations due primarily to the deterioration of two commercial loans. However, core earnings remained relatively consistent with little change in our net interest margin during the quarter, a 6.3 percent increase in fee-based income from a year ago and a 3.3 percent year-over-year increase in operating expense. Market reaction to the $1.00 per share special dividend has been positive. We are hopeful that the significant increase in the market value of our shares that followed the announcement will enable Northwest to achieve greater success in pursuing mergers and acquisitions that are beneficial to our shareholders. Finally, we were pleased to learn that Forbes named our company to its list of America’s 50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies.”

Net interest income decreased by $3.1 million, or 4.8 percent, to $60.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, from $64.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, as decreases in interest income on loans receivable and investment securities of $3.6 million and $881,000, respectively, were partially offset by a $1.3 million decrease in interest paid on deposit accounts. These changes from the previous year were due primarily to the continued low level of market interest rates.

Headquartered in Warren, Northwest Bancshares, Inc. is the holding company of Northwest Savings Bank.