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Quarter's earnings boost People's Bank

After a stellar third quarter, People's Bank of Commerce is poised to turn in its best annual performance since 2006.

The Medford-based community bank reported a 62 percent gain in earnings to $252,000, or 21 cents per share, compared with $155,000, or 13 cents per share, for the same period in 2011.

Through nine months, People's Bank netted $676,000, a 114 percent gain over the $315,000 seen through September 2011.

After crawling out of the recession in which it took its share of lumps, People's Bank has bounced back nicely, officials said.

"The trend certainly suggests this will be our best year since 2006 when the bank earned $1.2 million — our all time high," said Chief Financial Officer Russ Milburn. "Right now we feel really good and think the economy has improved. We still see unemployment as a big concern. Does 10.6 percent unemployment, while it's 1 percent better than a year ago, mean we've gone from really terrible to just terrible? On the other hand, we see businesses that are doing well."

With cautious optimism after 13 consecutive positive quarters, People's Bank of Commerce is taking aim at the $1.19 million net earnings it reported in 2005 and the record $1.213 million it earned in 2006.

As the bank gears up for a move to its new headquarters and branch office at the corner of Barnett Road and Highland Drive in mid-November, its assets have grown to $137 million from about $83 million in 2006.

The bank reported net interest income was up 16 percent because of strong loan growth. Mortgage lending income for the third quarter was $413,000, up 185 percent from the same period in 2011. Non-interest income grew 36 percent during the quarter as well.

"It is very satisfying to report significant mortgage lending income, which reflects an energized local residential real estate market," said Ken Trautman, president and chief executive officer. "This is in stark contrast to last year's report of reduced mortgage lending income, reflective of a slow residential real estate market."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email business@mailtribune.com.