April 19. 2012 4:00PM - Last modified: April 19. 2012 4:28PM

Associated Bank's profits soar

Green Bay-based Associated Banc-Corp, the parent company of Associated Bank, today reported first quarter net income to common shareholders of $41 million, or 24 cents per share, up from $15 million, or 9 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

Associated Bank is the largest Wisconsin-based bank.
"We are pleased with the solid results of this quarter and remain optimistic on the outlook for our business," said president and chief executive officer Philip Flynn. "We have announced an increase to the common dividend this quarter and we remain focused on growing the company consistent with our commitment to building shareholder value through our long-term strategy for growth at Associated."
In a conference call with reporters and analysts today, Flynn said, "We clearly are looking for more commercial banking growth, and we expect to get that."
The company is targeting the Chicago market for additional growth, Flynn said.
"(The Chicago market) has been a significant piece of our growth, and we expect it to continue that way," he said.
The firm's quarterly net income to common shareholders is at its highest level since early 2008.
Associated reported another quarter of improving credit metrics with nonperforming assets down 9 percent to $362 million from $398 million on Dec. 31, 2011, and down 33 percent from $537 million on March 31, 2011. Net charge offs were $22 million for the first quarter, down 59 percent from $53 million for the first quarter of 2011.