Home BancShares in Conway, Ark., reported higher quarterly profit that reflected its latest push in southern Florida.

The $14.3 billion-asset company said in a press release Thursday that its first-quarter profit rose by 56% from a year earlier, to $73.1 million, or 42 cents a share. The results were skewed by Home's 2017 purchase of Stonegate Bank in Miami.

Net interest income increased by 30% to $136.2 million. Total loans rose by 40% to $148.1 million, reflecting a 32% increase in the real estate portfolio and a 31% rise in commercial and industrial loans. Agriculture and consumer loans fell.

The net interest margin narrowed by 24 basis points to 4.46%.

The loan-loss provision fell 59% to $1.6 million. Net charge-offs fell by 53% to $1.7 million. Nonperforming assets decreased by 9% to $69.6 million.

Noninterest income decreased by 2.5% to $25.8 million. A decline in mortgage lending income offset higher service charges on deposit accounts.

Noninterest expense rose by 15% to $63.4 million. Salaries, occupancy and equipment expenses rose after the Stonegate deal closed. Home completed its system conversion of Stonegate during the first quarter.

The company’s efficiency ratio fell to 37.83% from 40.76%.

EXPLANATION REQUIRED: "I know we've got to answer to the world with this … but if my team read it right, these loans are really good," Home Bancshares Chairman John W. Allison said of a recent push into national CRE lending.
Home, under the leadership of Chairman Johnny Allison, has grown significantly through acquisitions.

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