MUSKEGON — Community Shores Bank Corp. posted strong third-quarter results, recording its largest earnings ever, despite a soft economy and lower interest rates that squeezed lending margins.
The Muskegon-based Community Shores, founded in January 1999, posted third-quarter earnings of $165,311, or 14 cents per share. That compares with a net loss of $106,019, or 9 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.
The good showing was attributed to the growth in the bank’s customer base, President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Infante said.
“Despite some soft economic pockets, business is robust and we are optimistic about the fourth quarter and the coming year,” Infante said. “We had a great quarter. Going forward, business is there and we’re just going to keep growing.”
Community Shores, with three branch offices in the Muskegon area, is presently looking for ways to expand. Bank directors had planned to develop a fourth office this year or next, but that move has been delayed, Infante said.
The bank now is considering adding personnel to bring in new business, as well as the possibility that an existing bank branch within the market may come up for sale, he said.
“We’re going to look and see and hold off a little bit. There are some opportunities that may spring up,” Infante said.
Through the first nine months of 2001, Community Shores posted earnings of $200,965, or 17 cents per share. That compares with a nine-month loss of $426,511, or 36 cents per share, through three quarters of 2000.
During the year, the bank’s assets have grown to $142.3 million as of Sept. 30, from $125.1 million as of Dec. 31 and $115.1 million from the third quarter of 2000.
Deposits grew to $108.9 million as of the end of September, from $97.8 million at the beginning of 2001 and $90.7 million at the end of the third quarter last year.
While the weakened economy has limited growth, business remains strong, especially in commercial lending, Infante said.
“We have customers, while they’re being a little cautious, they’re still expanding their business,” he said.
The strong lending growth, coupled with falling interest rates, put pressure on margins, although the banks remains “real happy with our margins,” Infante said. The bank was able to gather “substantial” income from fees on mortgage lending and refinancing activity, he said.