Merrillville-based Centier Bank said its first-half profit increased by 24.3 percent over the same time last year to $13.8 million, according to a news release.

The bank reported a 1.27 percent return on average assets and that its profit rose over the $11.1 million earned during the first two quarters of 2012. The company expects earnings to increase even more in the second half of the year because loan losses have been significantly decreasing as fewer loans go into delinquency.

Centier also has been getting a boost from the improving housing market. The bank loaned $107 million to 680 homebuyers in the first half of the year, and forecasts that the residential mortgage business will increase even more in the second half.

The bank has prepared for increased activity in the home mortgage market by expanding its mortgage sales and loan operations teams in Merrillville, La Porte, Mishawaka, Lafayette, Carmel and Fort Wayne. A total of 26 jobs were added, spokeswoman Angela Jimenez said.

Overall, loans increased by $76 million, or about 5 percent, to $1.84 billion in the first six months of this year, the company reported.

Centier's total assets grew by $26 million in the first six months of 2013, resulting in total assets of $2.23 billion by the end of June.

You have free articles remaining.

Become a Member

Keep reading for FREE!
Enjoy more articles by signing up or logging in. No credit card required.

The bank added more retail locations, including branches inside Strack & Van Til's grocery stores in Cedar Lake and Hammond. Centier also opened an expanded branch in downtown Crown Point and a newly constructed replacement branch on U.S. 30 in Valparaiso.

Deposits increased by $75 million in the first six months of the year, reaching a total of $1.962 billion.

The bank's equity capital reached $220 million, which is an increase of $19 million this year and $29 million over the past year.

Centier is 118 years old and is the largest privately owned independent bank in Indiana. The financial institution has 46 branches in Northern Indiana and business banking locations that serve Carmel, Indianapolis, Mishawaka and Fort Wayne.