People’s Bank of Commerce rode a solid economy to a profitable first quarter.

The Medford-based community bank reported net income of $528,000, or 23 cents per share, compared to $298,000, or 13 cents per share a year ago.

During the past 12 months, People's Bank has grown its earnings 48 percent, reflecting greater demand for commercial lending.

"During the past year, we've increased market share, particularly in commercial real estate," People's Bank Chief Financial Officer Russ Milburn said. "We're the only locally owned commercial bank south of Eugene. We've expanded our customer base, but most of that has come from other institutions."

When large certificates of deposit came due in late 2016, rather than renew, Milburn said, People's Bank decided it would be better off without the money on its books, rather than paying to keep money in its coffers.

"We helped those customers find a better place for their money," Milburn said.

Meanwhile, the bank's lending mushroomed to $200 million — the most the bank has ever had at the end of a quarter — from $175 million in March 2016.

"People are feeling better about the economy and are spending more money," Milburn said. "When they do, businesses do better and come to us for money to expand."

People's Bank is in the middle of its peer pack — institutions with two or more branches with assets from $200 million to $500 million.

"The local economy has been good to us," Milburn said. "But the Willamette Valley has seen a robust economy for the past couple of years."

During the quarter, lending expanded 14 percent, deposits declined 1 percent and non-interest income jumped 57 percent.

Mortgage-related income soared 102 percent compared to the first three months of 2016 as the bank added staff and made bigger loans.

"Many larger homes in the area have experienced long overdue price appreciation, allowing owners to refinance," said Steve Erb, chief banking officer.

People's Bank shares remained unchanged Wednesday, trading at $11.65.

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/EconomicEdge.