Stellar Business Bank on Tuesday said that it moved from a loss to a profit in the third quarter, aided by lower interest expenses and a rise in interest and loan fee income.

The Covina community business bank reported net income of $64,475, compared with a net loss of $438,574 a year earlier. The improvement in net income was primarily the result of a $923,000 decrease in interest expenses and an increase of $306,000 in interest and loan fee income. The bank, which opened in 2007, said it also profited by an increase in SBA lending activities, and made an unspecified gain on sale of some SBA loans it had earlier made.

At the end of the quarter, the bank had total assets of more than $103 million, down 2 percent, and total deposits of $72.5 million, down 12 percent. Total loans fell 50 percent to $51.1 million.

“While we are pleased with the improving trends in our operational performance … 2010 will continue to be challenging for the economy, banking and financial institutions in general, and for newer or de novo banking institutions in particular, like Stellar,” Chief Executive Timothy P. Walbridge said in a statement.

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