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Farmers & Merchants Bank Sees Profit Rise 41%

Long Beach-based Farmers & Merchants Bank said profit grew roughly 41% in the first quarter that ended March 31 versus the same period a year earlier.

The bank’s assets also grew to $10.5 billion in the first quarter compared to $9.9 billion at the end of 2020.

John Hinrichs, executive vice president of Farmers & Merchants, said the 6.1% growth in assets in one quarter was due to the Paycheck Protection Program, a $953-billion business loan program established by the U.S. government in 2020 through a coronavirus relief bailout to help businesses pay their workers. PPP allows entities to apply for low-interest private loans to pay for their payroll and certain other costs.

Farmers & Merchants said first-quarter profit rose to $25.3 million, up from $17.9 million in the first quarter of 2020.

With $9.4 billion in assets as of June 30, 2020, Farmers & Merchants ranked No. 7 on the Business Journal’s most recent list of the largest banks headquartered in Los Angeles County.

“The bank’s conservative policies and disciplined business approach enabled us to respond quickly and effectively to the challenges posed," Farmers & Merchants Bank President Henry Walker said in a statement.

The Bank’s provision for loan losses in the first quarter of 2021 was $2 million vs. $800,000 in the first quarter of 2020. The bank’s allowance for loan losses as a percentage of loans outstanding was 1.32% at March 31, compared with 1.44% in the same year-ago period.

At March 31, outstanding loans totaled $5.5 billion, up nearly 4% from $5.3 billion at the end of 2020. Deposits totaled $8.24 billion at the end of the March 31 quarter, up about 8% from $7.6 billion at the end of 2020.

During the first quarter of 2021, the bank repurchased 139 shares of its common stock at an average price of $7,714.91 per share. The $20 million stock repurchase program, which was announced in April 2020, expires Dec. 31.

The stock closed at $8,100 a share on April 15, up $97 from the previous day’s session.

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