Commercial, single-family and multifamily loans drove second-quarter growth at East West Bancorp in Pasadena, Calif.

The $35.9 billion-asset company reported a profit of $118.3 million, a 14.5% increase from the year-earlier period. Its earnings per share were 81 cents, a penny better than the consensus analyst estimate compiled by FactSet Research Systems.

Total loans increased by 12% to $26.9 billion.

Commercial loans increased by 11.4% to $10.2 billion, single-family loans increased by 24.7% to $4 billion, and multifamily loans increased by 31.5% to $1.8 billion.

Dominic Ng, chairman and CEO of East West Bancorp.
Word to Washington
“East West Bank has been benefiting for the last several years from investment in China” and hopes U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators pursue mutually beneficial trade agreements, Chairman and CEO Dominic Ng said.

Net interest income rose 14.3% to $290.1 million, and noninterest income rose 7.1% to $47.4 million on the back of stronger derivatives, wealth management, credit-related and other fees.

Meanwhile, nonperforming assets fell 33% to $132.9 million.

Total noninterest expense increased by 13.6% to 169.1 million and was driven by higher compensation and benefits costs, spending on software and a large charge in amortization of tax credit and other investments.

Company executives said in a conference call Thursday that they hope that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross focus on constructive “win-win solutions” in trade deal negotiations with China.

East West provides trade-finance-related loans and other products, mostly to U.S. companies that trade with China and other Asian countries.

Lenders that do extensive trade-finance business have been raising concerns for months about how President Trump's "America First" trade policy will affect them. Dominic Ng, East West's chairman and CEO, said early in the year that he feared the possibility of a trade war and a "meltdown" in global markets.

He sounded less dire on Thursday yet still advised caution on the part of policymakers.

“East West Bank has been benefiting for the last several years from investment in China,” Ng said. In describing the business entities it does business with, he said: "While they are really from China, they work just like a U.S. entity.”

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