Hanmi Financial Corp. in Los Angeles on Thursday reported its first profitable quarter in more than two years.

The $2.9 billion-asset company earned $5.3 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $35.9 million a year earlier. Hanmi had last turned a profit in the third quarter of 2008.

At 4 cents a share, the profit beat the average of analysts' expectations by 11 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. The earnings surprise sent the stock 21%, with shares closing at $1.42 Thursday.

Hanmi attributed the profit to lower credit costs. Its loan-loss provision fell 93.5% from a year earlier, to $5 million. Nonperforming assets fell 29% from a year earlier, to $173.1 million, or 5.95% of total assets.

Hanmi returned to well-capitalized status with a total risk-based capital ratio of 12.23% at Dec. 31. It is seeking a $240 million capital infusion from South Korea's Woori Finance Holdings Co. Ltd. The deal expired Dec. 31, but Hanmi has said it is still pursuing an investment from Woori and is considering other capital sources.

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