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NewBridge Bancorp Reports Net Income of $1.1 Million for the Third Quarter and $3.2 Million for the Year to Date

October 20, 2011

  • Company reports profit for eighth consecutive quarter; pre-tax net income climbs 38%
  • Net interest margin improves to 4.20% for the quarter and 4.21% for the year, 11 basis points and 20 basis points higher than the year ago periods, respectively
  • Nonperforming assets decline for the sixth consecutive quarter, down 5% from the previous quarter, 14% from a year ago and 19% from the peak loan level
  • Non-accruing loans decline 8% from the prior quarter to $36.3 million, down from $44.9 million one year ago and $56.2 million at the peak
  • Total classified loans decline 5% from the prior quarter, 19% from a year ago and 23% from its peak
  • Provision expense slows to $3.4 million for the quarter and $12.5 million for the year, down $4.5 million and $4.1 million, respectively, from the prior year
  • Company has added three new loan production offices and seven senior level lenders this year
  • Leverage capital climbs to 10.52% and total risk based capital remains strong at 14.63%
  • Core deposits increase 3.9% for the year and represent 71% of total deposits; cost of interest bearing deposits declines to 0.71% for the quarter
  • Non-interest expense declines 5%, or $707,000, from the same quarter last year excluding one-time severance costs of $435,000

GREENSBORO, N.C. – NewBridge Bancorp (NASDAQ: NBBC), parent of NewBridge Bank, today reported results for the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2011.

For the three months ended September 30, 2011, net income totaled $1.1 million compared to $1.0 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2010. After dividends and accretion on preferred stock, the Company reported net income available to common shareholders of $353,000, or $0.02 per diluted share, compared to $304,000, or $0.02 per diluted share, in last year's third quarter. For the nine months ended September 30, 2011, the Company had net income available to common shareholders of $1.0 million, or $0.06 per diluted share after dividends and accretion on preferred stock, compared to $70,000, or less than $0.01 per diluted share, during the same period last year.

In the recently completed quarter, in connection with the completion of an efficiency project, the Company recorded $435,000 of severance and other one-time termination related costs. For the nine months ended September 30, 2011, the Company realized $2.0 million of gains from the sale of securities, which compares to $3.6 million of similar gains for the nine months ended September 30, 2010.

Pressley A. Ridgill, President and Chief Executive Officer of NewBridge Bancorp, commented: "Once again, I am pleased to report the continuation of a number of positive trends, foremost, that we are reporting our eighth consecutive profitable quarter. Earnings for the quarter were bolstered by a strong net interest margin of 4.20%, lower operating expenses and improving credit quality. While retail banking revenue remains down across the industry, and we are no exception, we are pleased that wealth management service income increased 35% for the quarter due primarily to an 85% increase in assets under management compared to the prior year quarter. In sum, pre-tax net income improved 38% from last year to $1.6 million for the quarter, despite the recognition of $435,000 of one-time expense related to severance costs."

Mr. Ridgill continued, "The slow economic recovery has contributed to weak loan demand and added challenges in growing earning assets. Like most all financial institutions, we depend upon net interest income as our primary revenue source. While our margin has improved, net interest income still declined 6%, or $1.1 million from the prior year quarter. To counter this ongoing declining loan trend, management announced in July of this year the opening of three new loan production offices in Raleigh, Asheboro and Morganton, North Carolina. We have added seven senior level commercial and private bankers this year. The early signs from the new loan production offices are encouraging, as they have already made meaningful contributions to the loan production pipeline. With a close eye on efficiency, the Company conducted a systematic operating efficiency study, which led to the difficult decision to eliminate more than 30 positions throughout the organization. As a result, the Company's overall operating costs should trend down slightly, while the volume of new loans originated should increase."

Net interest income

Net interest income declined $1.1 million, or 6.2%, to $16.6 million for the quarter compared to $17.7 million a year ago. For the nine month period ending September 30, 2011, net interest income declined $1.8 million to $50.5 million. The Company's average earning assets declined $181.9 million from the prior year quarter, primarily in loans, to an average balance of $1.58 billion for the September 2011 quarter. For the year, loans held for investment declined 3.4% or $43.5 million from $1.26 billion at December 31, 2010 to $1.22 billion at September 30, 2011. Loans held for sale declined $70.1 million during the year due primarily to the second quarter sale of the Bank's Virginia operations and $72.5 million of loans. The net interest margin improved 11 basis points over the prior year to 4.20%, which partially offset the effect of the decline in earning assets. For the nine month period, the net interest margin was 4.21%, which compares favorably to the prior year period net interest margin of 4.01%. The improved margin for the three and nine month periods is due primarily to lower cost on core deposits.

Balance Sheet

Total deposits declined $57.3 million for the year to $1.40 billion at September 30, 2011, primarily as a result of the sale of the Virginia operations and $48.8 million in deposits, which included $24.5 million of core deposits and $24.3 million of time deposits. Core deposits, defined as noninterest bearing demand accounts, savings, NOW and money market deposit accounts, increased 3.9%, during the nine months ended September 30, 2011. Core deposit accounts totaled 71% of the Company's total deposits, or $994.4 million, at September 30, 2011 and had an average interest rate of 0.42%, down 13 basis points from the prior quarter end. The Company continues to focus on growing profitable, low-cost core deposits. Time deposits declined 19% during the nine months ended September 30, 2011. Brokered and wholesale deposits totaled $48.2 million, or 3.5% of deposits, at September 30, 2011. For the quarter ending September 30, 2011, the weighted average cost of interest bearing deposits was 0.71%.

Net loan balances declined $22.8 million to $1.20 billion during the quarter ended September 30, 2011. For the nine month period, loan balances declined $40.1 million, excluding $72.5 million of loans sold with the Virginia operations in the second quarter. New portfolio loan production totaled $43.8 million for the three months ended September 30, 2011 and $155.3 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, compared to $30.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2010 and $123.0 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2010.

Investment securities increased $2.6 million to $295.5 million during the third quarter. The composition of the portfolio changed during the quarter due to $44.3 million of agency investments being called and the purchase of $54.0 million of corporate bonds. The Company had a net unrealized gain in its investment portfolio at September 30, 2011 of $3.8 million. The largest change in value occurred in the fair value of the municipal security portfolio, which improved approximately $0.7 million from the prior quarter. At September 30, 2011, the weighted average duration of the portfolio was 3.3 years and the weighted average yield was 4.48%.

The Company's available liquidity remained robust during the September quarter due primarily to the Company's strong core deposit mix, coupled with modest lending opportunities. Available borrowings, unencumbered investments and access to wholesale deposits exceeded $490 million at September 30, 2011. Brokered and wholesale deposits total 3.5% of deposits at September 30, 2011.

Shareholders' equity increased $1.4 million for the nine month period to $164.5 million. The increase in equity is due primarily to year to date retained earnings.

Noninterest Income

Excluding gains and losses on sales of securities and other real estate owned ("OREO"), noninterest income declined $445,000 from the prior year quarter to $4.0 million and declined $1.0 million from the prior year nine month period to $12.1 million. The decline in noninterest income for the three and nine month periods are due primarily to lower retail banking revenue, which fell $466,000 and $1.4 million for the two periods, respectively. Mortgage banking was down for the three month and nine month periods in 2011 due to the timing and volatility of interest rates. The Company projects that mortgage revenue in the fourth quarter will increase. Wealth management service income increased 35% for the quarter to $702,000 due primarily to a 85% increase in assets under management, which totaled $140.1 million at September 30, 2011.

Losses on sale and write-downs of OREO declined to $799,000 for the quarter ended September 30, 2011 from $1.6 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2010. For the nine month period ended September 30, 2011, OREO losses and write-downs totaled $3.9 million, compared to $3.7 million for the prior year period. Compared to the three month period ending June 30, 2011 the current period OREO losses and write-downs declined $786,000.

Securities gains totaled $65,000 and $3.6 million for the quarters ended September 30, 2011 and 2010, respectively. Securities gains totaled $2.0 million and $3.6 million for the nine-month periods ending September 30, 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Noninterest Expense

Excluding $435,000 of non-recurring severance related costs, noninterest expense declined $707,000, or 5%, to $14.5 million for the quarter just ended compared to $15.2 million for the prior year's third quarter. Over the last three years, the Company has been focused on improving efficiencies and controlling costs and has reduced annual recurring operating expenses by approximately $14 million. In the third quarter, the declines in occupancy, furniture and equipment, technology and data processing, legal and professional, OREO expenses and FDIC assessments ranged from 5% to 28% compared to the third quarter of last year. For the nine month period ending September 30, 2011, noninterest expense was $43.9 million, a decline of $2.3 million from the same period a year ago.

Asset Quality

Nonperforming loans declined 9% or $4.2 million, during the quarter, and 14%, or $7.1 million, year to date to $43.5 million at September 30, 2011. From the peak level of $64.1 million at June 30, 2009, nonperforming loans have declined by $20.6 million, or 32.2%. Nonperforming loans represent 3.57% of total loans held for investment. Including OREO, total nonperforming assets declined $3.5 million to $69.9 million, or 4.11% of total assets, at September 30, 2011. Troubled debt restructured loans totaled $17.0 million of the $43.5 million of nonperforming loans. Accruing restructured loans totaled $7.2 million and non-accruing restructured loans totaled $9.9 million. The Company evaluates all troubled debt restructured loans at the time of the restructure for impairment, which typically results in the asset being moved to non-accrual. The Company's highest risk and most closely monitored nonperforming assets are non-accruing loans excluding troubled debt restructures. These loans totaled $26.4 million at September 30, 2011, down $33.5 million, or 56%, since June 30, 2009. OREO balances increased $740,000 during the quarter. Impaired and potential problem loans (or total classified loans) peaked later than many of the Company's other credit metrics, rising until the September quarter of 2010. Over the last four quarters, potential problem credits declined 19.5%, or $33.2 million. In the current quarter, classified loan balances declined 5.5%, or $7.9 million. The expected default rates and the anticipated loss given default experience remains around 5% of the potential problem portfolio.

At September 30, 2011, the allowance for credit losses totaled $27.8 million, 2.27% of loans held for investment. The provision for credit losses was $3.4 million for the quarter compared to a $8.0 million provision in the same period a year ago. Year to date provision expense totaled $12.5 million compared to $16.6 million for the nine-month period ending September 30, 2010. The Company's allowance for credit loss as a percentage of nonperforming loans (the "coverage percentage") increased to 63.9% in the September 2011 quarter, compared to 58.8% at June 30, 2011 and 56.8% at December 31, 2010. The Company's allowance for credit losses consists largely of general reserves, with 93% being general and 7% specific. The majority of estimated losses from the Company's $43.5 million of nonperforming loans has been previously recognized through charge-offs. Since the current adverse credit cycle began in 2007, the Company has charged off $134.2 million of loans and OREO, or 8.3% of our peak loan level. As a result, the Company's allowance for loan loss is available almost in its entirety for the potential losses that exist in the Company's watch list and other performing loans portfolio. The Company's land acquisition, development and construction loans totaled $68.9 million at September 30, 2011 and included just $11.3 million of speculative residential construction and residential acquisition and development loans. This portfolio is largely graded as impaired or potential problem loans.

Outlook

Mr. Ridgill stated that, "At times, it is difficult to remain positive with the headline news continuing to undermine consumer confidence; however, I believe at no time since the economic down turn began in 2007 has our Company's outlook been brighter. We have been profitable for two years. We believe that, barring an unexpected setback, our earnings should continue to grow, despite the adverse economic news. My positive outlook begins with the expectation that credit costs will continue to decline in 2012, as they have in 2011 and as they did in 2010. Clearly 2009 was the peak period for our credit losses. Our aggressive charge off of $134 million of past problems allows me to be more confident about the impact of the remaining credit issues in our portfolio. Second, our team has demonstrated great resilience in managing what is within our control. Controlling expenses has become embedded in our corporate culture. Since the merger, we have eliminated more than $14 million of annualized costs. While replacing the income lost from loan runoff may require additional investments in personnel and talent, I am optimistic about our three new loan production offices, and I am confident we can build revenues while still carefully managing costs. Finally, the strength of our core deposits provides us with significant liquidity, interest rate risk protection and margin stability. We anticipate that our net interest margin will remain above 4% in the fourth quarter, but we are likely to suffer from some interest rate pressure in 2012. While our income tax rate has fluctuated in 2011, we expect our full year tax rate to be approximately 26%."

Mr. Ridgill concluded, "As our financial condition continues to improve, we believe there will be an opportunity to repay TARP funds by raising capital at an attractive price. With the strength of our current capital levels, we may explore a partial repayment of the TARP funds from internal sources."

Contact:
Ramsey Hamadi
EVP and Chief Financial Officer
336-369-0900