Wilber Bank's profits fall as expansion expenses rise

Oneonta – The Wilber Corporation, parent company of Wilber National Bank, announced Monday net income of $1.383 million and earnings per share of $0.13 for the three-month period ended September 30. By comparison, the company’s net income and earnings per share for the three-month period ended September 30, 2007 were $1.991 million and $0.19, respectively. This represents a 30.5 percent decrease in net income and a 31.6 percent decrease in earnings per share. This decrease mainly reflects increases in non-interest expenses as a result of the company’s continuing expansion plans.
In the third quarter of 2008, the company’s continued expansion into the Greater Syracuse and Capital District markets of New York State caused personnel, advertising and marketing expenses to increase $489,000 in aggregate over the comparable prior year period. In addition, computer service fees increased $241,000 between the third quarter of 2007 and the third quarter of 2008 due to increased costs related to outsourcing the management of the company’s core operating system. Additionally, non-interest income for the three-month period ended September 30 was $1.367 million as compared to $1.568 million for the same period in 2007. This net decrease in non-interest income of $201,000, or 12.8 percent, was principally due to the absence of commission income from the June sale of the bank’s membership interest in its former insurance agency subsidiary, Mang-Wilber, LLC, and investment securities losses.
Operating results also declined for the nine-month period ended September 30 as compared to the nine-month period ended September 30, 2007. The company earned $4.228 million or $0.40 per share during the first nine months of 2008, as compared to $6.347 million or $0.60 per share for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2007. This represents a $2.119 million or 33.4 percent decrease in net income and a $0.20 per share or 33.3 percent decrease in earnings per share. During the nine-month period ended September 30, 2007, the company recorded a $615,000 gain on life insurance due to the death of a senior executive, $200,000 in flood recovery grants, and $352,000 in a deferred gain on the sale of a branch facility. Similar events did not occur in the nine-month period ended September 30, 2008, negatively affecting comparative results for 2008. In addition, the above referenced expansion caused personnel, advertising and marketing expenses to increase $1.419 million over the comparable prior year period.
Douglas C. Gulotty, the company’s president and CEO, stated, “We continue to be satisfied with our growth and have not strayed from our time-tested practice of generating prudently underwritten loans. The company’s approach is not to originate sub-prime, Alt-A, negative amortizing, or other higher risk residential mortgages for its portfolio. While Wall Street has been beset by the current residential mortgage loan crisis, we continue to service our Main Street customers by building mutually beneficial relationships that will endure.”
In related news, the company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.095 per share at its October 24 board meeting. The dividend will be paid on November 28 to shareholders of record on November 13 and represents the 103rd consecutive quarterly dividend paid by the company.
The company’s stock, which trades under the symbol “GIW” on the NYSE Alternext US (formerly the American Stock Exchange) closed Monday at $7.30 per share, off from its 52-week high of $9.39.
The Wilber Corporation is a single bank holding company headquartered in Oneonta, New York, and through its Bank subsidiary serves the financial needs of the communities of central and upstate New York.