Investors of Preferred Bank, a commercial lending firm in downtown Los Angeles, have reason to smile after the firm bested Wall Street projections in its latest earnings report.
That’s because the bank’s shares rose nearly 9 percent to close at $34.36 for the week ended Oct. 28, making it one of last week’s top gainers on the LABJ Stock Index.
“We just have more people drumming up new business and calling on new businesses for a bank of our size,” said Edward Czajka, Preferred’s chief financial officer. “We’re able to look at a lot more transactions and relationships than peers of our size.”
Preferred has total assets of about $2.3 billion.
On Oct. 20, the bank reported third-quarter earnings of $7.9 million (57 cents a share), an increase of approximately 19 percent from the same period a year ago. Wall Street analysts had projected earnings of 53 cents a share for the quarter.
The earnings come as Preferred plans to close its acquisition of United International Bank of New York, a small Chinese-American firm, next month.
While terms have not been disclosed, the price will be derived from United International’s total shareholder equity as of five days before the deal closes, plus $1.2 million. As of March 31, United International had approximately $179 million in total assets.
“We don’t expect there to be any glitches or delays because it was relatively inexpensive for us,” said Czajka, who added that the transaction offered an opportunity for Preferred to enter the Chinese-American market on the East Coast. Preferred, which has 12 full-service branches in California, serves a large number of customers from East Asia.
The bank’s linked loan and linked deposit growth also topped analysts’ projections.
Chicago’s Zacks Equity Research said in a research memo that the bank’s stock might be on the right path.
“We certainly think that this might be the case, particularly if you consider (Preferred)’s recent earnings estimate revision activity,” the note said. “From this look, the company’s future is quite favorable.”
Czajka has similar sentiments about the company’s growth potential.
“We continue to exceed what’s expected of us, so our goal is to continue to do that,” he said.
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