MUNSTER | NorthWest Indiana Bancorp, the parent company of Peoples Bank, reported a record profit of $7.1 million last year.
Annual net income grew by 3.9 percent over the $6.9 million the bank earned in 2012, which was the previous record.
The Munster-based bank had annual earnings of $2.50 per basic and diluted share. That translated to a return of 1.03 percent on average assets, and a return of 10.17 percent return on average equity.
"Our focus on executing a community bank business model produced another stellar performance by Peoples Bank in 2013 with record earnings of $7.1 million," said David A. Bochnowski, chairman and CEO. "The year was marked by stable core earnings, stronger asset quality, expense control, increased wealth management income and core deposit growth."
More people were making loan payments. Non-performing assets dropped to 0.91 percent, the lowest point since the start of the Great Recession. Non-performing loans plunged to $4 million, as compared to $11.5 million at the end of last year.
Peoples' core earnings, or net interest income after taxes, grew 3 percent to $24.4 million last year, as compared to $23.7 million in 2012. Income from the bank's wealth management services rose by 10.5 percent during the year.
"Our balance sheet strategy produced an outcome that enhanced our capital position and set the stage for creating value for our stakeholders in a consolidating industry through both internal growth and acquisition," Bochnowski said. "During the last quarter of 2013, we announced the acquisition of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Hammond in a voluntary supervisory merger conversion that will add $40 million in assets and two banking center locations in transaction that is expected to close in the first quarter of this year pending regulatory approval."
The bank reduced operating expenses by 1.5 percent to $19.8 million, compared to $20.1 million in 2012. The $298,000 decrease was the result of lower compensation, data processing and legal costs.
Peoples Bank has branches in Crown Point, Dyer, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, Merrillville, Munster, St. John, Schererville and Valparaiso,