Community bankers in Idaho are enjoying a booming economy that has put their earnings on a record pace for the year. And they see little sign of a slowdown.

"We just have a tremendous general economy," said Belton Patty, the state's finance director. "I would imagine it will be a record year. I see nothing on the horizon that says '94 isn't going to be as good as '93."

As of June 30, the state's 13 community banks earned $5.9 million, up 11.3% from the prior year.

Mr. Patty expects the state's 20 banks, which include several institutions owned by out-of-state holding companies, to post a 1.10% return on average assets.

"If you are not going to make money in Idaho now, you are never going to make money," Mr. Patty said.

Many Factors

What's driving profits? To be sure, home refinancings and wide net interest margins have played a big factor. But in Boise, computer firms and manufacturers are hiring. In the mean time, cities in the northern reaches have benefited from a marked increase in tourism, and home building has sured as people from California and Hawaii have moved into the state.

"We are riding the wave up here," said Charles L. Bauer, president of Panhandle State Bank in Sandpoint, which is about 40 miles from the Canadian border. "Weare seeing a lot of immigration of people who . . . are bringing with them their money, their expertise, and their businesses."

No Worries

Panhandle's assets are growing at a 25% clip. Mr. Bauer said he expects the bank to make about $1 million for 1993, up 30% from the year before.

"Our challenge is to recognize that it may not and will not last forever," Mr. Bauer said. "I think it will last for two or three more years before we see it leveling off."

Mr. Patty said things are so good in the state he doesn't have any problem banks to worry about.Profit LeadersThe top 10 small banks in Idaho are:(*) Return Assets on assets (millions)Farmers National Bank of Buhl 2.65% $105Panhandle State Bank,Sandpoint 2.03 55Farmers and Merchants StateBank, Meridian 1.95 32American Bank of Commerce,Boise 1.68 72Bank of Commerce, Idaho Falls 1.59 219Tristate Bank and Trust, 1.45 20MontpelierIreland Bank, Malad City 1.24 54D.L. Evans Bank, Burley 1.06 70Idaho State Bank, Glenns Ferry 0.94 47Bank of Eastern Idaho,Idaho Falls 1.93 35Bank of Eastern Idaho,Idaho Falls 1.93 35(*) Banks that have assets of less than $1 billion andthat are not owned by holding companies with morethat $1 billion of assets. Second-quarter '93 data,based on net income before extraordinary items.

Idaho Has 16 Small Banks As of June 30, they: * Held $2.2 billion of assets, or 0.57%

more than their yearend 1992 total * Had a 0.18% ratio of other real estate

owned to assets * Had a 85.85% ratio of loans to deposits * Returned 1.00% an average assets(*) * Returned 10.91% on average equity(*) * Averaged a 11.96% ratio of Tier 1

capital to risk-based assets (*) Based on net income before extraordinary items [GRAPHS OMITTED]

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