Los Angeles Business Journal

Loan Generation Fuels East West's Quarter

By Deborah Crowe Thursday, January 19, 2012

East West Bancorp Inc. said its fourth quarter profit doubled as the county’s second largest local bank grew its loan portfolio.

After the markets closed on Thursday, the Pasadena holding company of East West Bank, reported net income of $64.5 million (43 cents a share), compared with $32.2 million (22 cents) in the same period a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Capital IQ expected the company to report earnings of 41 cents a share.

Net interest income before provision for loan losses rose 7 percent to $229 million. Noninterest income improved from a $17 million loss to income of $937,000. Total loans not covered by government programs rose 18 percent to a record $10.6 billion fueled by commercial and trade finance loans and single family loans.

Full-year earnings rose 49 percent to $245 million ($1.60), the highest amount in the company’s history. Charge-offs and provision levels fell 45 percent to $112 million from 2010.

“Although the current environment continues to pose challenges for the financial services industry, East West has been able to outperform many of its peers,” Chief Executive Dominic Ng said in a statement. “As we look to 2012, we are confident in our ability to prudently grow the balance sheet, improve our earnings power and return strong value to our shareholders.”

East West currently estimates its full-year earnings this year to range from $1.72 to $1.76 a share.

Shares earlier closed down 37 cents, or 1.7 percent, to $21.39 on the Nasdaq.