(By Balaseshan) Washington Federal Inc. (NASDAQ: WAFD), an unitary savings and loan holding company, reported a 7% increase in quarterly earnings on lower costs and a decline in provision for loan losses, which more than offset a decrease in net interest income.
Earnings for the first quarter were $35.28 million or $0.33 per share, up from $33.42 million or $0.31 per share last year. Analysts had expected an earnings of $0.32 per share for the latest quarter.
Net interest income for the quarter decreased 8% to $95.43 million, due to lower interest income, while Street analysts predicts $97.07 million. Net interest margin fell to 3.22% from 3.28%, as asset yields declined more than interest expense.
Non-performing assets amounted to $264 million or 2.02% of total assets for the latest quarter, a $79 million or 23% decrease from December 31, 2011. Net loan charge-offs plunged 29% to $10 million. Total loan delinquencies were 2.89% of total loans as of December 31, 2012, a decrease from the 3.13% at December 31, 2011.
Total assets increased 5% to $13.1 billion at December 31, 2012 from $12.5 billion at September 30, 2012 due to the acquisition of South Valley. Loans increased 2% on the $362 million of acquired loans partially offset by net runoff of $199 million of the Washington Federal loan portfolio as the low interest rate environment caused loan repayments to accelerate.
The company's efficiency ratio of 38.2% for the quarter remains among the lowest in the industry. The latest quarter produced a return on assets of 1.11%, while return on equity amounted to 7.41%.
WAFD closed Monday's regular session up 0.41% at $17.16. The stock has been trading between $14.30 and $18.42 for the past 52 weeks.