Sterling Financial Corporation Reports Increased First Quarter Earnings

Apr 24, 2001, 01:00 ET from Sterling Financial Corporation

    LANCASTER, Pa., April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ --
 Sterling Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: SLFI) announces increased earnings for
 the quarter ended March 31, 2001.
     Sterling's basic and diluted earnings per share totaled $.38 for the
 quarter ended March 31, 2001, versus $.37 in 2000, an increase of 2.7%.  Net
 income was $4,744,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2001, an increase of
 $65,000, or 1.4%, over first quarter 2000 net income of $4,679,000.
     Total assets increased to $1,765,916,000 at March 31, 2001, an increase of
 11.2% from $1,587,917,000 at March 31, 2000.  Growth was specifically noted in
 loans, which increased $64,954,000, or 6.7%, from $975,416,000 at March 31,
 2000 to $1,040,370,000 at March 31, 2001.  Total deposits increased 8.9% to
 $1,455,744,000 at March 31, 2001 from $1,337,297,000 at March 31, 2000.
     John E. Stefan, Chairman, President and CEO, noted, "We are pleased that
 we were able to post increased earnings for the first quarter of 2001 compared
 to the same quarter in 2000.  This increase was achieved despite a challenging
 interest rate environment, in which the Federal Reserve lowered rates three
 times.  These rate decreases continue to put short-term pressure on our net
 interest margin, as our variable rate interest earning assets reprice faster
 than we can reprice our deposit liabilities."
     Stefan added, "We are encouraged with the internal growth that Sterling
 has been able to achieve during the past 12 months.  Noninterest income
 (excluding securities gains) has increased 10.1%, loans have grown by 6.7%,
 and our deposit base has increased by 8.9% since March 31, 2000.  This
 internally generated growth, combined with a lower interest rate environment,
 and core processing computer system conversion should provide us continuing
 momentum in `Building a New Sterling' and increasing shareholder value."
 Stefan added, "As previously announced, the Corporation continues with its
 open market repurchase program as part of its continuing effort to enhance
 long-term shareholder value."
 
     Sterling Financial Corporation presently operates 49 banking locations in
 south central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, through its financial
 affiliates, Bank of Lancaster County, N.A., Bank of Hanover and Trust Company,
 and the First National Bank of North East and Bank of Lebanon County.
 
     This press release may contain forward-looking statements as defined by
 the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Actual results and
 trends could differ materially from those set forth in such statements due to
 various factors.  Such factors include the possibility that increased demand
 or prices for the Company's financial services and products may not occur,
 changing economic and competitive conditions, technological developments, and
 other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed in Sterling's filings
 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
 
                         STERLING FINANCIAL CORPORATION
                        Financial Highlights (Unaudited)
                 (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 
                                                 Quarter Ended March 31,
                                                 2001              2000
     EARNINGS
         Interest income                        $29,336           $26,834
         Interest expense                        15,631            13,037
         Net interest income                     13,705            13,797
         Provision for loan losses                  302               150
         Noninterest income                       9,515             8,640
         Securities gains                           479               260
         Noninterest expense                     17,380            16,379
         Net income                               4,744             4,679
 
     PER SHARE DATA
         Basic and diluted earnings per share     $0.38             $0.37
         Dividends per share                      0.190             0.185
         Book value per realized share            11.09             10.51
 
     PERIOD-END BALANCES
         Securities                            $501,754          $440,480
         Loans                                1,040,370           975,416
         Allowance for loan losses               11,174            12,017
         Total assets                         1,765,916         1,587,917
         Deposits                             1,455,744         1,337,297
         Borrowed funds                         132,348           109,053
         Stockholders' equity                   146,402           123,661
 
     RATIOS
         Return on average assets                 1.12%             1.20%
         Return on average realized equity       14.02%            14.35%
         Allowance for loan losses to
          total loans                             1.07%             1.23%
         Allowance for loan losses to
            nonperforming loans                    118%              278%
         Nonperforming loans to total loans       0.91%             0.44%
 
 
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SOURCE Sterling Financial Corporation
    LANCASTER, Pa., April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ --
 Sterling Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: SLFI) announces increased earnings for
 the quarter ended March 31, 2001.
     Sterling's basic and diluted earnings per share totaled $.38 for the
 quarter ended March 31, 2001, versus $.37 in 2000, an increase of 2.7%.  Net
 income was $4,744,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2001, an increase of
 $65,000, or 1.4%, over first quarter 2000 net income of $4,679,000.
     Total assets increased to $1,765,916,000 at March 31, 2001, an increase of
 11.2% from $1,587,917,000 at March 31, 2000.  Growth was specifically noted in
 loans, which increased $64,954,000, or 6.7%, from $975,416,000 at March 31,
 2000 to $1,040,370,000 at March 31, 2001.  Total deposits increased 8.9% to
 $1,455,744,000 at March 31, 2001 from $1,337,297,000 at March 31, 2000.
     John E. Stefan, Chairman, President and CEO, noted, "We are pleased that
 we were able to post increased earnings for the first quarter of 2001 compared
 to the same quarter in 2000.  This increase was achieved despite a challenging
 interest rate environment, in which the Federal Reserve lowered rates three
 times.  These rate decreases continue to put short-term pressure on our net
 interest margin, as our variable rate interest earning assets reprice faster
 than we can reprice our deposit liabilities."
     Stefan added, "We are encouraged with the internal growth that Sterling
 has been able to achieve during the past 12 months.  Noninterest income
 (excluding securities gains) has increased 10.1%, loans have grown by 6.7%,
 and our deposit base has increased by 8.9% since March 31, 2000.  This
 internally generated growth, combined with a lower interest rate environment,
 and core processing computer system conversion should provide us continuing
 momentum in `Building a New Sterling' and increasing shareholder value."
 Stefan added, "As previously announced, the Corporation continues with its
 open market repurchase program as part of its continuing effort to enhance
 long-term shareholder value."
 
     Sterling Financial Corporation presently operates 49 banking locations in
 south central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, through its financial
 affiliates, Bank of Lancaster County, N.A., Bank of Hanover and Trust Company,
 and the First National Bank of North East and Bank of Lebanon County.
 
     This press release may contain forward-looking statements as defined by
 the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Actual results and
 trends could differ materially from those set forth in such statements due to
 various factors.  Such factors include the possibility that increased demand
 or prices for the Company's financial services and products may not occur,
 changing economic and competitive conditions, technological developments, and
 other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed in Sterling's filings
 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
 
 
                         STERLING FINANCIAL CORPORATION
                        Financial Highlights (Unaudited)
                 (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 
                                                 Quarter Ended March 31,
                                                 2001              2000
     EARNINGS
         Interest income                        $29,336           $26,834
         Interest expense                        15,631            13,037
         Net interest income                     13,705            13,797
         Provision for loan losses                  302               150
         Noninterest income                       9,515             8,640
         Securities gains                           479               260
         Noninterest expense                     17,380            16,379
         Net income                               4,744             4,679
 
     PER SHARE DATA
         Basic and diluted earnings per share     $0.38             $0.37
         Dividends per share                      0.190             0.185
         Book value per realized share            11.09             10.51
 
     PERIOD-END BALANCES
         Securities                            $501,754          $440,480
         Loans                                1,040,370           975,416
         Allowance for loan losses               11,174            12,017
         Total assets                         1,765,916         1,587,917
         Deposits                             1,455,744         1,337,297
         Borrowed funds                         132,348           109,053
         Stockholders' equity                   146,402           123,661
 
     RATIOS
         Return on average assets                 1.12%             1.20%
         Return on average realized equity       14.02%            14.35%
         Allowance for loan losses to
          total loans                             1.07%             1.23%
         Allowance for loan losses to
            nonperforming loans                    118%              278%
         Nonperforming loans to total loans       0.91%             0.44%
 
 
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 SOURCE  Sterling Financial Corporation