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First Midwest Bank grows profit by 37.6% year-over-year

First Midwest Bank in Crown Point is pictured above. The bank turned a profit of $46.1 million in the first three months of the year.

First Midwest Bank reported a profit of $46.1 million, or $0.43 per share, in the first quarter.

The Chicago-based bank, which has an extensive footprint in Northwest Indiana, grew its net earnings by 11.3% from $41.4 million, or $0.39 per share, in the fourth quarter. First Midwest's profits were up 37.6% year-over-year as compared to $33.5 million in the first quarter of 2018 after closing 19 branches, including several in the Calumet Region, last year.

"We had a solid start to the year, reflecting significant growth in earnings from a year ago," Chairman and CEO Michael Scudder said. "Operating performance benefited from strong earning asset growth, higher interest rates, and stable core funding and, in turn, improved interest margins and our already solid operating efficiency. Sales activity remained active, with quarterly comparisons largely reflective of both normal seasonality and the impact of market volatility on certain fee-based businesses."

First Midwest increased its earnings per share to $0.43, up from $0.33 in the first quarter of 2018. The bank generated a return of 15.3% on average tangible common equity, and grew net interest income by 4% to $139 million.

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"We remain well-positioned for continued growth and expansion. Our acquisition of Bridgeview Bank will close in May, adding $1.3 billion of assets and a strong team of colleagues to our presence in metro Chicago," Scudder said. "At the same time, Northern Oak Wealth Management, which we acquired in January, will further augment our commercial and private banking expansion into the Milwaukee marketplace. The strength of our earnings and balance sheet continue to provide flexibility as we manage our capital and consider opportunities for further business expansion."

The bank grew loans by 4% to $12 billion, increased deposits by 10% to $12 billion, and bought back $180 million of its common stock.

First Midwest Bank has branches in Crown Point, Dyer, East Chicago, Gary, Griffith, Hammond, Highland, Merrillville, Munster, Schererville and St. John. Last year, it closed branches in Lowell, Chesterton, Gary, East Chicago and Calumet City. 

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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.