Strong loan growth and improved efficiency powered ServisFirst Bancshares in Birmingham, Ala., to its 10th consecutive quarter of record earnings in the quarter that ended June 30.

The $2.6 billion-asset company said Tuesday that it earned $8.2 million in the quarter, up 41% from the same period last year. For the first six months of the year, earnings were up nearly 53%, to $16.4 million.

ServisFirst attributed the earnings growth to a 30% increase in total loans, to $2 billion, which helped boost its net interest income by almost 20%, to $19.8 million, Meanwhile, its efficiency ratio fell from 47.24% a year earlier to 39.06%, which is well below the industry average.

Credit quality was mixed. The company reported a 42% increase in foreclosed real estate, to $9.8 million. ServisFirst's provision for loan losses more than doubled, to $3.1 million, year over year. Still, the ratio of nonperforming assets to total loans fell to 1.08% from 1.79% a year earlier.

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