RiverBank, which opened for business here in 2006 and notched its first profitable calendar year in 2009, slid back last year to a net loss of slightly over $1 million, according to data it has filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
That compared with prior-year earnings of $592,000 and losses of $282,000 in 2008 and $797,000 in 2007.
"We had a single large credit that started to deteriorate in early 2010, and by the end of the year we decided that we had to take a conservative approach" and account for it, says Duane Brandenburg, the bank's president and CEO.
"Other than that, we were on track to make a million bucks. We had a decent year going," Brandenburg says.
The privately held bank had total loans of $116.6 million and deposits of $127.2 million as of Dec. 31, down from $126.6 million and $139.2 million, respectively, at the end of 2009. It ended last year with total assets of just over $140 million, down 8.5 percent from $153.1 million a year earlier but still up from $133.5 million in 2008.
For 2010, it reported charge-offs of $1.6 million and a nearly $2.9 million provision for loan and lease losses.
"We let a lot of our nonowner-occupied commercial real estate run off and didn't replace it. We shrunk that down in our portfolio," acquiescing to regulatory pressures on financial institutions to steer away from such lending, Brandenburg says. Part of the decline in loans, too, was just that "the demand was pretty quiet in 2010," he says.
"I don't think from the banking side of things that you're going to see much growth in 2011. We're seeing, I think, our customers start to make progress, which is a good sign, but I don't think we're going to see a lot of activity until 2012," he adds.
The goal is to build RiverBank to about a $400 million institution, "and we've done a pretty good job, I think. I think the future looks bright," Brandenburg says.
Brandenburg announced earlier this month that Steve Utt, a member of the bank's executive management team, will succeed him as the bank's president. He says Utt's ascension is part of the bank's long-term management transition plan and likely will become official this spring at its annual meeting.
Brandenburg, a founder of RiverBank with more than 41 years of banking experience, will continue to serve as the institution's CEO. Utt, also one of the bank's founders and a 25-year banking industry veteran, has been serving as its chief credit officer.
RiverBank had recorded its first profitable month in July 2007, 14 months after opening its doors, which Brandenburg had said was ahead of the industry norm for a new bank. However, the changing interest-rate climate, combined with the prolonged economic slowdown, made it difficult for the bank to sustain that profitability.
RiverBank is a niche bank that offers personalized services, mostly to small-business and commercial clients in the Spokane area, and has said it has no interest in serving a broad clientele or growing to a larger size by adding branches.
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