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Peoples Bank announces 11.4 percent increase in profit in the first quarter

Munster-based Peoples Bank headquarters is shown here. 

Munster-based Peoples Bank made $2.6 million during the first quarter, up 11.4 percent from $2.3 million during the same period in 2017.

The publicly traded bank made 89 cents per share in the first quarter, a return on average assets of 1.1 percent. It rebounded after a 2-percent decline in net earnings in the fourth quarter, which was the result of a one-time write-off related to the federal cut of corporate taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent.

"First quarter results were a great start to the year," President and CEO Ben Bochnowksi said. "The bank's earnings increase of 11.4 percent was the result in part from an improved tax environment, but comes mainly from management's ability to drive results from strategic objectives. Interest income, gain on sale of loans, and income from bank services were all up significantly. The bank continues to build capital in order to support strategic objectives."

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The bank made $7.8 million in net interest income in the first quarter, up from $7.5 million in the first quarter of 2017.

"The earnings increase for the first three months of 2018 was supported by the strength of the local economy and the bank's focus on a strong service culture," Chief Financial Officer Robert Lowry said. "During the first quarter, net interest income increased by $320,000 or 4.3 percent and noninterest income by $664,000 or 37.2 percent. In addition the bancorp's credit risk continues to decrease as non-performing loans represent 0.65 percent of the loan portfolio."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.