Westamerica in San Rafael, Calif., reported lower quarterly earnings largely because of a narrower net interest margin.

The $4.9 billion-asset company reported Wednesday that its earnings fell nearly 10% from a year earlier, to $15.2 million. Earnings per share of 58 cents were in line with the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Westamerica's net interest income fell 8%, to $37.9 million, because of low market interest rates and a portfolio holding lower-yielding, shorter-duration securities. The net interest margin compressed by 35 basis points to 3.66%.

Noninterest income fell 9%, to $13.1 million, because of a decrease in merchant processing fees, service charges on deposit accounts and loan principal recoveries.

Noninterest expenses fell slightly, to $26.6 million, due to lower costs tied to foreclosures and reduced personnel costs.

Nonperforming assets fell by roughly 50%, to $26 million.

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