Wintrust Financial Corporation Reports Record First Quarter Earnings Ahead 25% Over Prior Year

Apr 20, 2001, 01:00 ET from Wintrust Financial Corporation

    LAKE FOREST, Ill., April 20 /PRNewswire Interactive Press Release/ --
 Wintrust Financial Corporation ("Wintrust") (Nasdaq:   WTFC) announced record
 quarterly net income of $3.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2001,
 an increase of $782,000, or 25%, over the $3.1 million recorded in the first
 quarter of 2000.  On a per share basis, net income for the first quarter
 of 2001 totaled $0.44 per diluted common share, a $0.09 per share, or
 26%, increase as compared to the 2000 first quarter total of $0.35 per diluted
 common share.  Included in the first quarter of 2001, is a cumulative effect
 of a change in accounting for interest rate caps, which resulted in an
 after-tax charge of $254,000, or $0.03 per diluted share.  The return on
 average equity for the first quarter of 2001 increased to 15.39% from
 13.32% for the prior year quarter.
     Total assets rose to $2.17 billion at March 31, 2001, an increase of
 $395 million, or 22%, compared to $1.77 billion a year ago, and an increase of
 $64 million, or 3%, since December 31, 2000.  Total deposits as of March 31,
 2001 were $1.92 billion, an increase of $383 million, or 25%, as compared to
 $1.53 billion at March 31, 2000, and an increase of $90 million, or 5%, since
 year-end 2000.  Total loans grew to $1.66 billion as of March 31, 2001, a
 $348 million, or 27%, increase over the $1.31 billion balance as of a year
 ago, and a $98 million, or 6%, increase since December 31, 2000.
     For the first quarter of 2001, net interest income totaled $17.3 million
 and increased $3.4 million, or 25%, as compared to the prior year quarterly
 total of $13.9 million.  Non-interest income totaled $6.9 million for the
 first quarter of 2001 and increased $2.6 million, or 60%, over the first
 quarter of 2000.  The increase was mainly a result of increases in fees from
 originating and selling residential mortgage loans into the secondary market
 and from fees from ongoing transactions designed to increase the returns on
 certain U.S. Treasury and agency securities in the Company's investment
 portfolio.  Partially offsetting these increases was a decline in gains
 on the sale of premium finance receivables.  Non-interest expense totaled
 $16.0 million for the first quarter of 2001 and increased $3.9 million, or
 32%, over the first quarter of 2000.  Increases are attributable to the
 general growth of the Company's balance sheet and fee-based businesses.  The
 net overhead ratio declined to 1.75% from 1.84% in the prior year quarter.
     "We are very pleased with the continued growth in earnings and assets in
 the first quarter," commented Edward J. Wehmer, President and Chief Executive
 Officer.  "We are working diligently to continue our unique growth story while
 improving our earnings level and we remain comfortable that we will be able to
 meet or exceed the analysts' consensus earnings estimate for 2001 of $1.84 per
 share."
     Wintrust's key operating measures continue to show impressive growth rates
 in 2001 as compared to the prior year as evidenced by the table below:
 
                                            Quarter      Quarter     Percent
                                             Ended        Ended   Improvement
      In thousands, except                  3/31/01     3/31/00
        per share data
 
      Net income                             $3,904       $3,122      25.1%
      Net income per common
       share - Diluted                        $0.44        $0.35      25.7%
 
      Net revenues                          $24,126      $18,146      33.0%
      Net interest income                   $17,276      $13,868      24.6%
 
      Net interest margin                     3.67%        3.65%       0.5%
      Core net interest
       margin(a)                              3.94%        3.84%       2.6%
      Net overhead ratio                      1.75%        1.84%       4.9%
      Return on average assets                0.75%        0.73%       2.7%
      Return on average equity               15.39%       13.32%      15.5%
 
      Total assets                       $2,166,630   $1,771,891      22.3%
      Total loans, net of
       unearned income                   $1,655,543   $1,307,796      26.6%
      Total deposits                     $1,916,756   $1,533,661      25.0%
 
      Book value per common
       share                                 $12.29       $10.83      13.5%
 
      (a) Core net interest margin excludes interest expense associated with
          the Company's Trust Preferred Securities.
 
     Wintrust is a financial services holding company whose common stock is
 traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market(R).  Its seven suburban Chicago community
 bank subsidiaries, each of which was founded as a de novo bank since December
 1991, are located in high income retail markets -- Lake Forest Bank & Trust
 Company, Hinsdale Bank & Trust Company, North Shore Community Bank & Trust
 Company in Wilmette, Libertyville Bank & Trust Company, Barrington Bank &
 Trust Company, Crystal Lake Bank & Trust Company and Northbrook Bank & Trust
 Company.  The banks also operate facilities in Lake Bluff, Highwood, Glencoe,
 Winnetka, Clarendon Hills, Western Springs, Skokie, Wauconda and McHenry,
 Illinois.  Additionally, the Company operates three non-bank subsidiaries.
 First Insurance Funding Corporation, one of the largest commercial insurance
 premium finance companies operating in the United States, serves commercial
 loan customers throughout the country.  Wintrust Asset Management Company, a
 trust subsidiary, allows Wintrust to service customers' trust and investment
 needs at each banking location.  Tricom, Inc. of Milwaukee provides short-term
 accounts receivable financing and value-added out-sourced administrative
 services, such as data processing of payrolls, billing and cash management
 services, to temporary staffing service clients located throughout the United
 States.  Currently, Wintrust operates a total of 29 banking offices and is in
 the process of constructing several additional branch facilities.  All of the
 Company's banking subsidiaries are locally managed with large local boards of
 directors.  Wintrust Financial Corporation has been one of the fastest growing
 de novo bank groups in Illinois.
 
                         WINTRUST FINANCIAL CORPORATION
                         SELECTED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
                 (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 
                                                     Three Months
                                                    Ended March 31,
                                                  2001            2000
      Selected Financial Condition Data
       (at end of period):
       Total assets                           $2,166,630     $1,771,891
       Total deposits                          1,916,756      1,533,661
       Total loans, net of unearned income     1,655,543      1,307,796
       Notes payable                              38,875         14,050
       Long-term debt - trust
        preferred securities                      51,050         31,050
       Total shareholders' equity                105,872         94,835
 
      Selected Statements of Income Data:
       Net interest income                       $17,276        $13,868
       Net revenues                               24,126         18,146
       Income before taxes and cumulative
        effect of accounting change                6,517          4,896
       Net income before cumulative effect
        of accounting change                       4,158          3,122
       Net income                                  3,904          3,122
       Net income per common share - Basic          0.45           0.35
       Net income per common share - Diluted        0.44           0.35
 
      Selected Financial Ratios and Other Data:
      Performance Ratios:
        Net interest margin                        3.67%          3.65%
        Core net interest margin (A)               3.94%          3.84%
        Non-interest income to average assets      1.32%          1.01%
        Non-interest expense to average assets     3.07%          2.85%
        Net overhead ratio                         1.75%          1.84%
        Return on average assets                   0.75%          0.73%
        Return on average equity                  15.39%         13.32%
 
        Average total assets                  $2,110,058     $1,708,494
        Average shareholders' equity             102,851         94,281
        Average loan-to-average deposit ratio      87.1%          88.4%
 
      Common Share Data at end of period:
        Market price per common share             $18.63         $14.25
        Book value per common share                12.29          10.83
        Common shares outstanding              8,616,976      8,752,643
 
      Other Data at end of period:
       Number of:
        Bank subsidiaries                              7              6
        Non-bank subsidiaries                          3              3
        Banking offices                               29             25
 
      (A) The core net interest margin excludes the interest expense associated
          with the Company's Trust Preferred Securities.
 
 
                WINTRUST FINANCIAL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
                CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CONDITION (UNAUDITED)
                                 (In thousands)
 
                                         March 31,   December 31,   March 31,
                                            2001         2000         2000
 
      Assets
      Cash and due from banks             $48,152       $65,413      $42,664
      Federal funds sold and securities
       purchased under resale agreements  170,696       164,641       97,099
      Interest-bearing deposits with banks     74           182          288
      Available-for-Sale securities, at
       fair value                         168,365       193,105      210,825
      Loans, net of unearned income     1,655,543     1,558,020    1,307,796
        Less: Allowance for possible
         loan losses                       11,067        10,433        9,359
        Net loans                       1,644,476     1,547,587    1,298,437
      Premises and equipment, net          87,717        86,386       74,891
      Accrued interest receivable and
       other assets                        36,558        34,722       36,382
      Goodwill and other intangible
       assets, net                         10,592        10,770       11,305
 
        Total assets                   $2,166,630    $2,102,806   $1,771,891
 
      Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
      Deposits:
       Non-interest bearing              $182,364      $198,319     $155,507
       Interest bearing                 1,734,392     1,628,257    1,378,154
        Total deposits                  1,916,756     1,826,576    1,533,661
 
      Short-term borrowings                14,727        43,639       68,721
      Notes payable                        38,875        27,575       14,050
      Long-term debt - trust
       preferred securities                51,050        51,050       31,050
      Accrued interest payable and
       other liabilities                   39,350        51,690       29,574
 
        Total liabilities               2,060,758     2,000,530    1,677,056
 
      Shareholders' equity:
       Preferred stock                          -             -            -
       Common stock                         8,859         8,857        8,838
       Surplus                             83,745        83,710       83,487
       Common stock warrants                  100           100          100
       Treasury stock, at cost             (3,863)       (3,863)      (1,306)
       Retained earnings                   17,137        13,835        6,235
       Accumulated other
        comprehensive loss                   (106)         (363)      (2,519)
        Total shareholders' equity        105,872       102,276       94,835
 
      Total liabilities and
       shareholders' equity            $2,166,630    $2,102,806   $1,771,891
 
 
                WINTRUST FINANCIAL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
                 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (UNAUDITED)
                     (In thousands, except per share data)
 
                                                         Three Months Ended
                                                             March 31,
                                                       2001            2000
 
      Interest income
       Interest and fees on loans                     $36,863        $28,738
       Interest bearing deposits with banks                 2             16
       Federal funds sold and securities purchased
        under resale agreements                         1,122            247
       Securities                                       3,795          3,308
        Total interest income                          41,782         32,309
 
      Interest expense
       Interest on deposits                            22,172         16,599
       Interest on short-term borrowings and
        notes payable                                   1,046          1,107
       Interest on long-term debt - trust
        preferred securities                            1,288            735
        Total interest expense                         24,506         18,441
 
      Net interest income                              17,276         13,868
      Provision for possible loan losses                1,638          1,141
 
      Net interest income after provision
       for possible loan losses                        15,638         12,727
 
      Non-interest income
       Fees on mortgage loans sold                      1,524            483
       Service charges on deposit accounts                547            469
       Trust fees                                         450            472
       Gain on sale of premium finance receivables        942          1,241
       Administrative services revenue                  1,021          1,013
       Net securities gains                               286              3
       Other                                            2,080            597
        Total non-interest income                       6,850          4,278
 
      Non-interest expense
       Salaries and employee benefits                   8,478          6,335
       Occupancy, net                                   1,244          1,010
       Equipment expense                                1,484          1,149
       Data processing                                    830            680
       Advertising and marketing                          307            249
       Professional fees                                  531            295
       Amortization of intangibles                        178            178
       Other                                            2,919          2,213
        Total non-interest expense                     15,971         12,109
 
      Income before taxes and cumulative effect
       of accounting change                             6,517          4,896
      Income tax expense                                2,359          1,774
 
      Income before cumulative effect of
       accounting change                                4,158          3,122
      Cumulative effect of accounting change,
       net of tax                                         254              -
 
      Net income                                       $3,904         $3,122
 
      Basic earnings per share:
       Income before cumulative effect of
        accounting change                               $0.48          $0.35
       Cumulative effect of accounting change,
        net of tax                                       0.03              -
       Net income per common share - Basic              $0.45          $0.35
 
      Diluted earnings per share:
       Income before cumulative effect of
       accounting change                                $0.47          $0.35
       Cumulative effect of accounting change,
        net of tax                                       0.03              -
 
      Net income per common share - Diluted             $0.44          $0.35
 
      Cash dividends declared per common share          $0.07          $0.05
 
      Weighted average common shares outstanding        8,615          8,798
      Dilutive potential common shares                    303            213
      Average common shares and dilutive
       common shares                                    8,918          9,011
 
     NET INTEREST INCOME
     The following tables present a summary of the Company's net interest
 income and related net interest margins, calculated on a fully tax-equivalent
 basis, for the three-month periods ended March 31, 2001 and 2000:
 
                          For the Quarter Ended        For the Quarter Ended
                               March 31, 2001             March 31, 2000
      (dollars in
        thousands)        Average  Interest   Rate    Average  Interest Rate
      Liquidity
       management
       assets (a)(b)     $319,028  $4,933   6.27%    $228,838   $3,548  6.24%
      Loans, net of
       unearned
       income (b)       1,612,617  37,054    9.32   1,309,355   28,844   8.86
      Total earning
       assets           1,931,645  41,987   8.82%   1,538,193   32,392  8.47%
 
      Interest-bearing
       deposits         1,669,942  22,172   5.38%   1,333,012   16,598  5.01%
      Short-term
       borrowings and
       notes payable       67,897   1,046    6.25      74,048    1,108   6.02
      Long-term debt
       - trust preferred
       securities          51,050   1,288   10.09      31,050      735   9.47
       Total
        interest-bearing
        liabilities     1,788,889  24,506   5.56%   1,438,110   18,441  5.16%
 
       Tax-equivalent net
        interest income       --  $17,481      --      --       $13,951    --
      Net interest margin     --       --   3.67%      --           --  3.65%
      Core net interest
       margin (C)             --       --   3.94%      --           --  3.84%
 
      (a) Liquidity management assets include securities, interest earning
          deposits with banks and federal funds sold.
      (b) Interest income on tax-advantaged loans and securities reflects a
          tax-equivalent adjustment based on a marginal federal corporate tax
          rate of 35%.  The total adjustments for the quarters ended March 31,
          2001 and 2000 were $205,000 and $83,000, respectively.
      (c) The core net interest margin excludes the impact of the Company's
          Cumulative Trust Preferred Securities.
 
     Net interest income, which is the difference between interest income and
 fees on earning assets and interest expense on deposits and borrowings, is the
 major source of earnings for the Company.  Tax-equivalent net interest income
 for the quarter ended March 31, 2001 totaled $17.5 million, an increase of
 $3.5 million, or 25%, as compared to the $14.0 million recorded in the same
 quarter of 2000.  This increase mainly resulted from loan growth and
 management's ability to control funding costs.  Tax-equivalent interest and
 fees on loans for the quarter ended March 31, 2001 totaled $37.1 million, an
 increase of $8.2 million, or 28%, over the prior year quarterly total of
 $28.8 million.  This growth was predominantly due to a $303 million, or
 23%, increase in average total loans.
     Net interest margin represents net interest income as a percentage of the
 average earning assets during the period.  For the first quarter of 2001, the
 net interest margin was 3.67%, an increase of two basis points when compared
 to the margin of 3.65% in the prior year quarter.  The core net interest
 margin, which excludes the interest expense related to the Company's Trust
 Preferred Securities, was 3.94% for the first quarter of 2001, and increased
 ten basis points when compared to the prior year quarterly core margin of
 3.84%.
     The rate paid on interest-bearing deposits averaged 5.38% for the first
 quarter of 2001 versus 5.01% for the same quarter of 2000, an increase of
 37 basis points.  The rate in the first quarter of 2001 reflects a 39 basis
 point decrease from the rate on interest-bearing deposits in the fourth
 quarter of 2000.  This increase in rate over the same period last year
 reflects continued increases in market rates throughout most of 2000 and the
 decrease in rate over the fourth quarter of 2000 reflects the decreases in
 market rates beginning in the fourth quarter of 2000 and continuing through
 the first quarter of 2001.  The rate paid on short-term borrowings and notes
 payable increased to 6.25% in the first quarter of 2001 as compared to
 6.02% in the same quarter of 2000.  The rate on the trust preferred securities
 in the first quarter of 2001 was 10.09%, compared to 9.47% in the same period
 of 2000.  The increase was due to the issuance of $20.0 million of 10.5% trust
 preferred securities in June 2000.
     The yield on total earning assets for the first quarter of 2001 was
 8.82% as compared to 8.47% in 2000, an increase of 35 basis points.  The
 yield on earnings assets is heavily dependent on the yield on loans since
 average loans comprised approximately 83% of average earning assets.  During
 the first quarter 2001 the yield on loans was 9.32%, a 46 basis point increase
 when compared to the prior year quarterly yield of 8.86%.  The average prime
 lending rate was 8.62% during the first quarter of 2001 versus 8.69% for the
 first quarter of 2000.  The Company's loan portfolio does not re-price in a
 parallel fashion to increases in the prime rate due to a portion of the
 portfolio being longer-term fixed rate loans.
 
     NON-INTEREST INCOME
     For the first quarter of 2001, non-interest income totaled $6.9 million
 and increased $2.6 million over the prior year quarter.  Significant increases
 were realized in fees from the origination and sale of mortgage loans into the
 secondary market and income from certain covered call option transactions and
 were partially offset by a decrease in gains from the sale of premium finance
 receivables.
     Fees on mortgage loans sold include income from originating and selling
 residential real estate loans into the secondary market.  For the quarter
 ended March 31, 2001, these fees totaled $1.5 million, an increase of
 $1.0 million, or 216%, from the prior year quarter.  This increase was due
 to significantly higher levels of mortgage origination volumes, particularly
 refinancing activity, caused by the recent decreases in mortgage interest
 rates. Management expects continuation of higher refinancing activity to
 continue at least through the next quarter.
     The administrative services revenue contributed by Tricom added
 $1.0 million to total non-interest income in the first quarter of 2001 and was
 relatively consistent with the level of revenue in the prior year quarter.
 This revenue comprises income from administrative services, such as data
 processing of payrolls, billing and cash management services, to temporary
 staffing service clients located throughout the United States.  Tricom also
 earns interest and fee income from providing short-term accounts receivable
 financing to this same client base, which is included in the net interest
 income category.
     As a result of continued strong loan originations of premium finance
 receivables, the Company sold approximately $51 million of receivables to an
 unrelated third party in the first quarter of 2001 and recognized  gains of
 $942,000 related to this activity, compared to the sale of  approximately
 $74 million of premium finance receivables in the first quarter of 2000
 that resulted in gains of $1.2 million.  The Company has a philosophy of
 maintaining its average loan-to-deposit ratio in the range of 85-90%.  During
 the first quarter of 2001, the ratio was approximately 87%.  Accordingly, the
 Company sold excess premium finance receivables volume to an unrelated third
 party financial institution.  Consistent with Wintrust's strategy to be
 asset-driven and the desire to maintain our loan-to-deposit ratio in the
 aforementioned range, it is probable that similar sales of premium finance
 receivables will occur in the future.
     Service charges on deposit accounts totaled $547,000 for the first quarter
 of 2001, an increase of $78,000, or 17%, when compared to the same quarter of
 2000.  This increase was mainly due to a higher deposit base and a larger
 number of accounts at the banking subsidiaries.  The majority of deposit
 service charges relate to customary fees on overdrawn accounts and returned
 items.  The level of service charges received is substantially below peer
 group levels as management believes in the philosophy of providing high
 quality service without encumbering that service with numerous activity
 charges.
     Trust fees totaled $450,000 for the first quarter of 2001, a $22,000, or
 5% decrease over the first quarter of 2000.  This decrease is reflective of
 the decrease in value of assets under management as a result of significant
 decreases in the overall stock market.  Wintrust is committed to growing the
 trust and investment business in order to better service its customers and
 create a more diversified revenue stream.
     Other non-interest income for the first quarter of 2001 totaled
 $2.1 million and increased $1.5 million over the prior year quarterly total
 of $597,000.  This increase was due primarily to a $1.3 million increase in
 premium income from certain covered call option transactions.  The Company
 routinely enters into these transactions with the goal of enhancing its
 overall return on its investment portfolio.  The Company generally writes the
 call options against certain U.S. Treasury and agency issues held in its
 portfolio for liquidity and other purposes.  Also contributing to the increase
 in other non-interest income was a $150,0000 increase in rental income from
 equipment leased through the MMF Leasing division of Lake Forest Bank.
 
     NON-INTEREST EXPENSE
     Non-interest expense for the first quarter of 2001 totaled $16.0 million
 and increased $3.9 million, or 32%, from the first quarter 2000 total of
 $12.1 million.  The continued growth and expansion of the de novo banks with
 additional branches, the opening of the Company's seventh de novo bank
 (Northbrook Bank & Trust) in November 2000 and the growth in the premium
 finance business are the major causes for this increase.  Since March 31,
 2000, total deposits and total loans have increased 25% and 27%, respectively,
 requiring higher levels of staffing and other costs to both attract and
 service the larger customer base.
     Salaries and employee benefits totaled $8.5 million for the first quarter
 of 2001, an increase of $2.1 million, or 34%, as compared to the prior year's
 first quarter total of $6.3 million.  This increase was primarily due to the
 opening of Northbrook Bank & Trust and three additional branch offices since
 the first quarter of 2000 and increased staffing at the Company's premium
 finance subsidiary.
     Other categories of non-interest expense, such as occupancy costs,
 equipment expense and data processing, also increased over the prior year
 first quarter due to the general growth of the Company.  Amortization expense
 related to goodwill and other intangibles totaled $178,000 for the first
 quarters of 2001 and 2000.  Other non-interest expense, which includes loan
 expenses, correspondent bank service charges, postage, insurance, stationery
 and supplies, telephone, directors fees, and other sundry expenses, also
 increased when compared to the prior year quarter due mainly to the factors
 mentioned earlier.
 
     ASSET QUALITY
 
     Allowance for Possible Loan Losses
     A reconciliation of the activity in the balance of the allowance for
 possible loan losses for the three months ended March 31, 2001 and 2000 is
 shown as follows (dollars in thousands):
 
                                               Three Months Ended March 31,
                                                  2001               2000
 
      Balance at beginning of period             $10,433           $8,783
 
      Provision for possible loan losses           1,638            1,141
 
      Charge-offs
        Core banking loans                           108              128
        Indirect automobile loans                    286              311
        Tricom finance receivables                     -                2
        Premium finance receivables                  712              201
          Total charge-offs                        1,106              642
 
      Recoveries
        Core banking loans                             2                8
        Indirect automobile loans                     54               43
        Tricom finance receivables                     -                -
        Premium finance receivables                   46               26
          Total recoveries                           102               77
 
      Net charge-offs                             (1,004)            (565)
 
      Balance at March 31                        $11,067           $9,359
 
      Loans at March 31                       $1,655,543       $1,307,796
 
      Allowance as a percentage of loans           0.67%            0.72%
 
      Annualized net charge-offs as a
       percentage of average:
        Core banking loans                         0.04%            0.06%
        Indirect automobile loans                  0.47%            0.43%
        Tricom finance receivables                     -            0.04%
        Premium finance receivables                0.77%            0.29%
          Total loans                              0.25%            0.17%
 
     Annualized provision for
      possible loan losses
                                                  61.29%           49.52%
 
     The provision for possible loan losses totaled $1.6 million for the first
 quarter of 2001, an increase of $497,000 from a year earlier.  The higher
 provision was due to a $348 million, or 27%, increase in loan balances
 compared to March 31, 2000 and a higher level of net charge-offs, primarily
 in the premium finance portfolio.  For the quarter ended March 31, 2001, net
 charge-offs totaled $1.0 million and increased from the $565,000 of net
 charge-offs recorded in the same period of 2000.  On a ratio basis, net
 charge-offs as a percentage of average loans increased slightly to 0.25% in
 the first quarter of 2001 from 0.17% in the same period in 2000 and from
 0.24% for the full year 2000.  This increase is the result of a higher level
 of delinquencies in the premium finance receivables portfolio.  Management is
 actively monitoring and pursuing methods to reduce the level of delinquencies
 in the indirect auto and premium finance portfolios.  Management believes the
 allowance for possible loan losses is adequate to provide for inherent losses
 in the portfolio.  There can be no assurances, however, that future losses
 will not exceed the amounts provided for, thereby affecting future results of
 operations.  The amount of future additions to the allowance for possible
 loan losses will be dependent upon the economy, changes in real estate values,
 interest rates, the regulatory environment, the level of past-due and
 non-performing loans, and other factors.
 
     Past Due Loans and Non-performing Assets
     The following table sets forth the Company's non-performing assets at the
 dates indicated.  The information in the table should be read in conjunction
 with the detailed discussion following the table (dollars in thousands).
 
                                        March 31,     December 31,   March 31,
                                           2001           2000          2000
      Past Due greater than 90 days
       and still accruing:
        Core banking loans               $1,778           $651          $362
        Indirect automobile loans           350            397           466
        Tricom finance receivables            -              -             -
        Premium finance receivables       4,881          4,306         2,273
          Total                           7,009          5,354         3,101
 
      Non-accrual loans:
       Core banking loans                   720            770         1,582
       Indirect automobile loans            234            221           266
       Tricom finance receivables           112              -             -
       Premium finance receivables        5,872          3,338         2,334
        Total non-accrual loans           6,938          4,329         4,182
 
      Total non-performing loans:
       Core banking loans                 2,498          1,421         1,944
       Indirect automobile loans            584            618           732
       Tricom finance receivables           112              -             -
       Premium finance receivables       10,753          7,644         4,607
        Total non-performing loans       13,947          9,683         7,283
 
      Other real estate owned                 -              -             -
 
      Total non-performing
        assets                          $13,947         $9,683        $7,283
 
                                            March 31,  December 31,  March 31,
                                               2001         2000        2000
      Total non-performing loans by
       category as a percent of its own
       respective category:
        Core banking loans                    0.22%         0.14%       0.24%
        Indirect automobile loans             0.31%         0.30%       0.29%
        Tricom finance receivables            0.60%             -           -
        Premium finance receivables           3.22%         2.44%       2.04%
         Total non-performing loans           0.84%         0.62%       0.56%
 
      Total non-performing assets as a
       percentage of total assets             0.64%         0.46%       0.41%
 
      Allowance for possible loan
       losses as a percentage of
       non-performing loans                  79.35%       107.75%     128.50%
 
     Non-performing Core Banking Loans
     Total non-performing loans for the Company's core banking business were
 $2.5 million, or 0.22%, of the Company's core banking loans as of March 31,
 2001, compared to 0.14% and 0.24% as of December 31, 2000 and March 31, 2000,
 respectively. Non-performing core banking loans consist primarily of a small
 number of commercial and real estate loans which management believes are well
 secured and in the process of collection.  In fact, the loans comprising the
 non-performing core loan category total less than 30 individual credits.  The
 small number of such non-performing loans allows management to effectively
 monitor the status of these credits and work with the borrowers to resolve
 these problems.
 
     Non-performing Premium Finance Receivables
     The table below presents the level of non-performing premium finance
 receivables as of March 31, 2001 and 2000, and the amount of net charge-offs
 for the quarters then ended.
 
                                                March 31,          March 31,
                                                  2001               2000
      Non-performing premium finance
       receivables                             $10,753,000        $4,607,000
        - as a percent of premium finance
          receivables                                3.22%             2.04%
 
      Net charge-offs of premium finance
       receivables                                $666,000          $175,000
       - annualized as a percent of premium
        finance receivables                          0.77%             0.29%
 
     The increase in non-performing premium finance receivables over the course
 of recent quarters is primarily a result of a proportionately large number of
 delinquent accounts associated with new business derived from a marketing
 arrangement entered into in July, 1999.  Management identified the issue in
 the second half of 2000 and began to take corrective measures to eliminate a
 significant number of these new business relationships that were generating
 disproportionately high delinquencies.  Specifically, the Company has
 eliminated more than 1,300 relationships with insurance agents that were
 referring new business to our premium finance subsidiary.  The volume
 associated with this business includes a large number of small balance
 accounts which place an increased burden on the collection efforts of the
 premium finance subsidiary.  The impact of this prior business is still
 reflected in the non-performing asset totals as these accounts customarily
 take 60-150 days to convert the collateral held by insurance company into cash
 collections.  Because of the longer-term nature of converting the collateral
 to cash, we believe our corrective actions and increased resources devoted to
 collections should result in significant improvement during the second quarter
 of 2001 and that the non-performing totals have reached their peak in the
 first quarter.  As such, the delinquency levels should show improvement over
 the next two quarters.
     The ratio of non-performing premium finance receivables fluctuates
 throughout the year due to the nature and timing of canceled account
 collections from insurance carriers.  Due to the nature of collateral for
 premium finance receivables, it customarily takes 60-150 days to convert the
 collateral into cash collections.  Accordingly, the level of non-performing
 premium finance receivables is not necessarily indicative of the loss inherent
 in the portfolio.  In the event of default, the Company has the power to
 cancel the insurance policy and collect the unearned portion of the premium
 from the insurance carrier.  In the event of cancellation, the cash returned
 in payment of the unearned premium by the insurer should generally be
 sufficient to cover the receivable balance, the interest and other charges
 due.  Due to notification requirements and processing time by most insurance
 carriers, many receivables will become delinquent beyond 90 days while the
 insurer is processing the return of the unearned premium.  Management
 continues to accrue interest until maturity as the unearned premium is
 ordinarily sufficient to pay-off the outstanding balance and contractual
 interest due.
 
     Non-performing Indirect Automobile Loans
     Total non-performing indirect automobile loans were $584,000 at March 31,
 2001, decreasing from $618,000 at December 31, 2000 and $732,000 at March 31,
 2000.  The ratio of these non-performing loans to total indirect automobile
 loans has increased slightly to 0.31% of total indirect automobile loans at
 March 31, 2001 from 0.30% at December 31, 1999 and 0.29% at March 31, 2000.
 The increase in the ratios despite a decrease in the amount of non-performing
 loans is reflective of the runoff in this portfolio.  As noted in the
 Allowance for Possible Loan Losses table, net charge-offs as a percent of
 total indirect automobile loans increased slightly from 0.43% in the first
 quarter of 2000 to 0.47% in the first quarter of 2001. These ratios continue
 to be below standard industry ratios for this type of loan category.
 
     FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
     This press release contains forward-looking statements related to the
 Company's financial performance that are based on estimates.  The Company
 intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor
 provision for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities
 Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and is including this statement for purposes of
 invoking these safe harbor provisions.  Actual results could differ materially
 from those addressed in the forward-looking statements due to factors such as
 changes in economic conditions, competition, or other factors, that may
 influence the anticipated growth rate of loans and deposits, the quality of
 the loan portfolio and loan and deposit pricing, unanticipated changes in
 interest rates that negatively impact net interest income, future events that
 may cause unforeseen loan or lease losses, slower than anticipated development
 and growth of Tricom and the new trust and investment business, unanticipated
 changes in the temporary staffing industry, the ability to adapt successfully
 to technological changes to compete effectively in the marketplace,  and the
 ability to attract and retain experienced senior management.  Therefore, there
 can be no assurances that future actual results will correspond to these
 forward-looking statements.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X66325425
 
 

SOURCE Wintrust Financial Corporation
    LAKE FOREST, Ill., April 20 /PRNewswire Interactive Press Release/ --
 Wintrust Financial Corporation ("Wintrust") (Nasdaq:   WTFC) announced record
 quarterly net income of $3.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2001,
 an increase of $782,000, or 25%, over the $3.1 million recorded in the first
 quarter of 2000.  On a per share basis, net income for the first quarter
 of 2001 totaled $0.44 per diluted common share, a $0.09 per share, or
 26%, increase as compared to the 2000 first quarter total of $0.35 per diluted
 common share.  Included in the first quarter of 2001, is a cumulative effect
 of a change in accounting for interest rate caps, which resulted in an
 after-tax charge of $254,000, or $0.03 per diluted share.  The return on
 average equity for the first quarter of 2001 increased to 15.39% from
 13.32% for the prior year quarter.
     Total assets rose to $2.17 billion at March 31, 2001, an increase of
 $395 million, or 22%, compared to $1.77 billion a year ago, and an increase of
 $64 million, or 3%, since December 31, 2000.  Total deposits as of March 31,
 2001 were $1.92 billion, an increase of $383 million, or 25%, as compared to
 $1.53 billion at March 31, 2000, and an increase of $90 million, or 5%, since
 year-end 2000.  Total loans grew to $1.66 billion as of March 31, 2001, a
 $348 million, or 27%, increase over the $1.31 billion balance as of a year
 ago, and a $98 million, or 6%, increase since December 31, 2000.
     For the first quarter of 2001, net interest income totaled $17.3 million
 and increased $3.4 million, or 25%, as compared to the prior year quarterly
 total of $13.9 million.  Non-interest income totaled $6.9 million for the
 first quarter of 2001 and increased $2.6 million, or 60%, over the first
 quarter of 2000.  The increase was mainly a result of increases in fees from
 originating and selling residential mortgage loans into the secondary market
 and from fees from ongoing transactions designed to increase the returns on
 certain U.S. Treasury and agency securities in the Company's investment
 portfolio.  Partially offsetting these increases was a decline in gains
 on the sale of premium finance receivables.  Non-interest expense totaled
 $16.0 million for the first quarter of 2001 and increased $3.9 million, or
 32%, over the first quarter of 2000.  Increases are attributable to the
 general growth of the Company's balance sheet and fee-based businesses.  The
 net overhead ratio declined to 1.75% from 1.84% in the prior year quarter.
     "We are very pleased with the continued growth in earnings and assets in
 the first quarter," commented Edward J. Wehmer, President and Chief Executive
 Officer.  "We are working diligently to continue our unique growth story while
 improving our earnings level and we remain comfortable that we will be able to
 meet or exceed the analysts' consensus earnings estimate for 2001 of $1.84 per
 share."
     Wintrust's key operating measures continue to show impressive growth rates
 in 2001 as compared to the prior year as evidenced by the table below:
 
                                            Quarter      Quarter     Percent
                                             Ended        Ended   Improvement
      In thousands, except                  3/31/01     3/31/00
        per share data
 
      Net income                             $3,904       $3,122      25.1%
      Net income per common
       share - Diluted                        $0.44        $0.35      25.7%
 
      Net revenues                          $24,126      $18,146      33.0%
      Net interest income                   $17,276      $13,868      24.6%
 
      Net interest margin                     3.67%        3.65%       0.5%
      Core net interest
       margin(a)                              3.94%        3.84%       2.6%
      Net overhead ratio                      1.75%        1.84%       4.9%
      Return on average assets                0.75%        0.73%       2.7%
      Return on average equity               15.39%       13.32%      15.5%
 
      Total assets                       $2,166,630   $1,771,891      22.3%
      Total loans, net of
       unearned income                   $1,655,543   $1,307,796      26.6%
      Total deposits                     $1,916,756   $1,533,661      25.0%
 
      Book value per common
       share                                 $12.29       $10.83      13.5%
 
      (a) Core net interest margin excludes interest expense associated with
          the Company's Trust Preferred Securities.
 
     Wintrust is a financial services holding company whose common stock is
 traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market(R).  Its seven suburban Chicago community
 bank subsidiaries, each of which was founded as a de novo bank since December
 1991, are located in high income retail markets -- Lake Forest Bank & Trust
 Company, Hinsdale Bank & Trust Company, North Shore Community Bank & Trust
 Company in Wilmette, Libertyville Bank & Trust Company, Barrington Bank &
 Trust Company, Crystal Lake Bank & Trust Company and Northbrook Bank & Trust
 Company.  The banks also operate facilities in Lake Bluff, Highwood, Glencoe,
 Winnetka, Clarendon Hills, Western Springs, Skokie, Wauconda and McHenry,
 Illinois.  Additionally, the Company operates three non-bank subsidiaries.
 First Insurance Funding Corporation, one of the largest commercial insurance
 premium finance companies operating in the United States, serves commercial
 loan customers throughout the country.  Wintrust Asset Management Company, a
 trust subsidiary, allows Wintrust to service customers' trust and investment
 needs at each banking location.  Tricom, Inc. of Milwaukee provides short-term
 accounts receivable financing and value-added out-sourced administrative
 services, such as data processing of payrolls, billing and cash management
 services, to temporary staffing service clients located throughout the United
 States.  Currently, Wintrust operates a total of 29 banking offices and is in
 the process of constructing several additional branch facilities.  All of the
 Company's banking subsidiaries are locally managed with large local boards of
 directors.  Wintrust Financial Corporation has been one of the fastest growing
 de novo bank groups in Illinois.
 
                         WINTRUST FINANCIAL CORPORATION
                         SELECTED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
                 (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
 
                                                     Three Months
                                                    Ended March 31,
                                                  2001            2000
      Selected Financial Condition Data
       (at end of period):
       Total assets                           $2,166,630     $1,771,891
       Total deposits                          1,916,756      1,533,661
       Total loans, net of unearned income     1,655,543      1,307,796
       Notes payable                              38,875         14,050
       Long-term debt - trust
        preferred securities                      51,050         31,050
       Total shareholders' equity                105,872         94,835
 
      Selected Statements of Income Data:
       Net interest income                       $17,276        $13,868
       Net revenues                               24,126         18,146
       Income before taxes and cumulative
        effect of accounting change                6,517          4,896
       Net income before cumulative effect
        of accounting change                       4,158          3,122
       Net income                                  3,904          3,122
       Net income per common share - Basic          0.45           0.35
       Net income per common share - Diluted        0.44           0.35
 
      Selected Financial Ratios and Other Data:
      Performance Ratios:
        Net interest margin                        3.67%          3.65%
        Core net interest margin (A)               3.94%          3.84%
        Non-interest income to average assets      1.32%          1.01%
        Non-interest expense to average assets     3.07%          2.85%
        Net overhead ratio                         1.75%          1.84%
        Return on average assets                   0.75%          0.73%
        Return on average equity                  15.39%         13.32%
 
        Average total assets                  $2,110,058     $1,708,494
        Average shareholders' equity             102,851         94,281
        Average loan-to-average deposit ratio      87.1%          88.4%
 
      Common Share Data at end of period:
        Market price per common share             $18.63         $14.25
        Book value per common share                12.29          10.83
        Common shares outstanding              8,616,976      8,752,643
 
      Other Data at end of period:
       Number of:
        Bank subsidiaries                              7              6
        Non-bank subsidiaries                          3              3
        Banking offices                               29             25
 
      (A) The core net interest margin excludes the interest expense associated
          with the Company's Trust Preferred Securities.
 
 
                WINTRUST FINANCIAL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
                CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CONDITION (UNAUDITED)
                                 (In thousands)
 
                                         March 31,   December 31,   March 31,
                                            2001         2000         2000
 
      Assets
      Cash and due from banks             $48,152       $65,413      $42,664
      Federal funds sold and securities
       purchased under resale agreements  170,696       164,641       97,099
      Interest-bearing deposits with banks     74           182          288
      Available-for-Sale securities, at
       fair value                         168,365       193,105      210,825
      Loans, net of unearned income     1,655,543     1,558,020    1,307,796
        Less: Allowance for possible
         loan losses                       11,067        10,433        9,359
        Net loans                       1,644,476     1,547,587    1,298,437
      Premises and equipment, net          87,717        86,386       74,891
      Accrued interest receivable and
       other assets                        36,558        34,722       36,382
      Goodwill and other intangible
       assets, net                         10,592        10,770       11,305
 
        Total assets                   $2,166,630    $2,102,806   $1,771,891
 
      Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
      Deposits:
       Non-interest bearing              $182,364      $198,319     $155,507
       Interest bearing                 1,734,392     1,628,257    1,378,154
        Total deposits                  1,916,756     1,826,576    1,533,661
 
      Short-term borrowings                14,727        43,639       68,721
      Notes payable                        38,875        27,575       14,050
      Long-term debt - trust
       preferred securities                51,050        51,050       31,050
      Accrued interest payable and
       other liabilities                   39,350        51,690       29,574
 
        Total liabilities               2,060,758     2,000,530    1,677,056
 
      Shareholders' equity:
       Preferred stock                          -             -            -
       Common stock                         8,859         8,857        8,838
       Surplus                             83,745        83,710       83,487
       Common stock warrants                  100           100          100
       Treasury stock, at cost             (3,863)       (3,863)      (1,306)
       Retained earnings                   17,137        13,835        6,235
       Accumulated other
        comprehensive loss                   (106)         (363)      (2,519)
        Total shareholders' equity        105,872       102,276       94,835
 
      Total liabilities and
       shareholders' equity            $2,166,630    $2,102,806   $1,771,891
 
 
                WINTRUST FINANCIAL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
                 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (UNAUDITED)
                     (In thousands, except per share data)
 
                                                         Three Months Ended
                                                             March 31,
                                                       2001            2000
 
      Interest income
       Interest and fees on loans                     $36,863        $28,738
       Interest bearing deposits with banks                 2             16
       Federal funds sold and securities purchased
        under resale agreements                         1,122            247
       Securities                                       3,795          3,308
        Total interest income                          41,782         32,309
 
      Interest expense
       Interest on deposits                            22,172         16,599
       Interest on short-term borrowings and
        notes payable                                   1,046          1,107
       Interest on long-term debt - trust
        preferred securities                            1,288            735
        Total interest expense                         24,506         18,441
 
      Net interest income                              17,276         13,868
      Provision for possible loan losses                1,638          1,141
 
      Net interest income after provision
       for possible loan losses                        15,638         12,727
 
      Non-interest income
       Fees on mortgage loans sold                      1,524            483
       Service charges on deposit accounts                547            469
       Trust fees                                         450            472
       Gain on sale of premium finance receivables        942          1,241
       Administrative services revenue                  1,021          1,013
       Net securities gains                               286              3
       Other                                            2,080            597
        Total non-interest income                       6,850          4,278
 
      Non-interest expense
       Salaries and employee benefits                   8,478          6,335
       Occupancy, net                                   1,244          1,010
       Equipment expense                                1,484          1,149
       Data processing                                    830            680
       Advertising and marketing                          307            249
       Professional fees                                  531            295
       Amortization of intangibles                        178            178
       Other                                            2,919          2,213
        Total non-interest expense                     15,971         12,109
 
      Income before taxes and cumulative effect
       of accounting change                             6,517          4,896
      Income tax expense                                2,359          1,774
 
      Income before cumulative effect of
       accounting change                                4,158          3,122
      Cumulative effect of accounting change,
       net of tax                                         254              -
 
      Net income                                       $3,904         $3,122
 
      Basic earnings per share:
       Income before cumulative effect of
        accounting change                               $0.48          $0.35
       Cumulative effect of accounting change,
        net of tax                                       0.03              -
       Net income per common share - Basic              $0.45          $0.35
 
      Diluted earnings per share:
       Income before cumulative effect of
       accounting change                                $0.47          $0.35
       Cumulative effect of accounting change,
        net of tax                                       0.03              -
 
      Net income per common share - Diluted             $0.44          $0.35
 
      Cash dividends declared per common share          $0.07          $0.05
 
      Weighted average common shares outstanding        8,615          8,798
      Dilutive potential common shares                    303            213
      Average common shares and dilutive
       common shares                                    8,918          9,011
 
     NET INTEREST INCOME
     The following tables present a summary of the Company's net interest
 income and related net interest margins, calculated on a fully tax-equivalent
 basis, for the three-month periods ended March 31, 2001 and 2000:
 
                          For the Quarter Ended        For the Quarter Ended
                               March 31, 2001             March 31, 2000
      (dollars in
        thousands)        Average  Interest   Rate    Average  Interest Rate
      Liquidity
       management
       assets (a)(b)     $319,028  $4,933   6.27%    $228,838   $3,548  6.24%
      Loans, net of
       unearned
       income (b)       1,612,617  37,054    9.32   1,309,355   28,844   8.86
      Total earning
       assets           1,931,645  41,987   8.82%   1,538,193   32,392  8.47%
 
      Interest-bearing
       deposits         1,669,942  22,172   5.38%   1,333,012   16,598  5.01%
      Short-term
       borrowings and
       notes payable       67,897   1,046    6.25      74,048    1,108   6.02
      Long-term debt
       - trust preferred
       securities          51,050   1,288   10.09      31,050      735   9.47
       Total
        interest-bearing
        liabilities     1,788,889  24,506   5.56%   1,438,110   18,441  5.16%
 
       Tax-equivalent net
        interest income       --  $17,481      --      --       $13,951    --
      Net interest margin     --       --   3.67%      --           --  3.65%
      Core net interest
       margin (C)             --       --   3.94%      --           --  3.84%
 
      (a) Liquidity management assets include securities, interest earning
          deposits with banks and federal funds sold.
      (b) Interest income on tax-advantaged loans and securities reflects a
          tax-equivalent adjustment based on a marginal federal corporate tax
          rate of 35%.  The total adjustments for the quarters ended March 31,
          2001 and 2000 were $205,000 and $83,000, respectively.
      (c) The core net interest margin excludes the impact of the Company's
          Cumulative Trust Preferred Securities.
 
     Net interest income, which is the difference between interest income and
 fees on earning assets and interest expense on deposits and borrowings, is the
 major source of earnings for the Company.  Tax-equivalent net interest income
 for the quarter ended March 31, 2001 totaled $17.5 million, an increase of
 $3.5 million, or 25%, as compared to the $14.0 million recorded in the same
 quarter of 2000.  This increase mainly resulted from loan growth and
 management's ability to control funding costs.  Tax-equivalent interest and
 fees on loans for the quarter ended March 31, 2001 totaled $37.1 million, an
 increase of $8.2 million, or 28%, over the prior year quarterly total of
 $28.8 million.  This growth was predominantly due to a $303 million, or
 23%, increase in average total loans.
     Net interest margin represents net interest income as a percentage of the
 average earning assets during the period.  For the first quarter of 2001, the
 net interest margin was 3.67%, an increase of two basis points when compared
 to the margin of 3.65% in the prior year quarter.  The core net interest
 margin, which excludes the interest expense related to the Company's Trust
 Preferred Securities, was 3.94% for the first quarter of 2001, and increased
 ten basis points when compared to the prior year quarterly core margin of
 3.84%.
     The rate paid on interest-bearing deposits averaged 5.38% for the first
 quarter of 2001 versus 5.01% for the same quarter of 2000, an increase of
 37 basis points.  The rate in the first quarter of 2001 reflects a 39 basis
 point decrease from the rate on interest-bearing deposits in the fourth
 quarter of 2000.  This increase in rate over the same period last year
 reflects continued increases in market rates throughout most of 2000 and the
 decrease in rate over the fourth quarter of 2000 reflects the decreases in
 market rates beginning in the fourth quarter of 2000 and continuing through
 the first quarter of 2001.  The rate paid on short-term borrowings and notes
 payable increased to 6.25% in the first quarter of 2001 as compared to
 6.02% in the same quarter of 2000.  The rate on the trust preferred securities
 in the first quarter of 2001 was 10.09%, compared to 9.47% in the same period
 of 2000.  The increase was due to the issuance of $20.0 million of 10.5% trust
 preferred securities in June 2000.
     The yield on total earning assets for the first quarter of 2001 was
 8.82% as compared to 8.47% in 2000, an increase of 35 basis points.  The
 yield on earnings assets is heavily dependent on the yield on loans since
 average loans comprised approximately 83% of average earning assets.  During
 the first quarter 2001 the yield on loans was 9.32%, a 46 basis point increase
 when compared to the prior year quarterly yield of 8.86%.  The average prime
 lending rate was 8.62% during the first quarter of 2001 versus 8.69% for the
 first quarter of 2000.  The Company's loan portfolio does not re-price in a
 parallel fashion to increases in the prime rate due to a portion of the
 portfolio being longer-term fixed rate loans.
 
     NON-INTEREST INCOME
     For the first quarter of 2001, non-interest income totaled $6.9 million
 and increased $2.6 million over the prior year quarter.  Significant increases
 were realized in fees from the origination and sale of mortgage loans into the
 secondary market and income from certain covered call option transactions and
 were partially offset by a decrease in gains from the sale of premium finance
 receivables.
     Fees on mortgage loans sold include income from originating and selling
 residential real estate loans into the secondary market.  For the quarter
 ended March 31, 2001, these fees totaled $1.5 million, an increase of
 $1.0 million, or 216%, from the prior year quarter.  This increase was due
 to significantly higher levels of mortgage origination volumes, particularly
 refinancing activity, caused by the recent decreases in mortgage interest
 rates. Management expects continuation of higher refinancing activity to
 continue at least through the next quarter.
     The administrative services revenue contributed by Tricom added
 $1.0 million to total non-interest income in the first quarter of 2001 and was
 relatively consistent with the level of revenue in the prior year quarter.
 This revenue comprises income from administrative services, such as data
 processing of payrolls, billing and cash management services, to temporary
 staffing service clients located throughout the United States.  Tricom also
 earns interest and fee income from providing short-term accounts receivable
 financing to this same client base, which is included in the net interest
 income category.
     As a result of continued strong loan originations of premium finance
 receivables, the Company sold approximately $51 million of receivables to an
 unrelated third party in the first quarter of 2001 and recognized  gains of
 $942,000 related to this activity, compared to the sale of  approximately
 $74 million of premium finance receivables in the first quarter of 2000
 that resulted in gains of $1.2 million.  The Company has a philosophy of
 maintaining its average loan-to-deposit ratio in the range of 85-90%.  During
 the first quarter of 2001, the ratio was approximately 87%.  Accordingly, the
 Company sold excess premium finance receivables volume to an unrelated third
 party financial institution.  Consistent with Wintrust's strategy to be
 asset-driven and the desire to maintain our loan-to-deposit ratio in the
 aforementioned range, it is probable that similar sales of premium finance
 receivables will occur in the future.
     Service charges on deposit accounts totaled $547,000 for the first quarter
 of 2001, an increase of $78,000, or 17%, when compared to the same quarter of
 2000.  This increase was mainly due to a higher deposit base and a larger
 number of accounts at the banking subsidiaries.  The majority of deposit
 service charges relate to customary fees on overdrawn accounts and returned
 items.  The level of service charges received is substantially below peer
 group levels as management believes in the philosophy of providing high
 quality service without encumbering that service with numerous activity
 charges.
     Trust fees totaled $450,000 for the first quarter of 2001, a $22,000, or
 5% decrease over the first quarter of 2000.  This decrease is reflective of
 the decrease in value of assets under management as a result of significant
 decreases in the overall stock market.  Wintrust is committed to growing the
 trust and investment business in order to better service its customers and
 create a more diversified revenue stream.
     Other non-interest income for the first quarter of 2001 totaled
 $2.1 million and increased $1.5 million over the prior year quarterly total
 of $597,000.  This increase was due primarily to a $1.3 million increase in
 premium income from certain covered call option transactions.  The Company
 routinely enters into these transactions with the goal of enhancing its
 overall return on its investment portfolio.  The Company generally writes the
 call options against certain U.S. Treasury and agency issues held in its
 portfolio for liquidity and other purposes.  Also contributing to the increase
 in other non-interest income was a $150,0000 increase in rental income from
 equipment leased through the MMF Leasing division of Lake Forest Bank.
 
     NON-INTEREST EXPENSE
     Non-interest expense for the first quarter of 2001 totaled $16.0 million
 and increased $3.9 million, or 32%, from the first quarter 2000 total of
 $12.1 million.  The continued growth and expansion of the de novo banks with
 additional branches, the opening of the Company's seventh de novo bank
 (Northbrook Bank & Trust) in November 2000 and the growth in the premium
 finance business are the major causes for this increase.  Since March 31,
 2000, total deposits and total loans have increased 25% and 27%, respectively,
 requiring higher levels of staffing and other costs to both attract and
 service the larger customer base.
     Salaries and employee benefits totaled $8.5 million for the first quarter
 of 2001, an increase of $2.1 million, or 34%, as compared to the prior year's
 first quarter total of $6.3 million.  This increase was primarily due to the
 opening of Northbrook Bank & Trust and three additional branch offices since
 the first quarter of 2000 and increased staffing at the Company's premium
 finance subsidiary.
     Other categories of non-interest expense, such as occupancy costs,
 equipment expense and data processing, also increased over the prior year
 first quarter due to the general growth of the Company.  Amortization expense
 related to goodwill and other intangibles totaled $178,000 for the first
 quarters of 2001 and 2000.  Other non-interest expense, which includes loan
 expenses, correspondent bank service charges, postage, insurance, stationery
 and supplies, telephone, directors fees, and other sundry expenses, also
 increased when compared to the prior year quarter due mainly to the factors
 mentioned earlier.
 
     ASSET QUALITY
 
     Allowance for Possible Loan Losses
     A reconciliation of the activity in the balance of the allowance for
 possible loan losses for the three months ended March 31, 2001 and 2000 is
 shown as follows (dollars in thousands):
 
                                               Three Months Ended March 31,
                                                  2001               2000
 
      Balance at beginning of period             $10,433           $8,783
 
      Provision for possible loan losses           1,638            1,141
 
      Charge-offs
        Core banking loans                           108              128
        Indirect automobile loans                    286              311
        Tricom finance receivables                     -                2
        Premium finance receivables                  712              201
          Total charge-offs                        1,106              642
 
      Recoveries
        Core banking loans                             2                8
        Indirect automobile loans                     54               43
        Tricom finance receivables                     -                -
        Premium finance receivables                   46               26
          Total recoveries                           102               77
 
      Net charge-offs                             (1,004)            (565)
 
      Balance at March 31                        $11,067           $9,359
 
      Loans at March 31                       $1,655,543       $1,307,796
 
      Allowance as a percentage of loans           0.67%            0.72%
 
      Annualized net charge-offs as a
       percentage of average:
        Core banking loans                         0.04%            0.06%
        Indirect automobile loans                  0.47%            0.43%
        Tricom finance receivables                     -            0.04%
        Premium finance receivables                0.77%            0.29%
          Total loans                              0.25%            0.17%
 
     Annualized provision for
      possible loan losses
                                                  61.29%           49.52%
 
     The provision for possible loan losses totaled $1.6 million for the first
 quarter of 2001, an increase of $497,000 from a year earlier.  The higher
 provision was due to a $348 million, or 27%, increase in loan balances
 compared to March 31, 2000 and a higher level of net charge-offs, primarily
 in the premium finance portfolio.  For the quarter ended March 31, 2001, net
 charge-offs totaled $1.0 million and increased from the $565,000 of net
 charge-offs recorded in the same period of 2000.  On a ratio basis, net
 charge-offs as a percentage of average loans increased slightly to 0.25% in
 the first quarter of 2001 from 0.17% in the same period in 2000 and from
 0.24% for the full year 2000.  This increase is the result of a higher level
 of delinquencies in the premium finance receivables portfolio.  Management is
 actively monitoring and pursuing methods to reduce the level of delinquencies
 in the indirect auto and premium finance portfolios.  Management believes the
 allowance for possible loan losses is adequate to provide for inherent losses
 in the portfolio.  There can be no assurances, however, that future losses
 will not exceed the amounts provided for, thereby affecting future results of
 operations.  The amount of future additions to the allowance for possible
 loan losses will be dependent upon the economy, changes in real estate values,
 interest rates, the regulatory environment, the level of past-due and
 non-performing loans, and other factors.
 
     Past Due Loans and Non-performing Assets
     The following table sets forth the Company's non-performing assets at the
 dates indicated.  The information in the table should be read in conjunction
 with the detailed discussion following the table (dollars in thousands).
 
                                        March 31,     December 31,   March 31,
                                           2001           2000          2000
      Past Due greater than 90 days
       and still accruing:
        Core banking loans               $1,778           $651          $362
        Indirect automobile loans           350            397           466
        Tricom finance receivables            -              -             -
        Premium finance receivables       4,881          4,306         2,273
          Total                           7,009          5,354         3,101
 
      Non-accrual loans:
       Core banking loans                   720            770         1,582
       Indirect automobile loans            234            221           266
       Tricom finance receivables           112              -             -
       Premium finance receivables        5,872          3,338         2,334
        Total non-accrual loans           6,938          4,329         4,182
 
      Total non-performing loans:
       Core banking loans                 2,498          1,421         1,944
       Indirect automobile loans            584            618           732
       Tricom finance receivables           112              -             -
       Premium finance receivables       10,753          7,644         4,607
        Total non-performing loans       13,947          9,683         7,283
 
      Other real estate owned                 -              -             -
 
      Total non-performing
        assets                          $13,947         $9,683        $7,283
 
                                            March 31,  December 31,  March 31,
                                               2001         2000        2000
      Total non-performing loans by
       category as a percent of its own
       respective category:
        Core banking loans                    0.22%         0.14%       0.24%
        Indirect automobile loans             0.31%         0.30%       0.29%
        Tricom finance receivables            0.60%             -           -
        Premium finance receivables           3.22%         2.44%       2.04%
         Total non-performing loans           0.84%         0.62%       0.56%
 
      Total non-performing assets as a
       percentage of total assets             0.64%         0.46%       0.41%
 
      Allowance for possible loan
       losses as a percentage of
       non-performing loans                  79.35%       107.75%     128.50%
 
     Non-performing Core Banking Loans
     Total non-performing loans for the Company's core banking business were
 $2.5 million, or 0.22%, of the Company's core banking loans as of March 31,
 2001, compared to 0.14% and 0.24% as of December 31, 2000 and March 31, 2000,
 respectively. Non-performing core banking loans consist primarily of a small
 number of commercial and real estate loans which management believes are well
 secured and in the process of collection.  In fact, the loans comprising the
 non-performing core loan category total less than 30 individual credits.  The
 small number of such non-performing loans allows management to effectively
 monitor the status of these credits and work with the borrowers to resolve
 these problems.
 
     Non-performing Premium Finance Receivables
     The table below presents the level of non-performing premium finance
 receivables as of March 31, 2001 and 2000, and the amount of net charge-offs
 for the quarters then ended.
 
                                                March 31,          March 31,
                                                  2001               2000
      Non-performing premium finance
       receivables                             $10,753,000        $4,607,000
        - as a percent of premium finance
          receivables                                3.22%             2.04%
 
      Net charge-offs of premium finance
       receivables                                $666,000          $175,000
       - annualized as a percent of premium
        finance receivables                          0.77%             0.29%
 
     The increase in non-performing premium finance receivables over the course
 of recent quarters is primarily a result of a proportionately large number of
 delinquent accounts associated with new business derived from a marketing
 arrangement entered into in July, 1999.  Management identified the issue in
 the second half of 2000 and began to take corrective measures to eliminate a
 significant number of these new business relationships that were generating
 disproportionately high delinquencies.  Specifically, the Company has
 eliminated more than 1,300 relationships with insurance agents that were
 referring new business to our premium finance subsidiary.  The volume
 associated with this business includes a large number of small balance
 accounts which place an increased burden on the collection efforts of the
 premium finance subsidiary.  The impact of this prior business is still
 reflected in the non-performing asset totals as these accounts customarily
 take 60-150 days to convert the collateral held by insurance company into cash
 collections.  Because of the longer-term nature of converting the collateral
 to cash, we believe our corrective actions and increased resources devoted to
 collections should result in significant improvement during the second quarter
 of 2001 and that the non-performing totals have reached their peak in the
 first quarter.  As such, the delinquency levels should show improvement over
 the next two quarters.
     The ratio of non-performing premium finance receivables fluctuates
 throughout the year due to the nature and timing of canceled account
 collections from insurance carriers.  Due to the nature of collateral for
 premium finance receivables, it customarily takes 60-150 days to convert the
 collateral into cash collections.  Accordingly, the level of non-performing
 premium finance receivables is not necessarily indicative of the loss inherent
 in the portfolio.  In the event of default, the Company has the power to
 cancel the insurance policy and collect the unearned portion of the premium
 from the insurance carrier.  In the event of cancellation, the cash returned
 in payment of the unearned premium by the insurer should generally be
 sufficient to cover the receivable balance, the interest and other charges
 due.  Due to notification requirements and processing time by most insurance
 carriers, many receivables will become delinquent beyond 90 days while the
 insurer is processing the return of the unearned premium.  Management
 continues to accrue interest until maturity as the unearned premium is
 ordinarily sufficient to pay-off the outstanding balance and contractual
 interest due.
 
     Non-performing Indirect Automobile Loans
     Total non-performing indirect automobile loans were $584,000 at March 31,
 2001, decreasing from $618,000 at December 31, 2000 and $732,000 at March 31,
 2000.  The ratio of these non-performing loans to total indirect automobile
 loans has increased slightly to 0.31% of total indirect automobile loans at
 March 31, 2001 from 0.30% at December 31, 1999 and 0.29% at March 31, 2000.
 The increase in the ratios despite a decrease in the amount of non-performing
 loans is reflective of the runoff in this portfolio.  As noted in the
 Allowance for Possible Loan Losses table, net charge-offs as a percent of
 total indirect automobile loans increased slightly from 0.43% in the first
 quarter of 2000 to 0.47% in the first quarter of 2001. These ratios continue
 to be below standard industry ratios for this type of loan category.
 
     FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
     This press release contains forward-looking statements related to the
 Company's financial performance that are based on estimates.  The Company
 intends such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor
 provision for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities
 Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and is including this statement for purposes of
 invoking these safe harbor provisions.  Actual results could differ materially
 from those addressed in the forward-looking statements due to factors such as
 changes in economic conditions, competition, or other factors, that may
 influence the anticipated growth rate of loans and deposits, the quality of
 the loan portfolio and loan and deposit pricing, unanticipated changes in
 interest rates that negatively impact net interest income, future events that
 may cause unforeseen loan or lease losses, slower than anticipated development
 and growth of Tricom and the new trust and investment business, unanticipated
 changes in the temporary staffing industry, the ability to adapt successfully
 to technological changes to compete effectively in the marketplace,  and the
 ability to attract and retain experienced senior management.  Therefore, there
 can be no assurances that future actual results will correspond to these
 forward-looking statements.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X66325425
 
 SOURCE  Wintrust Financial Corporation