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Marine Bank in black for second quarter in a row

STORY BY EILEEN KELLEY, (Week of August 1, 2013)

Marine Bank & Trust reported a profit last week for the second quarter in a row, a much needed boost for Vero Beach’s only local bank.

Increased demand for residential housing put the institution on a more solid financial footing.

The bank could not talk about profits last year or the year before that.  Today, after-tax earnings for the second quarter were $228,000, while pre-tax earnings hit $350,000.  At this time last year, the bank was $3.29 million in the red. 

The bank’s non-performing assets – loans which are not being paid off – also shrunk by $2.9 million during the second quarter.  Just three years ago, the bank’s non-performing assets topped $11 million.  Today, they are down to $1.7 million.

Bank President William Penney cited a strong commitment to the sale of bank-owned properties as well as working with borrowers to sell their properties before foreclosure and increased demand for residential housing as key to improving the bank’s capital footing.

“The demand has begun to stabilize our community’s financial outlook and lead to new economic activity,” said Penney in a prepared statement. “We anticipate this to continue and are focused on growing the bank and supporting our customers that we serve.”

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation earlier this year told Marine Bank & Trust continue to reduce its portfolio of non-performing assets and increase capital.  Had it failed to meet these guidelines and several others laid out following a lengthy hearing before an administrative law judge in January 2012, it could have been forced to merge with another bank.

Marine Bank & Trust is now considered adequately capitalized by regulatory banking guidelines.

“We have definitely turned the corner and things are looking up,” said Penney. He said the capital campaign is also going strong and he anticipates a big announcement soon.

Penney said the bank has experienced asset growth year over year with $139,643,000 total assets as of June 30, 2013, compared to $137,263,000 as of June 30, 2012.

“Our positive 2013 first-half earnings results continue the strong improvements over 2012,” Penney said.