Oriental Financial Group reported Monday earnings of $20.3 million for the first quarter of the year, representing $0.42 per share diluted, compared to $16.6 million, or $0.35 per share diluted, in the preceding quarter, and $17.7 million, or $0.37 per share, in the first quarter of 2013.
The quarterly results included a gain on the sale of securities of $4.4 million, the bank said.
Net interest margin continued strong at 5.90 percent compared to 6.01 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, which benefited from some non-recurring items.
“OFG has delivered another strong quarter — our fifth consecutive one — since the close of the BBVA PR acquisition. We continued to show impressive growth in book value and capital, with little or no noise in the numbers,” said OFG President José Rafael Fernández.
“In particular, our innovative products and high service levels are building our franchise and brand value by attracting new customers, expanding core deposits, and lowering cost of funds. Employee enthusiasm and growth momentum positions us well to be successful and differentiate Oriental in the market,” he said.
The most recent results showed that OFG’s credit quality continued to improve, with declines in the non-performing loan rate for the fourth quarter in a row and in net charge offs ratio for the third straight quarter, both excluding acquired loans.
Puerto Rico government related loan and investment security balances (excluding obligations of municipalities) fell 13.6 percent, to $545.5 million at Mar. 31, from $631.6 million at Dec. 31, 2013.
Cost of deposits fell by 7 basis points, to 80 bps, from the fourth quarter of 2013, as OFG successfully grew demand and savings account balances in both dollars and as a proportion of deposits.
“Puerto Rico has made some good progress in addressing its fiscal situation and in meeting its immediate liquidity needs,” Fernández said. “While the economic environment is still challenging, we have proven our ability over the years to navigate such conditions.”
Late in the first quarter of 2014, OFG repurchased a total of 707,400 common shares, at an average price of $14.66 per share, as part of its current stock repurchase program.
“Looking beyond 2014, we expect a notable increase in reported earnings as non-cash, amortization of the FDIC indemnification asset will be significantly lower,” he said.