April 30. 2012 9:00AM

Key Wisconsin banks begin year with healthy balance sheets

Did You Know

By Steve Jagler

  
The parent companies of Associated Bank and Bank Mutual, two of the most important banks in Wisconsin, are off to strong starts in 2012.

Green Bay-based Associated Banc-Corp, the parent company of Associated Bank, 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."

Brown Deer-based Bank Mutual Corp., the largest Milwaukee County-based bank, reported first quarter net income of $1.2 million, or 3 cents per share, up from $1.0 million, or 2 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The improvement in net income was principally due to lower provisions for loan losses and higher gains on sales of loans. Michael Crowley Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Bank Mutual, said, "Lower interest rates in the first quarter continued to benefit our mortgage banking operations, resulting in substantially higher gains on sales of residential loans."

David Baumgarten, president of Bank Mutual, said, "Lower credit-related losses also contributed to the improvement in our earnings. We are pleased that our non-performing loans declined for the fourth straight quarter and are less than half what they were a year ago. We remain cautiously optimistic that improvements in economic and market conditions in our local communities will enable this trend to continue in the near term."
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