Premier Financial Bancorp (PFBI) in Huntington, W.Va., reported an increase in its quarterly profit that was driven largely by loan sales and improved asset quality.
The $1.1 billion-asset company said Thursday that it earned $3 million, or 36 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, up 13% from the fourth quarter of 2011. The improvement was aided by a $2.7 million rise in profits from loan sales and a $2.5 million decrease in chargeoffs, which offset a decline in interest income and rising expenses.
Premier's quarterly net interest income declined 6%, to $10.3 million, and its provision for loan losses rose 171%, to $1.3 million. The company said that the sluggish economy contributed to the higher loss provision and slowed its liquidation of foreclosed properties.
Noninterest income held steady at $1.7 million, while its noninterest expenses rose 10%, to $8.7 million. The company attributed the rise in noninterest expenses mainly to higher real estate costs.
For the year, Premier's profit rose 44%, to $10.2 million.